The Steelers O-Line Will Be Challenged by the Chiefs D-Line
The Steelers might have their work cut out for them this Sunday. Seriously, I know I seem to say that every week, but I am a proponent of never underestimating who you face. Once you are behind, comebacks take so much more effort! The Kansas City Chiefs may not be winning in spectacular fashion this year, but they do have a winning record and they have a lot of talent. These are not the woeful Chiefs from a few years ago and no one should expect an easy win.
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Heck, the last time the Steelers met the Chiefs in 2012, I recall that I nearly chewed my nails down to nubs until Suisham got the game winning field goal in overtime. I remember that I thought people were not giving Tamba Hali and Dontari Poe, as well as a few other defensive lineman, enough credit for their ability to make plays against the quarterback. Turns out, Big Ben ended up injured and we were all rooting for Byron Leftwich to keep the game alive. Don’t get me wrong, I have never questioned Leftwich’s passion and desire to play the game, but he was not Big Ben. Enough about the past, but wait, shouldn’t we learn FROM the past, particularly if the facts still apply?
The Chiefs still have Dontari Poe and Tamba Hali in their lineup and even though Hali is having knee issues and did not practice on Thursday, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Oh and don’t forget Justin Houston who is having a MONSTER year. He has 17 sacks. SEVENTEEN! He is tied with Elvis Dumervil of Baltimore as the sack leader. Kansas City’s defense has recorded 38 sacks and Houston has nearly half of them. Oh, just a side note, Houston is the one who took Roethlisberger out the last time with the shoulder injury. HELLLOOOOO!
Poe has contributed 5 sacks and Hali has recorded 6 so all three are great examples of veterans who still produce. Yeah, I sound like I am drooling, but I just think this defensive line deserves some respect. The Steelers offensive linemen really have their work cut out for them. So far, Roethlisberger has been sacked 32 times this season and based Kansas City defensive talent, it will be a tall order to stop them on every play. I know it’s a rough game and we can’t put Big Ben in bubble wrap, but I really like having the same quarterback through the whole season, particularly if there will be post-season games.
The Steelers offensive line has had some tough games and they have had some brilliant games. I am sure most of Steeler Nation has wondered why the highs and lows seem so opposite. Last week Atlanta was fairly effective in limiting the running game, so it was great that the Steelers could still use the passing game. Roethlisberger was mostly upright too, with only one sack for lost yardage.
If the running game is not working and if the Chiefs are successful in consistently hurrying Ben or planting him on the ground numerous times, then the Steelers are in for a long game.
The offensive line has to keep giving him that, particularly if they can’t make the holes for Bell to scoot through. If the running game is not working and if the Chiefs are successful in consistently hurrying Ben or planting him on the ground numerous times, then the Steelers are in for a long game.
For the record, I hate the “win and they’re in” crap because it disrupts the focus. The focus should be win THIS game. Everything else will sort itself out if the Steelers just play every game to their best and not try to judge the opponent and what they can maybe save for the next game, etc. This is no cupcake game and the offensive line will be sore, bruised and battered when they get done with this.
I am hoping that Ben never gets sacked and never ends up on the ground, but we all know he will hold on to the ball to extend the play to make something happen. I am not sure the offensive line will be able to hold the Chiefs off for as long as Ben might like for some of the plays. I hope that the quick release (or hand-offs for the run) is successful this week because I think that will be the best protection for the offense.
We also need the defense to play aggressively and not give Alex Smith or Jamaal Charles any chances. For once, the secondary shouldn’t have a rough time with the Chief’s limited use of their wide receivers. Oh, please, don’t let this be the break-out game for the Chief’s passing game!
Enough “Debbie Downer.” The Steelers looked good last week and I’m hoping they look great this week. I’m also rooting for Willie Gay to get another pick 6! Let’s go Steelers!