Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill
Game 9 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Monday, November 23, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Game ball goes to: QB Ben Roethlisberger
Even though his two interceptions led to 10 points, Ben Roethlisberger passed for 398 yards, his second highest total of the season, and made several amazing plays to escape pressure and duck tackles on touchdown throws to Heath Miller and Hines Ward. It even looked as though he was going to lead the Steelers to another comeback victory until he was accidentally kneed in the head by Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson on the fourth play of overtime and had to be replaced by backup Charlie Batch.
A quick look at the top performances from yesterday's game:
1. Miller's one mistake: On a day when he caught seven passes for 95 yards and a 10-yard TD, Heath Miller's game-changing moment was probably the catch he didn't make against the Chiefs. Leading 17-7, Miller let a pass skip off his hands that was intercepted by LB Andy Studebaker and led to a Chiefs TD and kept them hanging around. "It's on my shoulders," Miller said of the loss. "I didn't make the play. I felt like it was a battle from then on."
2. Timmons' strip sack: The biggest of the five sacks against Matt Cassel appeared to be when Lawrence Timmons forced a fumble that James Harrison recovered at the Kansas City 27. The Steelers needed just five plays to make it 24-17 with 8:35 left.
3. Super Bowl flashback: Chiefs LB Andy Studebaker looked like James Harrison in the Super Bowl when he returned an interception 94 yards to the Steelers' 8. But Rashard Mendenhall saved a touchdown when he ran him down to make the tackle.
4. Another scoring return: For the fourth time in five games, the Steelers allowed a kick return for a touchdown when Jamaal Charles went 97 yards with the opening kick. That set a team record and tied an NFL mark for most allowed in a season.
5. Lance's Long play: Chiefs WR Lance Long had only two catches for 37 yards, but it was his 30-yarder on third-and-9 that kept alive the tying 91-yard scoring drive. "He found one of the few soft spots in our defense," said CB Deshea Townsend.
Inside the numbers: 8
That's the number of games in a row in which the Steelers have allowed a scoring return for a touchdown. Their four kick returns for touchdowns account for more scoring returns than 27 of the league's 32 teams
What was he thinking?
If the Steelers appeared confused or looked out of position on Chris Chambers' 61-yard catch-and-run that set up the winning field goal, they were. At least three members of the secondary said they didn't hear the defensive call when the Chiefs went without a huddle. Still, safety Ryan Clark had a chance to tackle Chambers near the Steelers' 35 and failed to do so. "I got to make that tackle," Clark said. "That is a tackle I make every game. I had an opportunity to make the tackle and I didn't. That's what I get paid for."
"I take responsibility for that performance. I have to have this football team better prepared to play. We're capable of much more than that. That is not us. That won't be us. But it was today."
-- Coach Mike Tomlin
X's and O's
The No. 1 mantra of Dick LeBeau's defense is to prevent the big play, something the Steelers do as well, if not better, than any team in the league. But, in the final 16 minutes, they allowed completions of 30 and 47 yards on back-to-back plays on the tying 91-yard touchdown drive, then a 61-yarder in overtime to set up the winning field goal. "That's something we strive for and today we were unsuccessful," said safety Tyrone Carter, starting for injured Troy Polamalu. "We gave up some big plays."
at BALTIMORE RAVENS, 8:30 P.M. SUNDAY: The Ravens are coming off a 17-15 defeat to Indianapolis, their fifth loss in seven games. The Steelers have won the past three meetings, but are 1-5 in past six games in Baltimore.
Gerry Dulac can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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