Sometimes I get tired of being right. When I did my preview of tonight’s NFL prime time tilt between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, I said it was the very definition of a trap game. The Steelers are staring at a 3 game stretch against AFC North opponents and I worried that they would look past the Chiefs.
And going into halftime tied 10-10 that’s exactly what I see happening. Turnovers, untimely penalties and a stagnant run game have all plagued the Steelers offense, and the defense has allowed the Chiefs the first lead they’ve had all season. The Chiefs walked onto the field fired up and ready to play, hitting harder, hustling to the football and just playing sharper than a flat Steelers team on both sides of the ball.
I also said in my preview that the Chiefs were going to come out and pound running back Jamaal Charles at the Steelers defense due to the weather and the fact that he’s their best weapon on offense. So far in one half he has 14 carries and 65 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers have to stall him out and not let him beat them.
For the Steelers, they’ve tried to force the passing game in bad conditions with two perfectly talented running backs more than willing to run the ball in Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. But instead the Steelers are insisting on running out of the shotgun with a patchwork offensive line and the Chiefs are teeing off on the Steelers tackles, pressuring quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
In the second half the Steelers need to come out and impose their will on the Chiefs. On defense they have to pressure and blitz and hit these Chiefs skill players. Don’t let them think they can just move the ball down the field. We’ve see how the Steelers defense can intimidate an offense. On offense, they have to continue to run the ball. Pound it and pound it, and then throw it over those linebackers to the middle of the field and let the playmakers run. It also wouldn’t hurt if the wide receivers held onto the football, as wide outs had 2 key drops in the first half.
I said this game would be close, but I didn’t say it would be easy to deal with. Here we go Steelers!