Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Kool-Aid Man: Steelers Lose


Andy Reid's bizarre clock management skills are in mid-season form. That's about all there is to say. Playing for overtime in a preseason game is ridiculous.

Defense gets the nod for introductions. The smoke is cool, running out the anthem singer not so much. Unless it's Styx. They should get the grand treatment.

The Steelers win the toss for the third time this preseason. This time they deferred.

It seemed like the right move when the Chiefs fumbled the opening kickoff but replay overturned the fumble and showed the runner's elbow was down.

The first team defense does its thing and forces a coverage sack when Troy jumps a shallow cross on 3rd down.

The Steelers come out with Beachum checking in as an eligible receiver in the tight end spot to add some beef up front. Given the lack of a blocking tight end, this was a fantastic move. They even ran some play-action off the heavy set with Ben airing one out for AB down the sideline who makes a great over-the-shoulder catch. The offense stalls out when Ben misses AB on an out-route on 3rd down inside the 10. Suisham gets us on the board.


After Timmons and Troy stack up Charles on 3rd and 1, Reid makes the bizarre decision to go for it on 4th and 1 from his own 20. Troy slices in and Jarvis and Ziggy stop Charles in the backfield to set up shop for the offense.

Ben hits Cotchery to get us inside the 10, but then gets sacked on a blitz up the middle to set things back. On 3rd down, Ben does his Ben thing and eludes pressure, finding Dwyer wide open inside the 5. Ben takes a hit but delivers the ball and Dwyer scampers in for the score.


The defense dominates again and the offense takes it out across midfield as the quarter ends.

Second Quarter

Ben seemingly hits a big pass to Brown but it gets called back on a chop block on Dwyer that effectively ends the drive.

Bowe gets the Chiefs out of trouble and out to midfield by breaking a few tackles in the secondary. The bigger story is that Ziggy ran him down. The defense locks it up after that.

Ben goes to work hitting Cotchery and Brown for big gains to get us into Chiefs territory then almost connects for another touchdown when he throws a perfect ball to Sanders down the right sideline that Sanders juggles as he slides across the goal line and out of bounds.


Ball on the ground. Man.

Suisham comes out to attempt a 52-yarder but it gets blocked. Another special teams disaster.

The block turns things around for the Chiefs. Alex Smith avoids a sack and with all the receivers running fly routes there are no defenders at the second level and he is able to scramble for 30 yards. Another 15 gets tacked onto the end when Cortez Allen gets pushed into Smith out of bounds and flagged for a late hit. Whatever. The defense holds the Chiefs to 3.


Ben starts moving the ball again but gets sacked on an overload blitz where two came free and only Dwyer was in the backfield to block. Moorman makes a horrendous punt to give the Chiefs decent field position with a minute left.

Smith goes to work in the no huddle, picking his way down the field, getting some free yards on a roughing the passer call when Troy absolutely obliterates him when he was scrambling outside the pocket. Upon review, it was the right call, Troy hit Smith in the head. The Chiefs convert a 3rd down inside the 10 with under 30 seconds to go and Smith comes back after a spike and hits Ernest Hemingway on a hill for the score.



Bizarre first half. Steelers dominated the game but two defensive penalties gave the Chiefs free yardage on their scoring drives.

Third Quarter

Felix Jones and Bruce Gradkowski pretty much ran the show in the second half. They got off to a slow start behind the first team line when Gradkowski got sacked trying to scramble away from pressure on 3rd down.

Chase Daniel came in at QB for the Chiefs. Noted fumbler Knile Davis did just that on 3rd down. Troy with the big recovery.

The Felix Jones show keeps on rolling and carried us across midfield but a holding call on Pouncey effectively ended things. Nothing really happening as the teams traded punts.

Gradkowski is finally allowed to open things up on 3rd and long after a penalty on Beachum and hits Michael Palmer down the seam. Palmer has been the best blocking TE in the preseason and has made some tackles on special teams. He's making a case for a roster spot. After Baron Batch works it to 3rd and 1, Bruce goes play-action and hits Wheaton running a beautiful route down the seam that he turns into a post for the pylon and splits the corner and safety while making an over-the-shoulder grab at the goal line.


The good feelings would be short-lived as Knile Davis atoned for his earlier fumble by taking the ensuing kickoff 109 yards back to the house. Bad containment by the second string kick coverage guys. Also, Davis runs like a 4.2 40-yard dash, so he has insane speed when he holds on to the ball.


Derek Moye makes a slick little move on 3rd down to evade some tacklers and pick up a first down, atoning the offensive line for giving up a sack on 2nd down.

Fourth Quarter

Gradkowski keeps working it to Wheaton, moving us into field goal range. A 3rd down penalty on the Chiefs gives the offense new life in the red zone, but they can't threaten the end zone. Suisham puts us back ahead.


From here, things began to get a little crazy. Steeler Nation got put on edge after Jarvis Jones intercepted a tipped ball then stayed down on the field after being tackled from behind. The interception was overturned on a pass interference call, but more importantly was Jones' injury. He was taken to the hospital after the game but all the tests came up negative and it looks like it was only a bruised chest after he fell on the ball. Daniel led the Chiefs down into scoring territory but Andy Reid opted to go for it on 4th and 2 from the 31 rather than attempt a 49-yard field goal with 7 minutes left. Shamarknado came up with a big break-up to turn the ball back to the Steelers.

The Chiefs get a gift from the defense with a 15-yard penalty on Baxter for a late hit on a shaky call because the player had stepped out and the ref never blew the whistle. The Chiefs only face one third down as they work their way down the field and get all the way down to the 10 with under 2 minutes to play. Baxter atones for his penalty by coming up with a big sack on second down. Andy Reid strikes again with a minute and a half to go. Rather than going for it on 4th and long, he opts to kick the field goal and tie the game, risking overtime. 


The teams trade absolutely awful possessions. Gradkowski throws two incompletions and a check-down and Daniel is sacked 3 times. Tomlin made a bizarre move and used his timeouts after the sacks to give the KC offense more time. In a regular season game, that would be asinine, but it almost paid off with a Baxter strip-sack on 2nd down but the Chiefs were able to recover.


The Chiefs won the toss. You pretty much knew it was over when Vince Williams got called for a horse collar tackle, essentially putting the Chiefs at the edge of field goal range. The Steelers had a chance to get out of hot water on a 3rd and long but let Daniel get loose and move the chains. Rather than kicking a field goal and letting the Steelers have the ball, Andy Reid opted to go for it on 4th and 1 from the 20. The Chiefs converted and scored the winning touchdown three plays later. That was all she wrote.


Bizarre clock management from the Kool Aid Man.

Players of the Game

Offensive Game Ball: Ben Roethlisberger
Defensive Game Ball: Troy Polamalu

Honorable Mentions:
Jonathan Dwyer
Ziggy Hood
Alan Baxter
Antonio Brown
Markus Wheaton
Derek Moye
Vince Williams
Shamarko Thomas
Kelvin Beachum

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Defensive Penalties

Saying "overtime in a preseason game" is too obvious a choice here. In all of the Chiefs scoring drives (except for the kickoff return) they were aided by a personal foul penalty against the Steelers that either gave them 15 free yards or half the distance to the goal. The Steelers didn't give up any points on drives without a defensive penalty. In a non-scoring drive, a defensive pass interference call wiped out Jarvis Jones' interception (though it's unlikely the interception would've happened without Victorian lunging through the receiver to tip the ball into the air). Nevertheless, penalties crushed the defense all game and they need to stop committing senseless personal fouls as we move into the regular season.

Final Thoughts

  • Jarvis Jones wasn't seriously injured. That's 3 preseason games with no significant injuries. That is significant for a team that doesn't have much depth.
  • Speaking of Jones, he's always around the ball. He's going to take over as the full-time starter by mid-season.
  • Troy looks like Troy.
  • Even though Sanders dropped it, what a pass by Ben down the sideline. Holy crap.
  • Loved the heavy set with Beachum playing as a tight end. I've been beating that drum on Twitter since Spaeth was injured.
  • Not sure how much to read into it, but every year in the last decade that the Steelers did not have a winning record in the preseason they had a .500 or below record in the regular season. Let's hope that 2013 breaks the trend.
  • The first cuts happened. See here.
  • Big week with Carolina and the second round of cuts.
  • High school football starts this week. Keep an eye on my WPIAL tag for previews and analysis.
  • The only thing that matters between now and Tennessee is that no one gets injured or arrested.


Rob Flick said...

Careful how loudly you talk about the football almost causing a major injury to jarvis jones. If the commish catches wind he'll be dropping wilson and giving the good people over at nerf a call

The Steelers n'at Staff said...

Can't wait until Roger Goodell makes the Howler the official ball of the NFL.

Thanks for reading!