On Second Thought: Steelers vs. Chiefs
Homer J and Ivan both had plenty to say about Sunday’s game. Not a surprise. We all have plenty to say because it was so very satisfying. For one thing, perhaps the Steelers won’t make us all look like fools for our confident predictions of a great season. But there were a lot of interesting facets to the game beyond the “old-fashioned beat-down” aspects.
First was the score in the first quarter. The Steelers have never put up 22 points in the first quarter. Adrian (eldest son) and I were extrapolating an 88-0 win, but perhaps it was overambitious. Even the 58-0 win we projected at half time was, in the event, a non-starter. But both of us were perfectly happy to take a win by 29 points, with the other team’s points all coming in the last 11 minutes.
Now the only question remains, can the Steelers actually field a full team against the Jets next week? But enough from me—over to Homer J. Ivan’s comments, being as they were phrased in a Q & A format, will serve as tomorrow’s post in place of Hombre’s usual 5 Smoldering Questions. (We may have some smoldering questions later in the week anyhow…)
Another wet night in River City. The rain was a big help against Cincy. Will it wash away last week’s sins? KC is a precision, ball control offense. How will they function on a wet grass field? The guess here is there will
be a considerable home field advantage because of the elements.
I’m picking and choosing from Homer’s game comments. His report card will end the post.
2nd KC series:
[Spencer] Ware fumbles the slippery ball after [Stephon] Tuitt squeezes ball out. Jordan Dangerfield recovers, with his first turnover as a pro.
2nd PIT series, which ended in a touchdown to Darrius Heyward-Bey:
Two point attempt. Five receivers. Ben gets great protection, goes down his checklist of targets until he finds Wheaton for the deuce. 8-0 Steelers.
3rd KC series, which ended with an interception:
KC has committed two costly turnovers in the rain, and the Steelers have capitalized on both of them.
4th PIT series, which began at the KC 40 due to a terrible punt:
Ben fakes handoff to Bell, fires deep to AB in the end zone. 38 yard TD. Boswell PAT. 22-0 with 1:20 left in the first quarter. KC is totally flummoxed, and Todd Haley must be the happiest man in the stadium. Except maybe AB, who is getting man to man coverage tonight, and having a picnic in the rain.
End of Q1:
Ben hits Bell in flat. He slithers down the sideline for five yards, 2nd and 5.
That’s the end of the first quarter….by far the best quarter of the year. PIT 22 KC 0.
Near the end of the 2nd quarter:
Ben has enough time to read a comic book in the pocket. Hits the Outlaw at the back corner of the end zone for the TD. Boz with the PAT. 29-0 with less than a minute left in the half.
The rain and wet field don’t seem to be bothering the Steelers at all. If they were a horse, you’d put an asterisk next to them in the program, because they are obviously mudders. For whatever reason, KC is playing like they’ve never seen water before.
At the very end of the 2nd quarter:
KC picks up the blitz. Smith hits Macklin again, down to 30 with 8 seconds left. Cairo Santos will try a 48 yard kick in the driving rain. Tomlin calls a time out, not to ice the kicker, but maybe to drown him. Santos kick hits the right upright and bounces away.
The ball slipped out of Colquitt’s hands before he gained control to hold for the kick. Santos slipped. Tomlin played it smart. It looks like he and Todd Haley are having their way with KC, and – for Haley – revenge is best served wet – rather than just cold.
29-0 at the half.
First series in the 3rd quarter:
Justin Gilbert sighting on the kickoff. Takes a knee.
Marcus Gilbert out with a left ankle injury. That’s the only bad news…
Bell takes short pass and fights for a couple. Collinsworth is slobbering all over the job that BJ Finney is doing. And for good reason. Finney, and the rest of the OL, is doing a helluva job protecting Ben and opening holes for Bell.
Ben has all day again. Again they pick on the KC secondary. Wheaton goes deep. Ben throws a rainbow, and Wheaton is on the other end of it. 36-0 with 11:19 to go in the 3rd qtr.
Partway through the 3rd quarter:
There has been a quantum improvement in defensive pressure, led by Heyward, Tuitt, and Harrison. It’s not been a pleasant night for Alex Smith.
End of the 3rd quarter:
Fourth down pass dropped in end zone. KC drive: 18 plays, 1 run, 17 passes, 80 yards, five minutes, zero points. And that’s why yardage numbers don’t mean nuffin’.
End of three. 36-0. Life is good.
First KC drive in the 4th quarter:
Spencer Ware runs up the middle for a first down at the 16. Smith is nickel and diming the Steelers, who don’t seem to mind giving up short stuff as time keeps running down.
They are giving up short stuff down the middle.
Smith hits Tyriek Hill, who fights and squirms his way over the goal line. 36-7. Oh, well. There goes the shutout.
Next PIT series:
DWill takes it into the end zone untouched. 43-7. Finney moved his man across the field. The entire line opened a massive hole. Happy birthday, old man!
Homer heads to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to pick up a neighbor, so that’s all the game he watches. Turns out 43-14.
This is one of those games where – like the Special Olympics, – everybody gets a prize. Except here it’s because every single unit deserved it.
QUARTERBACK: A+. Ben had as many TD passes as incompletions. Five of each.
RUNNING BACK: A. Bell certainly hasn’t lost a step. 144 yards rushing, 34 yards receiving, blocked well. His timing was impeccable. D-Will was fine, and it was impressive seeing both of them in the backfield at times.
WIDE RECEIVERS: A+. Brown, Coates, Wheaton, and DHB simply humiliated KC’s secondary. They were that good, and, as a result, KC was that bad.
TIGHT ENDS: A. Heath who? The troika had another big game. All three had big catches, and the Outlaw had a TD. What was feared to be a position of weakness has turned into one of strength.
OFFENSIVE LINE: A+. Ben had ample time to throw five TD passes and Bell had more than 140 yards rushing on his return. The OL controlled the line of scrimmage and the holes were there. BJ Finney was simply outstanding in the muck and mire, and Pouncey was flying all over the place. Villanueva, DeCastro and Gilbert were all excellent, and the reserves were fine. This was the OL’s best performance of the year by far.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A. Heyward was a beast out there, making big plays all over the field. Tuitt was strong and forced a fumble. Hargrave joined the Terrible Twosome in a jailbreak rush on Smith that forced him to run for his life. There was MUCH more pressure on the QB, and KC was unable to establish the run all night.
LINEBACKER: B+. More blitzing this week, much more pressure on the pocket, decent pass coverage, big hits, and fewer missed tackles. 150-year-old James Harrison was unstoppable, and was the best pass rusher on the field for either team. They played well as a unit, especially considering Shazier was out.
SECONDARY: B. Far fewer missed tackles this week. Coverage was improved, and they came up with some big plays on third down. Alex Smith nickel and dimed the defense for 287 yards, but most of that was in garbage time, when they were giving the Chiefs the small stuff underneath, so long as the clock kept running. Burns looked more at home this week. The DB’s were dishing out some hard hits as well. Dangerfield looked good, very good, filling in for Golden.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A. KC had hopes to do well against Steeler coverage teams, but any time you run a kickoff out of the end zone and get stopped on your own two yard line, someone’s having a good night. In this case, it was DHB and the Steelers. They played well in the elements. Kicking, punting, and coverage were all solid.
COACHING: A+. “Redemption Sunday” was a success, as we all gathered by the river, the beautiful, beautiful river, and washed away last week’s sins.
Todd Haley’s game plan and play calling were absolutely breathtaking. The defense played well, the offense took advantage of two turnovers and a shanked punt for three early touchdowns. Another positive sign is that they never let up….kept up the passing game, even with a healthy lead.
A special tip of the hat to Coach Tomlin, who played mind games just before halftime and won. It was raining very heavily as KC kicker Cairo Santos came out to try a long field goal. Tomlin called time out, not so much to ice the kicker as to drown him. They stood out there in the rain, waiting for play to resume. When it did, Colquitt slightly bobbled the wet snap from center, and Santos’ timing was off. He kicked if far enough, but it hit the right crossbar and bounced off. And then he fell on his behind. Well played, Coach!