With Six Games Left, What Kind of Character Will the Steelers Display?

Vicki FarriesCorrespondent INovember 25, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 18:  Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Steeler defense stop quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens on a 4th and 1 play during the AFC Championship game on January 18, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The home team generated 282 yards of total offense.

68 yards rushing and 214 yards passing generated three touchdowns and two field goals.

The opponent generated 515 yards of total offense.

114 yards rushing and 401 yards passing produced three touchdowns and one field goal.

The winner, the home team (3-7) Kansas City Chiefs.

Yes, add another Steeler defeat against a sub par team.

It’s hard to comprehend how the Steelers play down to sub par teams.

With a lead 17-7 half time lead, the Steelers allowed the bottom to fall out in the third with Kansas City striking back with ten unanswered points to tie the score.

Yes, Roethlisberger had one of his best days 32-42, 398 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, but he was sacked 3 times.

The running game was just miserable, 31 attempts for 114 yards and no touchdowns. 80 of those yards came from Rashard Mendenhall with 21 carries.

The bright spot (yes, there was a bright spot), the rush defense without defensive ends Aaron Smith and Travis Kirschke continue to hold rushers under a 100 yards rushing.

Chiefs’ running back Jammal Charles was allowed 58 yards on 17 carries and no touchdowns.

But the secondary continues to get burnt without strong safety Troy Polamalu in play.

Without their star-receiver Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs’ quarterback Matt Cassel threw a 21-yard pass to Leonard Pope early in the third quarter.

With less than five minutes left in the game, Cassel hits receivers Lance Long for 30 yards and Chris Chambers for 47 to set up a two yard touchdown pass to Jammal Charles that tied the score 24-all.

The Steeler defense allowed Cassel 15 completions for 248 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. What’s worse is his passer rating climbed from 75.3 to 100.4 against a super bowl champion defense. 

The biggest blow has to be special teams.

Special teams’ has allowed four kick-off returns for a touchdown in five games which is also a team record.

They are now tied for the NFL record with the 1998 Minnesota Vikings.

In addition, the Steelers have allowed either a kick, interception or a fumble return for a touchdown in eight straight games. 

In an attempt to shore up their kickoff coverage unit, the Steelers released Keiwan Ratliff and linebacker Donovan Woods for linebacker Rocky Boiman and safety Corey Ivy.

Ivy played for the Ravens from 2006-08, had been a free agent since getting cut by the Browns at the end of preseason practice.

Which sets up for next Sunday’s game In Baltimore against the 5-5 Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens are coming off a loss on Sunday against the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts.

No need to go over stats. What good on paper does not transcend what goes on the field.

The Ravens have had November 29 and December 29th circled since the schedule was released.

Division opponents play each other differently and vying for a chance in the postseason..

It will be especially critical meeting since both teams are wounded, missing key players in their arsenals.

The Ravens will be without lynchpins Fabian Washington and Terrell Suggs.

The Steelers injuries continue to mount with Polamalu out indefinitely, along with Smith. No sign of Kirschke returning anytime soon. Kemoeatu suffered an MCL sprain Sunday and could be questionable to probable.

With six games left in the regular season, the question will be what kind of character will the Steelers show down the stretch?

Will they prevail as they did to win Super Bowl XL or XLIII or will they falter as they did in 2007?

It will all begin this Sunday. Every game from now on is a playoff game-one game at a time.











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