Steelers @ Chiefs: the Acceptable, the Objectionable, and the Appalling
This post should really be called The Return of the Native, or some equally classy literary name, because the big news is:
- 1: The Chiefs are no longer undefeated.
- 2: James Harrison is BACCKK!
It is possible that No. 2 had something to do with No. 1.
Yes, this is one of those posts which is truly enjoyable to write. So here goes:
Pretty much everything, really. The one interception was, by his own admission, AB’s fault, and he made up for it later in the game on that crazy catch that resulted in a touchdown.
On the post-game show Phil Sims, I think it was, said you had to add a fourth “B” to the Three B’s—not Bryant, who is still waiting on his breakout game, but Keith Butler. And man did his defense do him proud. They were flying to the ball, tackling, getting after Smith, and generally making it a miserable day for the Kansas City Chiefs.
It helped, of course, that their offensive line was pretty banged up, and that the replacement center had a bad day. In fact, it was thanks to him that the first points of the game were scored, as he apparently went to the James Harrison School of Snapping.
And speaking of Harrison and schools, he, as he always seems to do, schooled LT Eric Fisher, generally a competent enough lineman. There’s just some weird thing about certain players vs. certain other players, or for that matter certain teams (like, say, Chicago,) vs. certain other teams. It’s a mystery…
But to return to my glowing remarks about the defense, the unbelievable thing is that the No. 1 (by a long way) offense in the league, according to Football Outsiders anyhow, gained a total of six yards. In the entire first half. They also had a single first down. As in one. This is in part because the Steelers’ offense hogged the ball, to the tune of 21:41 to 8:19. That’s some crazy TOP right there.
Which is because—let’s all say it together—the Steelers RAN THE DANG BALL. (You may have used a different word, but we all mean the same thing : ) And it was good to see that when Gilbert went down they were still able to run it, albeit not quite as effectively.
For instance, I would have vastly preferred a very long drive, culminating in a touchdown, or even a field goal, during the last three-plus minutes of the game, rather than the Steelers making it another nail biter by giving KC the ball at the 44 and hoping the defense could prevent a touchdown during the ensuing two minutes.
But stop them they did. With Harrison as the hero of the story. Doesn’t get much better than that…
And speaking of the defense, I can’t help mentioning, in glowing terms, the stellar work of the defensive line, who constantly collapsed the pocket. Although Smith made some impressive throws under pressure, especially towards the end of the game, I also noticed that he had a bad case of happy feet. I don’t think he felt very comfortable.
I was hoping the Steelers D would get the first pick of Smith this season, and in fact they could have, as the ball Shazier tipped on the last play of the game went right through Sean Davis’ hands. (He missed another potential INT earlier in the game, which makes me think he also snuck out during the off-season to the Ike Taylor Academy.)
And I really have to mention Vance McDonald, because he had an actual catch, and it was a big one. Maybe this is the start of his legendary Steelers’ career. Probably not. A girl can dream, though.
I’m not even going to bother with the Objectionable, much less the Appalling. Under the circumstances, when about the worst thing that happened was Jordan Berry shanking a punt when he had to do it three times in a row, once because the officials weren’t ready, I can’t really blame him. Well, and Artie Burns whiffed and allowed the touchdown in the 4th quarter. But he played an otherwise terrific game. Well, and Mike Tomlin was 0 for 1 in challenges this week. But I won’t quibble.
And speaking of the officials, there’s going to be a lot of fuss this week over the Jets touchdown (as it should have been ruled) that possibly won the game for the Patriots. It would have been nice to put another L in the Patriots’ record, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
The Steelers are now firmly atop the AFC North after the Ravens lost to Mitch Trubinsky and the Bears. The Bengals, at 2-3, are on their bye. The Browns are on their second quarterback. For the moment all is right with the world.
BTW, did anyone notice Harrison talking to Tomlin at the end of the game? I wish I could find a picture of that, because I think a caption contest would be pretty awesome. “Hey, Coach, notice how when you put me in games we win?” Or something like that…