4 players who killed Steelers chances in Wild Card game vs Chiefs
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers were blown out against the Chiefs in the Wild Card round of the playoffs and these three players deserve a large portion of the blame.
The Steelers defense did enough to make it a game in the first quarter, but once the gas tank started running low, it was all downhill from there. The defense really struggled from the second quarter through the remainder of the game, and the offense was largely to blame for this embarrassing performance as they could do nothing to help.
Though this game ultimately ended up being a 42-21 blowout, there were many players who played well enough to win. However, these four players had one of their worst games of the season and deserve a large portion of the blame for Pittsburgh’s dismal performance in the Wild Card round against the Chiefs:
Steelers LB Robert Spillane
I stressed all week long that the Steelers could not afford to deploy a slow lineup against the league’s fastest offense. Apparently, this isn’t a factor Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin really considered prior to this matchup.
From his very first snap, I could tell that Robert Spillane was really going to struggle against the speed of Kansas City’s offense, and he most certainly did. He was routinely late filling lanes against the run and was torched in coverage on multiple occasions with no speed to make up for his mistake and bring the ball-carrier down after the catch.
Spillane finished the night with a Pro Football Focus grade under 40.0 and was the worst-graded defender on the team that played at least 25 snaps. His severe lack of functional athleticism should make him a ‘special teams only’ player in the NFL. He really cost the Steelers on defense in the playoffs.