Feels Like A Loss

Dwyer, Tomlin (LeClaire photo/USPRESSWIRE)

With or without Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers must play better defense than they played Monday night in the OT win over the 1-8 Kansas City Chiefs. Mike Prisuta has other complaints as well.

Whether Ben Roethlisberger is alive or dead the Steelers' defense has to play better than it did against Kansas City.

Those 142 rushing yards the Chiefs amassed on Monday night were by far the most the Steelers have allowed this season (119 at Oakland). And amid all the talk in the locker room at Heinz Field after the Steelers' 16-13 overtime escape about the Chiefs' highly-rated running game and about how formidable it was, only one defensive player stood up and accurately assessed what had actually taken place.

"We took a step back, I believe," linebacker James Harrison said.

Yes, Jamaal Charles had rushed for 233 yards against New Orleans and 140 against Baltimore. But who doesn't run at will against New Orleans and Baltimore?

Charles came in having rushed for a combined 83 yards in the three games since his 140-yard effort against the Ravens on Oct. 7. Then he rushed for 65 in the first half against the Steelers.

How a team that's clearly as inept as Kansas City is at passing the ball is able to run it effectively against a defense that thinks of itself as highly as the Steelers' defense is absolutely staggering. That's especially the case in the wake of play-down-to-the-competition losses at Oakland and at Tennessee.

There's an obvious disconnect in the way the Steelers are going about their business from week to week that still hasn't been addressed.

Time for Mike Tomlin to attack that with the same fervor he went about trying to jack up the average per carry, cut down on the opponents' third-down conversions and eliminate the penalties on special teams.

* Harrison was asked if the Steelers had been caught looking past Kansas City and to Baltimore. His response was this: "(Long pause) … I wasn't … I don't think … I don't know; no, you're focused on this game. In the back of your head you may have been but when it comes down to it they played a good game.

"We weren't able to execute our plan as we wanted to and they were able to good job of executing theirs' so our hats off to them. At the same point in time we have to do a better job."

* The second-most revealing line of the night was from Willie Colon, who said of the Kansas City game, "I don't know if we'll even watch the tape of it."

Not sure if he was referencing the short week leading up to Ravens I on Sunday night or if he felt as if it would be a waste of time because the Steelers were so across-the-board below the line that the performance was obviously more related to preparation and approach.

I hope it was the latter.

* So is this impending Ravens game a Clash of the AFC North Titans or a meeting between two teams slappy enough that they were both lucky to have beaten Kansas City?

In today's NFL it's both.

* In terms of the officiating in the Chiefs game, consider any lingering gripes about what went on against the New York Football Giants paid back in full.

* Don't let the offense off the hook for what took place against Kansas City.

One of the reasons the Chiefs kept running is the Steelers refused to put them away early, which is something they also avoided doing in Oakland and in Nashville.

The Steelers ran all of 11 plays in what for them was a scoreless first quarter against Kansas City.

Coming in they'd had 10 scoring drives of longer than 11 plays, and four more that required 11. And that 27-yard first quarter took place before Roethlisberger got hurt.

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