Prisuta's Further Review vs. Chiefs

The stat sheet credited linebacker James Harrison with seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits. But the stat sheet seemingly didn't do justice to Harrison's impact on Steelers 20, Chiefs 12.

"He played like a Hall-of-Famer out there," linebacker Lawrence Timmons insisted. "He made a lot of plays on the run, got a sack on the quarterback, he's out there covering receivers, the guy can do it all, and he's 36.

"He was out there having fun, playing like it was 10 years ago."

Harrison wouldn't go quite that far, but he assessed his performance against the Chiefs as his best in 2014.

"I felt like I was playing better than I had the rest of this year," he said.

But was Harrison really 10-years-ago good, as Timmons suggested?

"Good enough to win," Harrison said.

In a game that clinched the Steelers' first trip to the playoffs since 2011, that was more than good enough.


BACK-vs.-BACK**: Job 1 on defense against the Chiefs was what it always is, stopping the run. But against Kansas City that meant stopping running back Jamaal Charles.

"Coach (Mike) Tomlin told us at the beginning of (last) week (the game would come down to) who's going to have the bigger game, No. 25 (Charles) or No. 26 (Le'Veon Bell)," defensive end Can Heyward said. "I think Bell took that personally, but I think our defense did, too.

"I thought our defense answered the calling and Bell did, too."

Bell finished with 63 yards rushing, averaged 3.2 yards per carry, had one rushing touchdown and caught one pass for 9 yards. Charles had 29 yards rushing, averaged 3.2 yards per carry, and caught five passes for 48 yards.

But Charles also was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 from the Pittsburgh 12-yard line with 27 seconds left in the second quarter, and he lost a fumble at the Pittsburgh 25-yard line late in the third quarter.

The individual battle was inconsequential to Bell.

"I didn't really look at it as me battling Jamaal Charles," Bell said. "I'm just glad our defense did a good job of slowing him down, not let him make any game-changing plays, keep him out of the end zone, things like that.

"I was glad to produce for my offense, and we got the win. That's all that matters to me."


THEN AND NOW**: The victory over Kansas City and the accompanying spot in the playoffs it secured provided tangible evidence of how the Steelers have improved throughout the season.

Linebacker Jason Worilds spoke for the defense along those lines: "We've been doing exactly what we said we were going to do since whenever people were saying that we weren't good, which was that we were going to get better every week. We're starting to see the fruits of that labor. We've just grown cohesively as a unit. Everybody understands what everybody's role is, and once you understand what your role is you can go out there and execute."

Tight end Heath Miller spoke to the growth of the team: "I knew we had the potential. Obviously, we had shown in spurts what we were capable of. I've always felt we were a good team; we just had to find ways to put it together and be consistent. We're more consistent, offense, defense, special teams, and I think we can even be better."

 "It's the best feeling in the world. Coming into the season, your goal ultimately is the playoffs. The fact that we're in means everything in the world to me. I'm ready to go out there, get ready for the Cincinnati Bengals next week. That's the main goal, win the division, get a home game (in the playoffs) and take it from there." – Bell.

"I feel like anything is possible just as long as we believe and believe in each other." – Timmons.

"It guarantees our spot, but now we have to worry about Cincinnati. These wins don't come lightly. I just want to keep improving. I know this job's not done. I know what this team is capable of, and we've got the goods." – Heyward.

"It's huge. Every team wants to be playing late-December, early-January football. It's huge but we also understand we have another game in our sights." – Worilds.

"The big thing is we've evolved throughout. We were young at the early stages of the year. Same guys but they've matured through the process. That maturation process is sometimes not easy. We're doing what teams need to do at this time of year, which is ratchet it up and being a more difficult team to beat. Part of winning is just being a difficult team to beat. We're beating ourselves less, which is good." – Tomlin.

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