There were all sorts of fly by night Steelers fans sitting on the “fence” of support. They were the ultimate “stradlers” moaning and groaning after Jamaal Charles took it upon himself to make the Steelers realize the fact that there aren’t any teams that are invulnerable and any team can be beat. With 8:42 left in the first quarter Charles capped a 4 play, 70 yard drive with a 12 yard touchdown run. That opening touchdown scored by the K.C. Chiefs should have served as a wakeup call for the Steelers lackluster offense, but alas it did not.
As of game time the Steelers only trailed the Houston Texans in T.O.P (time of possession) in the entire NFL but in the opening quarter Kansas City kept the ball for 9:42 compared to the Steelers 5:18 and most of the time their efforts were non productive. After an Issac Redman fumble, the Chiefs could only muster a field goal. The words of Steelers offensive tackle Willie Colon began to echo in my ears. Colon told me last week that, “We are taking these guys very seriously. Defensively and on paper they have a lot of first round guys. They are very athletic. This is one of those games that if you fall asleep you may find yourself in a hot dog fight. As far as us needing motivation their [the Chiefs] record doesn’t really show what we see watching them on tape. They can really get after guys.”
It seemed that the Steelers took a Rumpelstiltskin approach both offensively and defensively for the first twenty five minutes of the game.
The Steelers never really awakened even though they won the game 16-13. The game went into overtime and it took an interception and a 23 yard run back by Lawrence Timmons to set up the winning field goal by Shaun Suisham before the Steelers could relax and seal the win. In my last installment I warned the Black and Gold to beware of the “ides of March,” oops I meant November. The Steelers won the battle against the Chiefs but ‘Big’ Ben suffered a separated shoulder that will prevent him from playing in the next few games. It’s anyone’s guess how long he will be out, but he left the field in the third quarter seeming to not want to move his right arm and was still favoring it when he was transported out of the stadium prior to being taken to the hospital. He will miss the upcoming game against the Ravens at Heinz Field on Sunday. The injury to Roethlisberger may have his replacements saying to Terrell Suggs and the remainder of the Ravens nasty and relentless D-line; no mas, “etu brutalizers.” Baltimore is going to be genuinely foaming at the mouth just thinking about facing the immobile, sloth footed Steelers second string QB, Byron Leftwich. Although Leftwich has a cannon for an arm; his time in the forty can be calculated in minutes as opposed to seconds. The Ravens will attempt to use brute strength to rattle Leftwich in order to keep the pressure on Pittsburgh’s shaky offensive line and to keep the pressure off of Baltimore’s thin and suspect secondary. The victory against the Chiefs appears to be a shallow conquest. Is it just me or does it seem as if Roethlisberger is “snake bit” when it comes to hard fought games just prior to the Steelers playing the Ravens.
Pittsburgh cannot allow Roethlisberger’s injury to evolve into a weeks long soap opera-like saga. There can be no guessing game as to whether ‘Big’ Ben is going to play or practice or both. There is an AFC North title and a possible playoff berth on the line. They should not mess around for the sake of the media creating a guessing game and in the process nurture a Barnum & Bailey circus type atmosphere that will ultimately surround the mystery of when and where Roethlisberger might take his next snaps.
Whoever is going to start the game for the Steelers against the Ravens should get all of the first string reps in order to be adequately prepared to face one of the most ferocious defenses in the NFL. The Ravens might be without their fearless leader, soon to be Hall-of-Famer, linebacker Ray Lewis but they still have some “horses” on defense and are dangerous every Sunday, Monday, Saturday heck any day that they take the field.
There is simply no “defense” against the Steelers sitting on the fence or playing “footsie” in regards to who will take the snaps against Baltimore. If Pittsburgh wavers in any shape, form or fashion in reference to will he or won’t he start they just may be playing “musical chairs” with their playoff hopes. There can be no knight in shining armor riding in on a white horse to save the day type of “shenanigans” described as “heroics.”
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741. Bruce can also be heard on the “Odd Couple Sports Show” where he is the AFC North and NFL analyst. The show is hosted by Adam Ragle streaming live on the WCWA Fox Sports Toledo 1230AM. Bruce is featured on Tuesdays from 10-11am during the NFL season. Listen to Aubrey’s archived “Odd Couple” segments on: www.worldspeakconnnection.com click on “Fair Catch.”)