Kansas City seemed like the perfect opponent to face if the Steelers wanted to get back on track. They were 2-7 and had not won a game at home. Beyond their record, the Chiefs simply lacked the personnel to compete with the Steelers.
It seemed like an easy game. Kansas City was ripe for the pickings.
Well, maybe not as ripe as the Steelers had hoped.
Despite out-gaining Kansas City 515 to 282, accumulating 14 more first downs and out-possessing them 44:07 to 22:25, the Steelers fell in overtime, 27-24.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns, but had two interceptions, while Mike Wallace fumbled the ball. The three turnovers were enough to propel the Chiefs to a win.
An interception in the end zone—returned for 98 yards—was a 10-point swing as Kansas City converted on a field goal. An opening kickoff, returned for a touchdown, was also an early dagger.
It was one of those games where you just say, “Any given Sunday…”
This week can be “any given Sunday” as well.
The Chiefs will be playing in front of a Sunday night crowd with a national television audience. Thousands of Steelers fans are expected to attend.
Pittsburgh does not want to disappoint.
Coming off of their bye week, the Steelers have had extra time to get healthy and prepare for the last segment of the season—starting off against the Chiefs.
It will be very easy to look past the Chiefs, who just got annihilated by New England, 34-3.
Tyler Palko—who should start again Sunday night—threw for three interceptions, though not all were his fault. That should play right into a turnover-starved Steelers defense.
But Kansas City has a strong ground attack and has a couple of solid linebackers in Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali.
Hali is the type of player who can wreak havoc on the Steelers offensive line and force Roethlisberger to make mistakes. That is the one way that the Chiefs can stay in this game.
The NFL is not an easy league—there is a very fine line between the good teams and the bad teams. That line can be as simple as looking a week ahead, which just so happens to be a divisional match between the Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pittsburgh has positioned itself well for the AFC playoff race and does not want to slip up, especially against a weak Kansas City team.
If the Steelers do, they can kiss good-bye any chance of having the top seed in the conference.
The Steelers must maintain tunnel vision; next up in their line of sight are the Kansas City Chiefs.
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