Adversity being a learned thing: As the Steelers find themselves deep in the playoff hunt, without much margin for error, Coach Mike Tomlin has talked about facing adversity being a learned thing.
Tomlin explained that it's not so much about making a play in a key time, but knowing the circumstances and having the focus, the detail, to be able to make those plays when things are tough.
"To be quite honest with you, when you're young and inexperienced you're capable of blinking when things get tough," said Tomlin. "When the road gets narrow you make mistakes, you lack detail, you lack focus, you lack communication skills and so forth.
"The more that you're in those circumstances, you learn and you're shaped by success, particularly in those experiences, and it's reasonable to expect there to be more awareness because of those experiences, more communication, more play making, more comfort, if you will."
No regrets: Earlier this season the Chiefs had to move defensive tackle Chris Jones outside to get more production from their edge rushers.
But with the additional of Melvin Ingram III, who was acquired by the Chiefs via a trade with the Steelers, Jones went back inside, and Ingram is playing on the edge.
Tomlin was asked if he weighed that when Ingram was traded to the Chiefs, knowing they would be playing them later in the season.
"We didn't weigh their circumstances," said Tomlin. "We weighed our circumstances. Not only the tangible element of our circumstances, but the intangible quality that makes up team.
"Like I mentioned when we moved him, we had an opportunity to get value for him, and so that was entertaining and interesting to us, but also, to be quite honest with you and blunt, Melvin no longer wanted to be here, and for us, we prefer volunteers as opposed to hostages. We believe that's a formula that really allows us to come together in ways that you can't measure. To do the things that we were able to do last week. To smile collectively in the face of adversity and do what's required to get out of stadiums with necessary wins.
"So that's just more of a function of us and the things that we value and less about Kansas City, the things that they needed or the prospects of playing them later in the season."
Take a look at the best black and white photos from the Week 15 game against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field
Can you hear me now: Communication issues have popped up for the Steelers a few times this season, including when playing at indoor venues like Los Angeles and Minnesota.
This week, though, playing outdoors at Kansas City could also be an issue. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the NFL's loudest venues, and it's expected to be a challenge.
"I expect it to be a problem, but a problem that we're capable of overcoming if we prepare and prepare in the right way for the environment and we minimize some of the onus on that communication, particularly line-of-scrimmage-wise," said Tomlin. "With the number of young guys that we have, we'd just better be cognizant of their first time in the environment. It won't be a first time for guys like me or Ben (Roethlisberger), but it'll be a first time for a lot of guys, and that component of it is something that we're very cognizant of and will be in preparation."