View Full Version : They've been down this road before

11-23-2009, 06:41 PM
They've been down this road before
By F. Dale Lolley
This article has been read 219 times.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - When you dominate a game as much as the Steelers did Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, you're supposed to win.

Not every once in a while. Not most of the time. You're supposed to win all of them.

How lopsided was this game?

Pittsburgh finished with 515 yards of offense. Kansas City had 282, with 61 coming on a pass from Matt Cassell to Chris Chambers in overtime that set up Ryan Succop's 22-yard game-winning field goal in the Chiefs' 27-24 victory.

The Steelers also held an amazing 44:07 to 22:25 advantage in time of possession. They seemingly moved the football at will.

But the one area Kansas City dominated was the turnover battle. The Chiefs had one. The Steelers had three turnovers.

Pittsburgh's turnovers - particularly the last two - came at bad times.

Add in the obligatory kickoff return for a touchdown against the Steelers and you've got the ingredients for a good upset.

Pittsburgh's second turnover came on the opening drive of the third quarter. A pass tipped off the hands of tight end Heath Miller and into those of Kansas City linebacker Andy Studebaker.

The Steelers led 17-7 at the time, but the Chiefs turned the good field position - the Pittsburgh 38-yard line - into a touchdown when Cassel tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Leonard Pope. That made the score 17-14.

"I feel like it was a battle from then on," Miller said.

The Chiefs treated it as such. The Steelers, meanwhile, continued to keep the Chiefs in the game.

Later in the third quarter, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted again by Studebaker. But this one was even more damaging, as it came two yards deep into the end zone and was returned 96 yards to the Pittsburgh 8. Three players later, Succop had kicked a 27-yard field goal. Instead of leading, the Steelers were tied at 17-17.

Then, the defense faltered. After Roethlisberger threw a short touchdown pass to Rashard Mendenhall to put Pittsburgh back in front, Kansas Citybegan a drive at its own nine with 8:35 to play.

Eight plays later - including a 30-yard pass to Lance Long and a 47-yard bomb to Chambers - the Chiefs had again tied the game.

The Steelers made too many mistakes and wasted too many opportunities.

"We were doing the things teams do when they don't win games," said Miller. "You do that enough, you're not going to win."

If the Steelers and Chiefs played 100 times, Pittsburgh would likely win 95 of them. Sunday was not one of them. It leaves the Steelers in a bad spot at 6-4 with six games remaining and losers of two straight.

"We've all added to it, coaches included," said wide receiver Hines Ward. "We're all involved. We've got to come back and finish these last six games strong, not worry about the playoffs or anything.

"Right now, we don't know where we are. We've got to watch film evaluate it and move on."

When the Steelers reached this point in 2005, then-head coach Bill Cowher told every player to grade himself to see what he could do to make the team better.

The Steelers won their final four regular-season games, then won four in a row in the playoffs.

That soul-searching time is here for this team, but does it have the same moxie?

"I think we do," said Farrior.

We'll see soon enough.

F. Dale Lolley can be reached at dlolley@observer-reporter.com

11-23-2009, 06:57 PM
This proves you have to be a complete team. We can run up and down the field all day, but all it takes is one or two special teams plays to ruin a whole game......

Our special teams are struggling, the understatement of the season.