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Insider Only Week 2: Steelers – Chiefs What We Learned

Steelers – Chiefs: What We Learned

The Pittsburgh Steelers got a quick introduction Sunday afternoon that this wasn’t Tyrod Taylor and the dink and dunk Cleveland Browns offense they were up against like in week 1.

Led by a rising star in Pat Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs were a machine on offense from the get-go and the Steelers defense was as hapless as it can get.

Starting with coaching, the Steelers didn’t have a chance in a 42-37 loss to the Chiefs. They were unprepared for defending the Chiefs elite passing attacking and surprise, surprise, admitted communication issues put the Steelers in a 21-0 hole.

The Steelers offense willed this group back in the game with a 37 point performance, highlighted by a vintage Ben Roethlisberger outing, 452 yards and 4 touchdowns, but let’s not absolve that group from blame either.

Similar to the Jacksonville playoff loss, it played a part in putting the Steelers in a hole.

Pittsburgh went 3 plays, minus-2 yards on their opening drive, 3 plays, minus-3 yards on their second drive and then a missed field goal on their third drive of the game while the Chiefs scored 21 points on just 13 offensive plays to open the game.

And let’s not forget, the Chiefs had a touchdown nullified with 54 seconds left in the first quarter off a sack on Roethlisberger.

A lucky break was involved in the Steelers even making a game of this.

Pittsburgh’s debacle was squarely on the defense but at home on a gorgeous day, the offense has to set the tone much earlier than they did.

As for the defense, where to even start.

Pittsburgh has put a lot of capital into this defense. Draft pick after draft pick + they’ve dished out some money to free agents to no longer be getting exposed like this.

Joe Haden was missed but this was beyond missing their best cornerback.

This was a group of players who just don’t know what they’re doing.

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Communication issue after communication issue, the Steelers have embraced this mantra of loading up on cornerbacks/safeties to attack offenses with a number of different personnel groupings, but if the players as a whole are not in sync on who’s coveting who, you’re already losing.

The coaches surely failed this group too on Sunday. It wasn’t just once or twice the Chiefs got a favorable matchup with Travis Kelce matched up 1-on-1 with T.J. Watt or Jon Bostic.

Just in-excusable from the Steelers end to be put in that position to the extent they were.

If you have no hope of stopping the pass as the Steelers didn’t, you better be able to get some stops against the run.

Pittsburgh couldn’t, as the Chiefs averaged 5.1 yards per carry and Pittsburgh couldn’t get a stop late.

— Bud Dupree showed his true self with an awful performance against a real opponent, while Artie Burns was shredded on the outside.

Just another day at the office, right?

We’re entering a situation where the Steelers draft philosophy is going to start coming into focus much more. They targeted these raw players from college high in the draft and despite the physical skills, they’re not very good nor smart players, Dupree and Burns among the notables.

In the short-term, If the Steelers have 2-3 players often confused on who picks up who, the coaches need to scale back the multiple personnel groupings.

It’s not full panic mode yet but you have the Le’Veon Bell drama with the holdout, Antonio Brown already pouting as others are getting their #’s, the defense not being improved one bit from the Jacksonville debacle, Monday night will be fascinating on how this group responds.

When the schedule came out, week 1 against Cleveland and week 3 against Tampa Bay without Jamis Winston’s were certainly W’s to put by the Steelers side.

Pittsburgh coming out of next Monday night 0-2-1 would be trouble with an improved division.

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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at