In terms of style points, the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 12 road test in Kansas City was a total disaster. The Steelers did however improve to 8-3 with the 13-9 win over the Chiefs, and one thing we should all know by now is how hard it is for teams to play clean, consistent football week in and week out. We'll dig in with the frustrating, sloppy win in greater detail, but a few quick points to get the conversation going.
- After setting an NFL record for fewest turnovers through the first half of the season, the Steelers are inching back towards respectability. Pittsburgh forced four turnovers of Tyler Palko -- three interceptions and one fumble recovery -- including the game-clinching pick by Keenan Lewis.
- That had to be the worst clock management I've ever seen by Todd Haley in that final drive that began with just over 4:00 and the Chiefs holding all three of their timeouts. More on this later, but it was a travesty that they felt even the slightest bit rushed in that situation, and it happened because they didn't run out of bounds when they could, and because Haley didn't use his timeouts until waaaay too late.
- Speaking of questionable decisions, Mike Tomlin and Bruce Arians have had better days at the office.
- Solid work by the Steelers rush defense holding the Chiefs to a mere 90 yards despite rushing the ball a whopping 34 times.
- Pittsburgh's two turnovers came at just the wrong time. Not that there is a 'right' time for coughing the ball up... The first came on Mewelde Moore's fumble inside the red zone at the Chiefs 2 yard line with the Chiefs leading 3-0 in the first quarter. The second came on the Steelers opening possession of the second half, leading 13-6, and on the move inside Chiefs territory. Going up two scores on the Chiefs would have made them more one-dimensional than they were ever forced to be all evening until the game's final two minutes.
- No word on Troy Polamalu's injury situation, but No. 43 left the game in the first quarter with what appeared to be a head injury, and did not return for the remainder of the game. Polamalu has a history with concussions, so this is not good, though thankfully he appeared to not be excessively shaken up or dazed on the sideline.
- Somehow Ben Roethlisberger was sacked only once on the night. A pretty darn good performance from Big Ben escaping pressure and with his decision making outside of his one awful interception in the second half. He certainly didn't get much help from his receivers tonight -- Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown had drops.
- That 49-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham at the end of the first half proved to be quite important. Good stuff there from the much-maligned kicker, and hopefully Tomlin knows now that he can rely on his kicker from that distance without hesitating.