The Pittsburgh Steelers ended two years of frustration with a 20-12 win over Kansas City today which propelled them into the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. While seeding is yet to be determined, for one day we can look on this version of the black n’ gold with some pride.
Today was as fascinating as any game this season when you look at the contributions on the stat sheet. If it wasn’t a wily veteran making a play, it was a rookie or relatively young player making another.
There was rookie Stephon Tuitt who had three tackles, a sack and forced fumble.
There was James Harrison who looked like he was shot out of a cannon at times. Deebo would collect seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack and half on the afternoon.
There was Antwon Blake who has never been thought of as anything other than special teamer and fill-in defensive back. He recorded seven tackles, six of which were solo and also had a pass defended.
There was Cameron Heyward who has emerged as a great player in the locker room and on the field. Heyward harassed Alex Smith all day picking up a sack and a half and four tackles not to mention numerous hurries and hits on Smith.
There was Jason Worilds who we’ve heard little of this season until his textbook hit, errrr, penalty last week in Atlanta. He was credited with two sacks on the day.
There was old man Will Allen, starting for Troy Polamalu, who was in on seven tackles and was involved with that key fourth down stop near the end of the first half with Lawrence Timmons.
The offense got in on the act as well.
Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant combined for three catches and 71 yards and Bryant also picked up nine yards on two carries.
The old man of the receiving crew Heath Miller was again a pain the defense’s side with seven receptions for 68 rumbling, bumbling, plodding yards.
Le’Veon Bell was quite pedestrian today with just 63 yards on 20 carries but the threat of him as a receiver opened things up for Miller and company.
And then there was the senior citizen of the offense…. Old number seven didn’t post astronomical numbers but he took care of the football and made plays we’re accustomed to seeing through the years.
Ben Roethlisberger was 18 of 25 for just for 22o yards and a touchdown and had a rating of 112. That’s “only” the 10th time he’s had a passer rating above 100 this year.
Roethlisberger’s young offensive line had some troubling moments today but they held strong and limited the Chiefs’ vaunted pass rush to just one sack.
There is no doubt this team is far from perfect but for one day we can celebrate a playoff berth. We can also celebrate the mixture of young and old players who seem to be getting better and better together as the season rolls on.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on game day on the Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game photo courtesy sports.yahoo.com