It just ended without that sense of balance for the first teamers.
The Steelers got the ball after forcing a Chiefs punt on the first possession. After running back Jonathan Dwyer went nowhere on his first carry, the Steelers had wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (right) and Antonio Brown (left) split wide, both of them running fly patterns.
The free safety trailed Sanders, and Brown flat-out burned Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith down the left sideline. The result was a 49-yard completion, and Roethlisberger looked like he was throwing that way the whole time.
He looked comfortable. The playcall was a good one, considering the situation - a double-tight end formation on second-and-long. The Steelers sprung on the Chiefs' defense right away; aggressive and confident.
In all the effort the Steelers have taken this offseason to establish themselves as a physical running team, it's a wonder if that message wasn't delivered for the sake of using it to set up these kinds of plays. Roethlisberger doesn't appear to have the option to check into long routes - and protection continues to be an issue - but Brown and Sanders are faster and more elusive than their opponents seem to think in many games. Rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton is a dangerous inside receiver but he's been making plays outside the numbers this preseason, and seems to improve with each game.
What does any of this mean for the Steelers' regular season opener against the Titans?
We don't really know, and that's exactly what the Steelers want to establish. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley - sometimes to a fault - wants to have that element of surprise at all times.
The passing game's impressive performance wasn't as much a surprise to those who have watched it, but the Chiefs' secondary looked a bit miffed.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Chiefs vs. Steelers Postgame Recap: news, updates and more following Steelers 26-20 loss to Chiefs
- Jarvis Jones released from hospital, tests were 'inconclusive'
- 53-man roster projection
- Roster cuts due at 4 p.m. Tuesday
- 5 things we learned in loss to the Chiefs
- Beachum may continue in spot tight end role
- Roethlisberger named Steelers Digest Player of the Game
- Passing game keeps Chiefs off balance
- Steelers let go of former special teams coach Al Everest last year for better performances
- Jarvis Jones Injury: Steelers linebacker suffered chest injury in loss to Chiefs
- Winners and Losers from Steelers loss to Chiefs in Preseason Week 3
- Chiefs vs. Steelers Final Score: Penalties haunt Pittsburgh in 26-20 overtime loss