One of Antonio Brown’s idols is the great Muhammad Ali. The former heavyweight champ always seemed to pull off something special when it looked like the worst. Brown followed in Ali’s footsteps by saving the Steelers with a one-handed grab on a ball that should have been intercepted. Instead, Brown corralled the ball, avoided a tackler and then scampered down the sideline 52 yards for what proved to be the winning score in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 19-13 win over previously unbeaten Kansas City.
Le’Veon Bell would power the running game on 32 carries for 179 yards and a score while Brown would total eight receptions for 155 yards and a TD. Ben Roethlisberger was efficient throwing for a touchdown and an interception on a ball that Brown appeared to stop on leaving it right into the hands of Marcus Peters. Overall Big Ben was 17 of 25 for 252 yards.
While Bell and Brown carried the offense, the defense completely dominated for three quarters. Because of another red zone failure by the offense however, the defense was forced to make plays at the end. None was bigger than the sack on third down by James Harrison. After not getting a helmet in the previous two games, Harrison forced the Chiefs into a 4th and 18 which fell incomplete.
Let’s not sugarcoat things; the Steelers’ win in Kansas City is huge especially after last week’s brutal loss at home. But the red zone issues that looked resolved earlier in the game reared their ugly head later. This is an ongoing issue with what appears to be no end in sight. There was also another horrendous special teams’ gaffe when JuJu Smith-Schuster and Brown miscommunicated on a free kick following a safety. The defense bailed them out however holding the Chiefs to a field goal.
The Steelers picked up a huge bonus earlier in the day when Chicago went into Baltimore and knocked off the Ravens. That gives the Steelers a game and a half lead now in the North.
The overall gameplan today was solid on both sides of the ball. Todd Haley went in with the mindset of running the football and using some play-action off of that. Outside of a brutal red zone series, it was a good day for Haley. Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler’ charges were super for most of the game. They frequently got pressure with three and four rushers and limited rookie sensation Kareem Hunt to just 21 yards on nine carries although he would collect 89 yards on five receptions.
The good news for all of us is that the Steelers took what happened in front of the home folks last Sunday personally. There was an aura around the Steelers today that you could feel and see and I hope it’s something that continues. This was a monstrous win in front of a crazy crowd and that’s something to build on. Make no mistake though, there is still much work to be done.
Photo courtesy: post-gazette