Steelers fall to 0-3 after OT loss


Steelers' record: 0-3
One year ago: 2-1
Preseason series record: Chiefs lead, 2-1

It's not so much that the Steelers enter this game winless so far in the preseason but that they have played poorly in too many areas. "The bottom line is we need to take a significant step against the Kansas City Chiefs," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We're running out of time in terms of preparation for the regular season, and some of the sloppiness that has dogged us through the first two preseason games – being highly penalized, turning the ball over – has to disappear and disappear quickly."

Teams that score special teams touchdowns usually win, or maybe more accurately, teams that allow special teams usually lose. Fourteen seconds after a 34-yard touchdown pass from Bruce Gradkowski to Markus Wheaton had given the Steelers a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter, Knile Davis had returned the ensuing kickoff 109 yards for the score that re-tied the game, 17-17.

With nine penalties for 98 yards in the game against the Chiefs, the Steelers now have been penalized 24 times for 243 yards in their three preseason games. That's a per-game average of eight penalties for 81 yards.

* Ben Roethlisberger did what he does so well on a 49-yard completion to Antonio Brown that moved the ball to the Kansas City 29-yard line on the Steelers' first offensive series. Roethlisberger stood tall in the pocket and delivered the ball deep down the field while knowing he was going to take a big hit from Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali.

  • It rarely happens that a team will go for it on fourth-and-short from its own 21-yard line, and it never happens that an Andy Reid team would actually run the football in that situation. But this being a preseason game, both of those things actually took place. With Troy Polamalu shooting a gap, and with Jarvis Jones and Ziggy Hood stout at the point of attack, Jamaal Charles was stopped short and the Steelers took over on downs.
  • In another example of Ben being Ben, Roethlisberger was buying time and weaving around to avoid the rush when he found Jonathan Dwyer sneaking out of the backfield for a 13-yard touchdown, the first for the Steelers No. 1 offense this preseason.
  • Pretty nice play by Cortez Allen on a third-and-10 from the Steelers 38-yard line midway through the second quarter. Lined up in man-to-man coverage on WR Donnie Avery, Allen was in close trail coverage all the way across the field and made a quick tackle after the catch to limit it to a short gain and force the Chiefs to punt.
  • The Steelers No. 1 defense played the first series of the second half and came out of it with a takeaway. Brett Keisel forced a fumble by Kansas City RB Knile Davis, and Troy Polamalu recovered at the Pittsburgh 36-yard line. That gave the Steelers seven takeaways in their three preseason games.
  • It was a third-and-1 at the Chiefs 34-yard line and the play clock was winding down to zero. Off play-action, Bruce Gradkowski threw a perfect pass to Markus Wheaton, who was behind two Chiefs defenders, for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 17-10 lead.

* An apparent Steelers fumble recovery on the opening kickoff by Chris Carter was overturned on review. After originally awarding the Steelers the ball, referee Jeff Triplette determined that Chiefs returner Devon Wylie had been touched by Curtis Brown and therefore was down before the ball came out.

  • The Steelers entered the game as a highly penalized group, but it seemed as though they got a bad break on a chop-block penalty called on Jonathan Dwyer. Dwyer did indeed cut the man he was blocking, but it didn't appear as though the Chiefs defensive player was engaged by another Steelers player at the time, which is the definition of a chop-block. The call nullified a 25-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders.
  • What could have been a 34-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders turned into an incomplete pass when he was unable to maintain possession of the ball throughout the catch. It was a beautiful pass from Ben Roethlisberger though.
  • The Chiefs scored the tying touchdown with 18 seconds left in the first half on a 5-yard pass from Alex Smith to WR Junior Hemmingway, and there were several Steelers who can be held culpable. First, 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 Brian Moorman followed that with a 31-yard punt. Then Troy Polamalu was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a hit to Smith that combined with a 12-yard completion to Dewayne Bowe to put the ball at the Steelers 20-yard line with one minute remaining. The touchdown pass came with 18 seconds left in the half.
  • It was another third-down conversion nullified by a penalty on the offensive line. A pass from Bruce Gradkowski to Justin Brown converted a third-and-5, but the play was nullified by an illegal hands to the face penalty on Kelvin Beachum. Gradkowski then converted the third-and-15 with a 25-yard pass to TE Michael Palmer.
  • Fourteen seconds after the Steelers took that 17-10 lead on the pass to Markus Wheaton, the score was tied again thanks to Knile Davis' 109-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The guy with the best shot at Davis was Josh Victorian, but he couldn't bring him down.
  • In overtime, the Steelers defense had several opportunities to get off the field but failed. The Chiefs converted a third-and-5 when QB Chase Daniel escaped contain and ran 10 yards for the first down. On a third-and-16, the Steelers failed to account for Daniel, who this time ran up the middle for 18 yards and a first down at the Pittsburgh 29-yard line. On a fourth-and-1 from the Steelers 20-yard line, RB Shaun Draughn went over the left side for 3 yards. And finally on a third-and-8 from the 15-yard line, Daniel passed to WR Rico Richardson for the game-winning touchdown.

After the game, Jarvis Jones was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital for further evaluation of the chest injury that he sustained in the second half of the game. Jones was injured after making an interception that was nullified by a pass interference penalty on Josh Victorian.

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