When it comes to evaluating preseason games, Mike Tomlin has said, “I’ve always been one to believe you can find what you’re looking for,” and that absolutely applies to the Steelers’ 26-20 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night at Heinz Field.
In the mood for the glass-half-full version? OK, let’s go there.
The offense, particularly the passing game, looked like an NFL passing attack for the first time this preseason. Not faced with having to run for his life every time he dropped back to pass,
He connected with
The first-team defense did some nice things in the first half as well. Three of Kansas City first four possessions ended with punts, and on the other the Chiefs turned the ball over on downs when Jamaal Charles was stuffed for no gain when Coach Andy Reid decided to go for it on fourth-and-inches from his own 21-yard line.
As for the glass-half-empty version …
While better, the pass protection for Roethlisberger was hardly leak-proof. He was sacked twice and took several more hits, more than he should have been exposed to in one half of preseason football.
And again, so many of the other issues the team had been battling to this point were just as apparent as they had been.
Special teams. A blocked field goal got the Chiefs started on their first scoring drive – 51 yards on five plays to cut the Steelers’ lead to 10-3. There was a 109-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that tied the game at 17-17 just 14 seconds after the Steelers had taken a lead late in the third quarter.
Kansas City’s first touchdown came with 18 seconds left in the first half and it tied the game for the first time at 10-10, and it required something of a team effort by the Steelers to allow it to happen.
First, recently acquired RB Felix Jones ran out of bounds on a running play on a third-and-13 situation, which allowed the Chiefs to preserve their final timeout of the half. Then
Once again the Steelers were highly penalized – this time nine for 98 yards – and again there were fundamental breakdowns at critical times.
If Sanders holds onto the ball. If special teams doesn’t get a field goal blocked and allow a kickoff return for a touchdown. If the defense doesn’t lose contain on QB Chase Daniel on two third-down situations in overtime.
But since it’s only the preseason, the outcome of the game doesn’t count in the standings, and so fans are left to decide whether the glass is half full or half empty.
What kind of story are you in the mood for today?