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Gerry Dulac grades Steelers 27-24 loss to the Chiefs
Monday, November 23, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 398 yards and three touchdowns, but his two second-half interceptions led to 10 points, even though the first wasn't his fault. His ability to escape pressure in the first half led to two touchdown passes, none better than when he ducked under DT Ron Edwards on a 10-yard TD to Heath Miller. B

Running Backs
Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 41 of his 80 yards in the second half, but to average less than 4 yards per carry against the 27th-ranked rush defense isn't good enough. However, he also caught four passes, including an 8-yard touchdown, and made what looked like would be a game-saving tackle on a 96-yard interception return. C

Wide receiver
WR Hines Ward had 10 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown and TE Heath Miller had seven catches for 95 yards and a TD. He also had a 41-yarder on the 95-yard TD drive. However, the game began to turn when Miller let a pass skip off his hands that was intercepted and led to the Chiefs' first offensive TD at the start of the third quarter. B

Offensive line
Three holding penalties, a false start and three sacks against a team that had only 12 sacks all season. And 114 rushing yards on 31 attempts is the fewest total against the Chiefs since Week 3. Roethlisberger was not sacked in the first half and usually had plenty of time to throw. But he also had several unlikely escapes. D

Defensive line
Jamaal Charles had only 58 yards on 17 carries, the 28th regular-season game in a row the Steelers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher, but 33 of his yards came in the second half. He also had a big 10-yarder, his longest of the game, on their first play of overtime. Still, the line did its job, and NT Casey Hampton even had one of the five sacks against QB Matt Cassel. B-

After giving up a 19-yard swing pass on the first play, the defense held the Chiefs to 28 yards the rest of the half. That, though, all changed in the second half when the Chiefs had 235 yards. LaMarr Woodley had two sacks, but he let TE Leonard Pope get behind him for a touchdown. Lawrence Timmons' sack/fumble led to the final TD. C+

Defensive backs
Too many gaffes, too many big plays and one big missed tackle. Ryan Clark got beat for a 47-yard pass, dropped an interception and missed the tackle on the 61-yard catch-and-run by Chris Chambers that set up the winning FG. That was set up when CB Ike Taylor dropped an interception on the previous play. F

Special teams
There are no words to describe the ineptitude of the kickoff coverage unit, which allowed its fourth touchdown return in the past five games. A holding penalty by newcomer Donovan Woods wiped out a 26-yard punt return by Stefan Logan, who also had a 17-yard return to the Chiefs' 46 to set up a TD. Logan missed not one, but two tackle attempts on the touchdown return. F

Mike Tomlin took the blame for the loss, saying the team was unprepared, undisciplined and allowed another kick return for a touchdown. What's more, the defense allowed pass plays of 30, 47 and 61 yards in the final 16 minutes. And there was confusion on the last pass because the secondary members never got the defensive call. F

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