The Steelers opened up their Monday Night game with Kansas City looking like they were sleep-walking as they fell behind 10-0 on a cool, rainy night in the ‘burgh. Was it a hangover from the win in New York? Was it looking ahead to a date with the rival Ravens next Sunday night? Either way, the Steelers escaped with a 16-13 overtime win over the Chiefs.
The Chiefs were able to tie it after converting a 4th and 15 with under :20 remaining. They were able to spike the ball and get Ryan Succup onto the field where he drilled the 46-yarder to send the game into OT. The Chiefs won the toss and took the ball. On their second play, LB Lawrence Timmons made an incredible, leaping interception and returned the ball inside the 10-yard line where Mike Tomlin wasted no time in summoning Shaun Suisham for the game-winner.
In the NFL, a win is a win but this one may have come at great cost. Ben Roethlisberger left the game after taking a hit on the opening drive of the third quarter with an apparent shoulder injury. Last reports had him at the hospital being evaluated.
Byron Leftwich did his best to move the Steelers who could not run the ball all night long with either Jonathan Dwyer or Isaac Redman. Leftwich was able to get the team into field goal range for a 13-10 lead early in the fourth and he also completed a couple of huge passes as well but otherwise looked rusty as expected.
It was quite clear to me that the Steelers took this game for granted. Mike Tomlin can spew his ‘coach-speak’ all he wants to tomorrow in the press conference but I’m not buying it. The Chiefs came to play and the Steelers showed up ‘expecting’ to win rather than earning it. This team under Tomlin has proven once again that they will routinely play down to the level of their competition and they did again this evening.
While the weather conditions didn’t help, the offense was as bad as it has been all season under Todd Haley. Neither he nor O-Line Coach Sean Kugler could solve the Chiefs’ defense which destroyed the Steelers’ line most of the evening. Linebacker Derrick Johnson made a living in the Steelers’ backfield throughout the game and the players and coaches had no answer for him.
Although the defense opened the game by getting absolutely gashed over the right side of the line for much of the first half, they adjusted and Ziggy Hood manned-up and started getting the job done. Despite poor tackling much of the evening, the Steelers’ D time and time again bailed out the offense and once again Mike Tomlin. Why Tomlin chose to go for it on a 4th and long one at mid-field with a three-point lead is beyond me and once again brings his game-management skills into question.
Should Roethlisberger be sidelined for any lengthy period of time this team is in serious trouble especially with two games in three weeks against the Baltimore Ravens. Either way, a performance like tonight’s will get this team nothing but a seat at the AFC North’s second place table.