Blind Side the Steelers' Soft Side

Analyst Tunch Ilkin suggested prior to the Kansas City game we'd find out which Steelers OT the Chiefs perceived to be the weak link ... (read more from Mike Prisuta).

... in pass protection based on where Tambi Hali lined up and how often.

Turns out that guy was left tackle Mike Adams.

Hali rushed the passer 20 times in the first half on Saturday night at Heinz Field. He went against Adams 11 times, Marcus Gilbert four times and Kelvin Beachum (at tight end), Ramon Foster and Will Johnson one time each.

Hali was held without a sack, but he managed to plaster Ben Roethlisberger after eluding Adams on what became a 49-yard deep ball to Antonio Brown.

That probably explains why we didn't see Roethlisberger throw any more deep balls. Hali also beat Adams and flushed Roethlisberger on what became a 13-yard dump-off touchdown to Jonathan Dwyer.

Overall, the protection was better against Kansas City but it's still not where it will need to be in the regular season.

It won't be that until the left tackle isn't considered to be the guy to exploit by the opponent.

* Perhaps my favorite play of the night on Saturday night was a 30-yard completion from Alex Smith to Dwayne Bowe in the second quarter.

It was that because Ziggy Hood made the tackle, and because Brett Keisel was right behind Hood, chasing the ball and the play some 30 yards from the line of scrimmage. If the Steelers' defense keeps getting after it in such a fashion they'll be fine.

* Another guy who got after it was cornerback Cortez Allen, whose physicality and form tackling repeatedly stood out.

So much for all of the concerns that Allen missing all of that tackling in practice at St. Vincent College would have a negative effect on his state of readiness.

* Emmanuel Sanders caught one pass for 24 yards against the Chiefs. But he carried the ball on a wide receiver sweep, he blocked enthusiastically and effectively for the running backs, and he even played defensive back and batted down what probably would have been an interception on an off-target throw toward the end zone.

Yes, Sanders should have finished what could have been a TD pass from Roethlisberger and would have been had Sanders not bobbled the ball upon hitting the ground and sliding out of bounds. But the point is he's playing football and appears to have a firm grasp of how that's managed in all capacities.

The wide receivers are no longer referring to themselves as "Young Money," or anything else for that matter, because Sanders said they're finished with such "jibber-jabber" after the way things worked out a season ago.

The new all-business approach agrees with No. 88.

* Stevenson Sylvester's departure seemingly creates an opening at inside linebacker. Kion Wilson played there on Saturday night after Brian Rolle.

But Wilson played on the first-team kickoff, punt-return, punt, kickoff-return and place-kicking teams.

Fullback Will Johnson also played on the first-unit punt, punt-return, kickoff and kickoff-return teams.

The only player on the first-team kickoff team that was also on the field for the 109-yard kickoff return for a touchdown the Steelers coughed up was Shaun Suisham.

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