Week 10 Game Thread: Kansas City Chiefs

I’ll be honest, this game troubled me until I remembered that Todd Haley would kindly like to stick it to Scott Pioli. So expect some Ravens-style fake field goals with the Steelers leading by 24.

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  • Eric

    Again, a little late with this, but halfway through the season how do people feel about this Steelers team?

    I’d say this is the best offense that the Steelers have had with Roethlisberger. Partly, that is due to the improved play of the offensive line but I also think that Haley’s offense is superior to Arian’s. For one thing, Roethlisberger isn’t getting killed all of the time. And while the average pass distance is down, the scoring has increased ~4 ppg. Time of possession has also increased (from 32 to 34 minutes). What’s more, I think Haley is a little more patient and varied in his play calling. Finally, I feel optimistic that the offense could continue to improve. With the investments on the offensive line, Roethlisberger and hopefully Wallace/Brown/Sanders, I think the Steelers offense could be a dominant in the coming years.

    The defense is still above average but is not the dominant unit that it has been for the better part of a decade. While the Steelers are doing very well in terms of yardage, they are not as good in scoring and their “splash” plays are non-existent. Injuries have played a large part in this but the injured players (Harrison/Polamalu mainly) are getting too old to expect to play full seasons going forward. It isn’t clear to me if some of the younger players will be able to fill the void (Hood/Timmons/Heyward/Worilds). I think the defense will probably remain above average for another ~2 years but will need young players to show dramatic improvement or to draft new, better players.

    The special teams have been OK. Considering some of the Steelers special teams units over the years, OK seems pretty good.

    Overall, I think this team can and will compete in the playoffs. The Steelers have 5 division games left. If they can take care of those, they will win the division and probably get a bye. I would describe Baltimore’s defense exactly how I just described the Steelers defense. So that match-up will come down to the offenses. I remain thoroughly skeptical of Joe Flacco (but not Ray Rice) and so I think the Steelers are poised for a very nice 2nd half of the season.

  • Cols714

    I think they are a good team. The offense has to keep improving because I’m unsure about the defense. I’m not sure about this being the best offense of the Roethlisberger era. The 2007 team had a pretty great offense. So did the 2009 and 2010 teams.

    The one thing that’s been better is the interior OL. This has been the biggest difference in the offense. They are now able to run up the middle and Ben no longer has rushers right in his face. The playcalling seems to be a bit too conservative. So many WR screens!

    As far as the defense, it’s still pretty good just not the world beating units of past and I think that’s OK. The DBs are playing well, Timmons has been great, but the OLD and DL has been slightly subpar. I think this part will improve as the season goes on.

  • Intropy

    Ug. Everyone fell for that fake.

  • calig23

    Holy trap game, Batman!

  • Eric

    sigh

  • Intropy

    How is nobody getting open with all this time?

  • calig23

    Wow! Great one-handed TD catch by Wallace

  • Intropy

    Terrible hands on this Wallace guy.

    • Rob D

      Fortunately, he has good thighs!

  • Eric

    I like that they mentioned that rothlisberger has had the biggest drop in yards/pass since 2009 with Kurt Warner and failed to mention that Todd Haley was the cordinator for both of those quarterbacks

  • Eric

    Do they miss Brown that much? Nobody getting seperation…

  • Intropy

    And Roethlisberger’s injured…

  • Eric

    This is not going well.

    • Eric

      Huh. Well sure worked out better than it could have.

  • calig23

    That’s clearly an incomplete pass, but after last week, who the heck knows.

  • Intropy

    Holy crap! An open receiver!

  • Eric

    Before the season roethlisberger was talking about a partially torn labrum in his shoulder.

  • Eric

    Among many problems tonight, the punting has not been good.

  • Eric

    Thos game is killing me.

  • Eric

    sigh

  • Cols714

    Well there goes the defense again.

  • Cols714

    I don’t understand the defensive play calls. It seems like they are trying for pressure instead of staying back and denying them any long plays. Giving up a 4th and 15 is nuts.

  • Cols714

    Ugh. We really need Ben.

  • Cols714

    Also, Todd Haley has called a horrible game.

    • http://www.facebook.com/randy.steele.583 Randy Steele

      Yeah, I thought Bruce Arians had returned.

  • Cols714

    Timmons = complete beast.

  • calig23

    Timmons!!

  • Cols714

    Timmons has been the best player on defense this entire season. Woodley and especially Harrison have been so-so. Foote has been steady, but Timmons has been great.

    I also liked what we saw from Hood tonight.

    • Intropy

      And I hated what I saw from Hood. He had a few memorable blowups mixed in with a steady caving in of his side of the line against the run all night.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Seriously? Hood? You must have seen something I missed. I watched Hood on about 10 plays and he was horrid on every one. They ran to his side the entire first half and he never seemed to be able to hold his gap, let alone make a tackle. The only play he made all night was when two Chiefs’ OLs just stopped blocking him. I also saw him stop hustling when the ball was a yard or two from him.

      • http://www.facebook.com/randy.steele.583 Randy Steele

        I agree. I thought Hoods and Woodley were pushed around by the Chiefs’ running game like a couple rag dolls. Woodley is playing hurt, of course. But Hood has been extremely disappointing this season, especially given all the good hype he received during the pre-season for his conditioning and attitude.

        • http://www.facebook.com/randy.steele.583 Randy Steele

          And Cols, I know you’re a big Timmons’ fan, which I understand and respect, but last night was Diesel’s night. He was on fire.

    • MRav

      Ryan Clark, in my opinion, has been the cornerstone of our D this year.

  • Eric

    Great play by Timmons.

  • Cols714

    Have to say we were really really lucky this game. A bunch of weird and just so-so penalties on KC saved us.

    Plus Timmons.

  • Cols714

    That KC defense though, it’s pretty awesome. They hit everything.

    Get better Ben!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Intropy

    So… Are the Steelers the team that destroyed the Giants or nearly lost to the Chiefs?

    • New Eric

      Both, I think. The Giants aren’t as good as their record, and the Chiefs are not as bad as theirs. Remember, the Ravens only beat them by a FG also, although it was in KC. Without their 30 turnovers (wow!), that team would probably be in the playoff hunt. That defense is for realz! That being said, it was a pretty sloppy game tonight by just about everyone involved.

  • Cols714

    OK, so I’m ready to admit that I’m wrong on Hood. The internets are pretty unanimous that he sucked last night.

    Intropy, the Steelers, like all NFL teams are a bit of both. Good enough to beat the Giants and bad enough to lose to the chiefs.

    • Rob D

      Hey, Cols..I think I saw the same couple of plays where he was effective as you, so don’t feel bad. Watching it again with focus on him and …yikes. I think he’s going to be a good backup/Hoke level player for us at best. Heyward better be the real deal I guess.

  • Cols714

    Just popping by to say that was an awful game by Todd Haley last night as well. Opponents know the Steelers are going to try a quick passing game by now. It might be time to dial up a few longer plays.

    What we really need is a combination of Bruce Arians and Todd Haley as OC. Do we have the technology to make this happen?

    Also, if the reports about Ben having a sprained or separated shoulder are true, then this season is in a bit of trouble.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      I’ll go out on a limb and say that calling a screen pass to Wallace inside the red zone from Byron “longest wind-up in football” is a bad play call. Oh, well, even LeBeau sometimes calls a bad game.

    • Rob D

      Starks said on a radio show today that the KC D was calling out the plays just before the snap. I guess they were familiar with the basic scheme but you’d think No. 1 goal for Haley would be to disguise it somehow…o well..weather may have played a big role in this one and limited the playbook.

  • Cols714

    Sounds like Ben will miss this Sunday’s game vs Baltimore.

  • Cols714

    Ugh. Ben is out for this week and maybe a bit longer. Just when we need him. Going to have to run the ball well vs the Ravens.

    • David

      Freeman over at CBS Sportsline tweeted that a Steeler “official” told him Ben will play this week. Geez. If he’s not ready, sit him, please…

      • Cols714

        I agree, sit him the next couple of games if necessary. It’s likely we can make the playoffs as a wild card at least, I’d rather see Ben healthy later in the year than go through what we did last year with hobbled Ben (who did manage to get them to be 12-4).

        • http://www.facebook.com/randy.steele.583 Randy Steele

          Is anyone else surprised that the hit Ben took did so much damage? It’s difficult to judge watching the play only on TV, but to me he didn’t look like he went down that hard.

          • Sarah

            I’ve had a SC mild sep and it does suck. Doesn’t take much either. Quite painful – you can’t lift your arm up. Ugh.

          • David

            You must’ve done that playing hockey, Sarah. Did Ty Domi or Scott Stevens do that to you?

          • Sarah

            In fact, no, merely an extremely hard shot. So having a 300-lb lineman plant you in the turf I am sure is much worse. It’s just a piece of cartilage which holds the the end of the clavicle onto the sternum. Not serious but quite painful.

    • David

      Correction: the tweet said “next week”, which means the CLE game, not the Raisins game. Sorry, got confused with “this week” and “next week”.

  • Rob D

    Ben has an SC sprain. From what I have read, it’s about the collar bone being pushed back. Not sure but I think he’s probably out for 2-3 games minimum and if the shoulder was damaged (people tell me its hard to get a quick diagnosis on it because of the complexity of the joint) ..even longer. Look out folks, Batch might have to hold the fort and actually win some games for us down the stretch if the worst happens.
    The Giants game seemed to signal a revitalization..and this game seems to have put that characterization in doubt. Obviously, we are a contender with Ben. What we can do without him will be a test of Tomlin’s staff.

    • Rob D

      Ed Werder tweet:

      Preliminary indication is Big Ben likely suffered a sprained SC joint as coach Mike Tomlin stated and also rib injury on the same play.

      • David

        And it looks like his rib injury may be more severe than was once thought. Geez, is this just some conspiracy to allow him to see the birth of his kid? (Just kidding)

  • Cols714

    Any news on figuring out how to combine Arians and Haley into one person? The perfect OC, able to have a short passing game and a deep passing game.

  • Cols714

    Ben officially out for the Ravens game. Probably going to miss the Browns game as well. These next two games then will rest on the OL and the defense. They have to grind out a win like the old Cowher Power 1992 era Steelers when they didn’t have a superstar QB.

  • MRav

    Hmm…any chance we’ll see the wildcat!? Perhaps the pony backfield? Maybe the full house? Seriously though, losing Ben for three weeks is going to be rough, and that’s what I’m guessing it’s going to be. I’m assuming we’ll drop both games against the baltimorons and tough it out against Cleveland. Which would mean Ben would be back and healthy against SD, Dallas, Cinci, and Cleveland. If we were to take 3 out of 4 that would give us a 10-6 and be enough to get into the playoffs as a wild card. I’d rather do that than what happened last year and take a beat up Ben into the playoffs. What do you guys think?

    • Eric

      I was thinking of the Pony backfield. With both Redman and Dwyer (and an outside chance of Mendenhall). They have to do something because my confidence in Leftwich is unreasonably low.

      • MRav

        I’m hoping they pound the ball a ton and drop in some play-action here and there. Byron has a canon and throws one of the prettier deep balls in the league. Hopefully, they plan around the fact that most teams know they’ll be running it a ton and we can take some shots down field with good play action. I’m not sure why we struggled to run the ball so much last week but I’m hoping they get that turned around quick. Also, I hope Todd realized quick that Byron’s motion takes too long to deliver any WR/bubble screens. Please no more!

    • Cols714

      Definitely rather have a healthy Ben + wild card than unhealthy Ben + division win.

      I’m thinking they should hire Ron Erhardt if he’s still alive and bring in Barry Foster to run the ball like crazy the next three weeks.

  • MRav

    Just read that Ben dislocated a rib. OUCH. I’m willing to bet that they would have rather he broke it than have it dislocated. Apparently doctors are worried it become dislodge and hit his heart or another internal organ. Looking back at the play, you see him really crunch down on the football. Well, looking again back at the AFC standings, I’m thinking that the second wild card team might even make it in with an 8-8, 9-7 record. Time to start keeping on eye on Indy I guess. I think if Pittsburgh can get to 9 wins as soon as possible they might be able to rest Ben until the Wild Card game. It might be cutting it close, but it might be worth the gamble in light of this odd rib injury.

    • Rob D

      Realistically..he’s out for 6 weeks. Season is now riding on Leftwich, the running game and the D playing lights out. No Frankenboot this time but now he’s got an injury that he can’t tough out or fool around with (ie) taking a needle. WE are going to find out just what this team is made of. Let’s get behind them…this is where STeeler teams have proved their mettle in the past. Next man up.

      • David

        Yep, it looks like 6 weeks. We need to start placing our denials on the wayside & own up to the fact that the only Ben we’ll see is, hopefully, in the playoffs.

        So, assuming we beat CLE twice & the Bungels once more, we’re 9-7, & would need a lot of help to make it as a Wildcard. Beat any of BAL, DAL, or SD would make it 10-6, & a virtual lock as a WC. But, worst case scenario, we beat CLE twice, that’s it, & we’re 8-8, & drafting in the 14-18 spot in 2013.

        • MRav

          8-8 might be enough to make the wild card. Looking at the standings, there isn’t another team that is really making any noise.

          • Sarah

            Guys – I know this sounds sour – but seriously Ben is a total Diva, and loves to tweak the press over his injuries, making them sound really really bad, only to heroicly play in a week ortwo, after the press said he was out for months.
            This business of a dislocated rib tearig his aorta – real or not, sounds Classic Ben, and I would treat its veracity very guardedly.
            Just sayin’.

          • Intropy

            Well. Sort of. He does seem to like to play up injuries and be the tough hero overcoming them. But I don’t think he’s ever being less than honest about his injuries. I think he really does have the injuries/diagnoses he claims. He just likes to make sure everyone knows about it. And that’s fine. I mean the man is an entertainer.

  • Eric

    As gloomy as it looks now, winning the the division is still a very real possibility. The Ravens just lost Jimmy Smith for the balance of the regular season. They are now down to essentially special teams players at CB. Reed and Ngata are struggling with injuries and Ray-Ray is on IR. And Suggs can’t be 100% after his Achilles injury. So the Raven’s D is in bad, bad shape.

    If the Steelers can manage to pull out a win on Sunday, they’ll be the division leaders. Then it will be a limp to the finish line for the AFC North division winner. 9 or 10 wins will probably win the division. Neither the Ravens or us are healthy enough to get a bye. Those will go to Houston and NE/Denver.

    • David

      If they’re smart, they’ll run Rice 50 times–to the right. Does anyone else out there think Rice will run for 150 yds?
      The only way we win is by turnovers. Otherwise, Wallace needs to have two long TDs.

      • Eric

        The Ravens offense has been outsmarting themselves for years. There have been many times where they didn’t use Rice much and instead relied on Flacco. Lets hope they keep making that mistake.

  • Cols714

    Can someone tell me if Jimmy Smith has been any good since he’s been drafted? I don’t think he has.

    Also even without Ben, this team can get to 9-7 easily, 10-6 likely, and 11-5 at the outside. Have some faith.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    I think of Ziggy as young, but he was actually picked the year before Pouncey. I hope he turns it around, but he may end up being the least productive Steelers’ first round pick since Jamain Stephens in 1996. His only competition is with Kendall Simmons and Troy Edwards, and to date, I’d say that Ziggy has contributed less than either of those two.

    • Rob D

      Don’t need to double team him most snaps..has been handled by a single TE on more than one occasion this year. He’s probably an average player in a 4-3 but he seems to be very limited in our D…It’s unfair but I keep comparing him to Aaron and uhhhh…yep, just unfair.
      He looks to be in great shape and he doesn’t quit most plays but yeah..I don’t think he’s a long term answer as a starter. I really liked the pick and thought he would come around but this year the consensus seems to be “meh!”

  • Rob D

    http://aeryssports.com/aerys-offsides/house-calls-demystifying-ben-roethlisbergers-injury/

    Thought this might be of interest to some.

    I’m thinking a win tomorrow would really bolster their confidence and get them up and running without the Franchise leading them.IT’s a huge game anyway you slice it.

  • Eric