Pittsburgh showed the Chiefs why they are the defending Super Bowl Champion, dominating in every facet of the game.
"Promising" rookie safety Jarrad Page made several mistakes in coverage and missed a tackle on Nate Washington's first-quarter touchdown reception.
But it wasn't just Page. The entire Chiefs secondary played like they had something better to do as Ben Roethlisberger connected with receiver after receiver throughout the entire first half. Pittsburgh converted several third and long situations, reminiscent of KC defenses from years past.
Derrick Johnson, Kawika Mitchell and Kendrell Bell were nowhere to be seen all game, either. At this point, the Chiefs might want to think about giving backup linebacker Keyaron Fox more playing time. Bell just isn't a factor.
Jared Allen and Tamba Hali had respectable games for the Chiefs, though neither had a sack. Allen showed off his speed in the third quarter, chasing down Najeh Davenport from behind on a 48-yard run. Hali made a few crushing hits and forced two fumbles, but KC's run defense was equally as ineffective as their pass defense. "Fast" Willie Parker and Davenport did their best Tiki Barber impressions, as Pittsburgh piled up over 200 yards rushing.
Offensively, Kansas City's gameplan was terrible. A glance at the stats might leave the average fan wondering why Larry Johnson is struggling so badly this year. After an ineffective outing against the Cardinals a week ago, Johnson was shut down in Pittsburgh. The truth is, there is really nothing Johnson can do behind his porous offensive line. Jordan Black might make a serviceable guard someday in the NFL, but right now the Chiefs need to look elsewhere at left tackle.
If the Chiefs want Larry to be Larry, they're going to have to fix the offensive line.
The only real positive for Johnson was his touchdown-saving tackle on Troy Polamalu. Damon Huard threw his first interception of the season and never really got into the flow of the game. He threw some nice passes in the second half, but the game was already well out of reach.
Rookie quarterback Brodie Croyle saw a little action in the fourth quarter and completed his first pass – unfortunately for the Chiefs, it was to Rian Wallace of the Steelers, who took it back for six points. He later completed his first pass to a Chief.
Herm Edwards has said it time and time again: in the NFL, on the road, you have to survive the first quarter. The Chiefs, for two straight weeks, have allowed two first-quarter touchdowns. That is simply unacceptable if they expect to win games on the road against good teams.
Kansas City's biggest problem is a lack of identity. If they are a running team, they need to start running the ball more effectively. If they can't run the ball, Mike Solari is going to need to improve his play-calling and throw the ball down the field. Huard has proven he can be effective, so it's time for Edwards and Solari to take off the leash and let him play.
The good news for Kansas City is at 2-3, they aren't dead. They still have a lot of football left and can easily turn this season around. But the competition isn't going to get any easier, so Herm and company are going to have to shake this one off and be better prepared when they face San Diego at Arrowhead next week. If Huard can hand this team off to Trent Green at 3-3 or 3-4, the Chiefs won't be in terrible shape.
The Chiefs Thrashed In Steeltown
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