Warm-ups for the game revealed a Pittsburgh Steelers team that was a bit more subdued than usual. There wasn't as much of the rah-rah that one might normally see, but a focused group going about their business.
Chris Kemoeatu got his first start. I watched him before the kickoffs on the sideline and he was pacing nervously about. He would walk a few steps, and then jump up and down in an explosion of energy. And when you're 340 some pounds, that's a lot of stuff moving up and down.
So, I'm watching and wondering how he's going to handle the first play from scrimmage, because after the first hit, usually everything falls into place. At the snap, he grabbed 315 pounds of Chiefs DT Ron Edwards, walked him back four or five yards and threw him into the dirt. Good start.
At 36 years of age, Chad Brown may not be the LB'er he once was, but he's still got some hop in his pass rush. Just ask KC LT Jordan Black. On the second third- down sub-package of the first KC series, he helicoptored (spin move) Black into oblivion. Next time up, he used a head shake and inside swim to pick LG Brian Waters' hip on a twist that left Black in the red, with Brett Keisel cruising around the corner. Black was on skates for the rest of the game, and Brown got a sack in the fourth quarter.
After Ben's first TD pass, the Heinz Field music got going and in Mudville (bench area), the Hee-Haw gang swung into action. Keisel, Aaron Smith, Mike Logan, Clark Haggans, and other defensive players started with the Texas two-step dance celebration they do after a touchdown and prior to the subsequent kick-off. That was good to see; haven't seen that celebration for awhile.
The second quarter rolled in and I got a "Kreider rash" sighting. That's a particularly nasty Black n Gold colored rash that appears on the chest of a slobber-knockered opponent in the shape of a 35. The victim? Big old Chiefs DT Stephen Williams. All 306 pounds of him got a fine look at the sky above Heinz Field.
I know I rave about the "Diesel's" athleticism, but did anybody see the screen pass to Larry Johnson in the second quarter? Brett rushed up the field, nearly batted the ball down when he jumped, turned and sprinted at an angle to the sideline to forcibly knock LJ out of bounds. Now, brother, that is closing speed from a big man. By the way, it was a three-yard loss for the Chiefs.
With a minute and change left in the first half, I still haven't seen Casey Hampton take a step backwards.
The Chiefs were very late taking the field after halftime. As the second half kickoff was airborne, several were still running out of the tunnel. Either the halftime tongue lashing Herm Edwards laid on them went long, or they didn't want to play the second half. At 31-0, who could blame them?
If you've ever wondered why Aaron Smith is so good, in large part it's because he pays attention to detail and works on the small stuff. In the second half I spotted him on the sideline working on his first step from a 3 technique (lining up on the outside eye of a guard) stance. The score was 38-7 at that point.
Troy Polamalu's INT and run only to be brought down by a "hair-riffic" tackle by KC's RB Larry Johnson was rather funny. When Troy pulled his helmet off on the sideline bench, I was standing behind him and I didn't see one split end. Even this dude's hair is tough.
See what happens when you lose an official during the game with a hammy? Najeh Davenport's terrific extra effort TD run had to be red-flagged and reviewed to get it right. If they had the normal seven officials, they would have gotten it right from the get-go.
Yep, couple minutes into the fourth quarter and Casey Hampton just took a backwards step. I guess he had to get into position to park that massive rump on the bench.
Bryant McFadden in the fourth quarter demonstrated what Bill Cowher is always talking about when he says he doesn't want the guys to lose their aggressiveness, even when plays don't go their way. Two interference penalties, and KC rightly so goes after Bryant on a jump ball to Gardner in the corner of the end zone. Bryant stays aggressive and goes after the ball while smothering Gardner. A less confident player might have backed off, but not Bryant. The interception was his reward.