Thursday, November 15, 2012

Never Mind the Darkness We Still Can Find A Way: Steelers Win


The Steelers won the toss and made the strange decision to defer to the second half. Generally I'm in favor of deferring, but against a terrible offensive team like the Chiefs that hasn't had a lead all year, taking the ball and putting points on the board first might've been a good decision.

Jamaal Charles rips off a big run on a cut-back to start, but the Chiefs drive stalls out around midfield when Cassel just lays down under pressure.

Keisel gets credit for the sack.

Ben hits Heath to get things rolling, but the drive stalls out when Sanders gets a ball knocked out of his hands and another pass slips through Cotchery's hands.

A bad punt gives the Chiefs decent field position and they take advantage, hitting a wide open tight end down the sideline. To make matters worse, Clark misses a tackle and it turns into a 40-yard gain. A pass to McCluster gets them into the red zone and Charles cuts one back with no one in the middle of the field for the score.

A team that hasn't had a lead all year only needed 6 minutes to get lead on the Steelers.


The Steelers respond by going 3-and-out.

Kansas City keeps rolling on the ground and the Steelers don't force a 3rd down unti the Chiefs are at midfield. Thankfully, Cassel sucks.

The wheels fall off on the next drive when Willie Colon records two penalties in one play - a holding penalty then another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for swearing at an official. Colonoscopy city. With the Steelers backed up inside their 10, Haley calls a draw and Redman fumbles. Puke.

The Chiefs run it twice to get it to the 3.

Second Quarter

For some reason, the Chiefs keep it on the ground on 3rd and goal from the 3 and Woodley makes a huge play to bring down Charles in the backfield and hold the Chiefs to 3.


Things go from bad to worse when David Paulsen fumbles after the catch on the first play of the next drive, but Colon atones for his earlier penalty by falling on the ball and keeping the drive alive. The Steelers go to their bread-and-butter and Heath picks up two big first downs to move us into Chiefs territory. The drive stalls out just inside the red zone, but Suisham gets us on the board.


A false start penalty turns a 3rd and short into a 3rd and medium and Timmons makes a great play in coverage to force the tight end to make a diving attempt at a pass. Great job by the defense to force a 3-and-out after the score.

A bad punt gives us great field position at midfield and Ben takes advantage. On the second play he takes a shot deep for Wallace and throws a perfect ball to Wallace at the goal line that just bounces off Wallace's fingertips. Wallace should have had it, he was wide open. On 3rd and medium, Dwyer takes a draw handoff right up the middle for nearly 20 yards to put us in field goal range. What a play call. Three play later, Ben sees an opening in front of him and takes off, taking it all the way down inside the 10. On the next play, he throws a fade for Wallace who makes a one-handed diving grab.

It's called a touchdown on the field but goes for review. Upon review, we see that Wallace actually caught the ball between his knees and it never touched the ground.

Holy crap.


The Chiefs get the ball back with 3 minutes left in the half and move it out to midfield with passes to Bowe and Baldwin, but the defense locks it down and forces a punt.

Third Quarter

The Steelers go 3-and-out with Ben getting sacked on 3rd down. It didn't look bad at the time, but Ben went straight to the locker room after the play with a shoulder and rib injury. Looks like he's going to be out a while.
This can't even sum it up.

The Chiefs drive the ball down the field while everyone in the stadium is watching Leftwich warm up. Ike went off for a play and the Chiefs went right after Cortez Allen, seemingly scoring a touchdown, but a holding penalty brought it back. They follow it up by missing a 33-yard field goal.

Byron comes out at quarterback and badly misses on his first throw, then has a ball slip out of his hand on 3rd down that is pretty much the same play as the one Ben had last week that the Giants ran back for a touchdown. These refs get it right and call it an incomplete pass plus they tack on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Kansas City for celebrating the touchdown that didn't count. Dwyer gets us to midfield but comes up just short on 3rd down. Tomlin elects to go for it and Dwyer is stopped.

Kansas City takes over at midfield, but the defense plays out of their minds and comes up with a 3-and-out.

It was a tense atmosphere as Leftwich came back out to lead the team, and everyone in the stadium knew that one of the receivers was going to have to step up and make something happen if we were going to win this game. Byron took a shot deep for Wallace and he didn't even try for it, drawing some ire from the crowd. On 3rd down, Byron came back and hit Sanders across the middle who turned it upfield into a 30-yard gain. On the next 3rd down, Sanders draws a pass interference flag when he gets maimed trying to come back for the ball. Somehow, two plays got us into field goal range.

Fourth Quarter

Things get better when the Chiefs just collapse on themselves and commit two penalties on the next third down - defensive holding and roughing the passer, the latter of which moves us into the red zone. Byron goes to the well one more time but Sanders can't hang on to a 3rd down pass in the front corner of the end zone. Suisham.


After that, it was all about the defense. The teams traded 3-and-outs multiple times with Timmons and Keisel leading the defense.

The Steelers finally get the ball with 4 minutes to play and have a chance to run it out. An incomplete pass on 2nd down stops the clock but Leftwich hits Cotchery over the middle for a big conversion to keep the drive alive. The Chiefs start burning their timeouts and the Steelers have a 3rd and 2 with just over 2 minutes to play to win the game, but Dwyer comes up just short. Tomlin elects to punt after the two-minute warning.

Kansas City takes over out of timeouts and starts moving the ball downfield. With about a minute left, a strange play happens where both Clark and Bowe get hurt. The ref states the rule about an injury costing a team a timeout, but somehow gives Kansas City a fourth timeout to take because of the injury? That's a new one on me. Two plays later, the Chiefs seemingly convert a 3rd down with a big pass into Steelers territory but they get flagged for offensive pass interference.

I'll be honest. Yes, it was interference, but I've never seen OPI called in that situation.

The Chiefs can't convert on 3rd down but Cassel hits Bowe on 4th down a split second before Woodley buries him. Cassel is able to get up to the line and spike it with two ticks left. Succop kicks the ball sideways and it somehow makes it through the uprights to tie the game as time expires.



Kansas City wins the toss. Yikes. If you had a sinking feeling about the prospect of Leftwich having to lead a scoring drive, you weren't alone.

Thankfully, Matt Cassel sucks. On the second play of overtime he stares down his tight end and Timmons makes a leaping interception that he almost takes back to the house.

Tomlin doesn't even waste time with the offense. Suisham all day.




Ben is hurt. 
That's about the only thing that we can say at this point.

Players of the Game

Offensive Game Ball: Heath Miller
Defensive Game Ball: Lawrence Timmons

Honorable Mentions:
Emmanuel Sanders
Shaun Suisham
Brett Keisel

Final Thoughts

  • Once again, the injury bug strikes hard. Ben Roethlisberger was not only having a career year, but was easily the most valuable player of the team. When he went down with a shoulder injury in the Third Quarter, the difference in the offense was apparent. It just wasn't the same team with Leftwich under center.
  • Ryan Clark suffered another concussion. That's two in three weeks for Ryan. Concussions come with a lot of uncertainty, but having two in that short amount of time is not a good thing. 
  • It was apparent how much we missed Antonio Brown on offense. Ben looked much less decisive, particularly on 3rd down.
  • Once again, Manny Sanders makes a big catch over the middle of the field late in the game. 
  • You have to hand it to the Chiefs. They came out with a great defensive gameplan - stack the box against the run and force the Steelers to beat them through the air on a cold and rainy night.
  • Hidden in the poor offensive effort was another strong showing by the defense. Ryan Clark dropped an interception that might have been six points if he hung on, but the defense really only allowed two big drives. The one was the first touchdown drive where the Chiefs gashed us on the ground and the second was the field goal drive at the end of the game where Dwayne Bowe somehow got open in the secondary to get them into field goal range. 
  • Obviously, Lawrence Timmons came up with the defensive play of the game, and quite possibly the play of the season. His leaping interception in overtime enabled us to get out with a win. 
  • The on-field adjustments made by the defense throughout the game were apparent - and they worked. One of the common critiques of Mike Tomlin has been that the team has not adjusted to what the other team was doing. This was not the case tonight. Early in the game, the Chiefs were gashing us on the ground with cut-back runs and off-tackle runs where the backs were able to get to the edge. The Steelers adjusted and the outside linebackers and corners did a much better job as the game went on setting the edge and forcing running plays back inside. 
  • It's Ravens Week. Get your heads on straight folks. This is the biggest game of the season (until we play the Ravens again in 2 weeks). 

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