Steelers realize they can't take K.C. lightly
Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was benched because of his decision-making, his turnovers and the belief that a going-nowhere team needed to change its leader.
No wonder he worries the Steelers.
With the buildup for the two upcoming AFC North showdowns against the Ravens already starting, the Steelers (5-3) first must get past the Chiefs (1-7) on Monday night if they are to extend their three-game winning streak.
“Their record may not show how good they are, but there's no question this is the National Football League, and you've got to bring your ‘A' game every game,” wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “We can't take anyone lightly. We've got to come out and play some ball.”
The 2009 season suggests there is reason for concern.
The reigning Super Bowl champions, the Steelers saw their season fall apart when they lost to the Cassel-led Chiefs (2-7), Raiders (3-8) and Browns (1-11) during a five-game losing streak. Maybe this team learned its lesson after being upset by the Raiders and Titans.
“If you're looking for the playoffs right now, you're fooling yourself,” left guard Willie Colon said. “We've got a lot of dog fights ahead of us, and we've got to stay right-minded.”
There's also this stat to ponder: Since 1970, there have been 19 night games in Week 10 or later involving a one-win team, including the Jaguars' loss to the Colts on Thursday. Six of those poor-record teams won.
“Good teams continue to win regardless of where they're playing, who they're playing,” defensive end Brett Keisel said.
The Steelers were a good team while beating the Bengals, Redskins and Giants. Ben Roethlisberger is protecting the ball, hitting his throws and keeping drives going by converting on third down (a league-best 51.3 percent). And the running game had a 100-yard back in all three games.
A defense that is No. 1 statistically but hasn't always played like it is tightening up in the second half, when games were getting away early in the season. The Steelers have given up only three points in the fourth quarter the last three weeks.
There hasn't been much good this season for Kansas City, which went back to Cassel when Brady Quinn developed another concussion. The Chiefs easily lead the NFL with 29 turnovers, 10 more than any other team.
All of these turnovers have constantly left them with poor field position, one reason they still haven't led in regulation all season. Constantly playing from behind also has limited their top threat, running back Jamaal Charles, to only 27 carries the last three games.
Defensively, they're allowing 126 yards rushing per game, so coach Romeo Crennel canned himself as defensive coordinator last week and gave the job to Gary Gibbs.
For the Chiefs, it was yet another turnover in a tumultuous season.
“But their record was bad when we played them last year, and they still came out and it was a close game,” outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said, referring to a 13-9 win. “The time before that, they actually won the game. We've got to go out and prepare for this team like they were an 8-0 team.”
The Steelers haven't lost in 14 Monday night home games since Chuck Noll's last season in 1991. This will be their first one at Heinz Field since 2008.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers claim former Cowboys cornerback Webb
- Veteran Keisel settles into role with Steelers
- Tomlin: ‘Everything on table’ for Bell, Blount punishment
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell faces former team, hurts leg
- For Steelers outside linebacker Jones, size is not an obstacle
- Steelers have plenty of new faces at wide receiver
- Steelers notes: Consistency sought at nose tackle
- Steelers notebook: Personal issue puts punter Podlesh on reserved/did not report list
- Steelers QB dismisses preseason woes, looks to opener vs. Browns
- Steelers cornerbacks Allen, Gay, Taylor have something to prove
- Steelers notebook: Team cuts 15 players, including LB So’oto, RB Hall