*Before most of us even had time to sit down and make it through the first beer of the afternoon, the special teams unit put the Pittsburgh Steelers in a quick seven point hole by allowing their fourth kickoff return of the year. Mike Tomlin showed earlier in the week that he was trying to do more than just pay lip service to the season long problem. However, the addition of Donovan Woods in place of Arnold Harrison proved not to be the answer, at least not right away. Jamaal Charles took the opening kickoff to the house for a quick 7-0 lead for the home Chiefs. What's next personnel wise, if anything? The Steelers did plenty else wrong to keep the Chiefs in the game before they capitalized in overtime and took down the defending champs, but once again, without that special teams blunder, the Steelers probably don't even find themselves in a close game late in the game. I wonder what Mike Tomlin plans to do to fix this unit that has consistently let inferior opponents hang around.
*Sticking with the special teams theme - Stephan Logan had another solid day returning the ball on kicks (28.8 yards) and punts (10.7) but I wonder if he did enough to save a roster spot. Changes are surely on the horizon and if Logan is cut, I have no doubt that he will be on another NFL roster before he clears waivers.
*Ben Roethlisberger threw for just under 400 yards and three touchdowns but his two interceptions really allowed the Chiefs to stay in the game. The first interception was a fluke bounce of Heath Miller's hands on the Steelers first drive of the 2nd half. Ben was really not at fault whatsoever for that one. The second interception though was classic Ben - pump faking and holding on to the ball for a few extra seconds while trying to extend the play. Sometimes his improvisation results in a positive play, but every once in a while he costs the Steelers big time by forcing things unnecessarily. That was the case today when Roethlisberger threw an interception inside the Chiefs red zone late in the 3rd quarter with the score at 17-14 in Pittsburgh's favor. What's so frustrating is Ben had looked outstanding up until that point in the game, and even more so on that drive in particular. Ben needs to be more conscious of his surroundings and realize that he can't take those chances in the red-zone.
*I was a big supporter of Willie Parker this off-season and even early on this season, but frankly I see no reason for him to be splitting carries with Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall catches better out of the backfield and Parker is becoming a liability in pass protection, especially in comparison to Mendenhall who looks like he could fill in for Max Starks if needed.
*Speaking of missed assignments in pass protection - Mewelde Moore got lit up by Derrick Johnson on the Steelers first play of their last drive of regulation. The score was tied at 24 and the Steelers had 1:47 left to work with. Rather than meeting Johnson a step or two away from Big Ben, Moore let Johnson run him over for the costly sack. Again, plenty of blame to go around in this one.
*Mendenhall's hustle on Ben's second interception was a big key to why the Steelers were even able to take the Chiefs into overtime. Some slow guy named Studebaker had chugged all the way down to the Steelers 8 yard line after intercepting the pass near the opposite goal line. Mendenhall eventually chased him down. Ever since Mike Tomlin benched Mendenhall earlier this season he has done everything you would expect of a first round draft pick. His running in the overtime period was incredibly inspired and it's actually quite sad it went to waste in a loss.
*Lamar Woodley had his first big game of the season and was an impact player all day long. He had two sacks on the day, giving him 5 on the season. Woodley's draft mate, Lawrence Timmons also made plays all game long. His strip sack of Matt Cassell late in the 3rd quarter gave Pittsburgh a short field to work with. They'd capitalize and regain the lead 24-17 shortly thereafter.
*With the game on the line today the Chiefs followed the blueprint the Bengals laid out last week by bringing a full on blitz on Big Ben. Despite not getting Ben to the ground until the 4th quarter, the offensive line eventually gave in and was unable to keep blitzers out of Roethlisberger's face with the game on the line. That's consecutive weeks now that Ben has looked lost in crunch time and failed to lead his team to victory with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. Am I the only one who doesn't feel confident in this particular team's chances with the game on the line?
*That's plenty from me for now. I'm sure Blitz will have some thoughts as well soon enough. - dyms -