NFL from the Sidelines

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O-R Sports reporter Dale Lolley gets you the insider scoop on the NFL.

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard on the Steelers radio network pre-game show prior to every game. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.

Post Steelers vs. Chiefs thoughts

October 15, 2017
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) runs for a touchdown in front of Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Phillip Gaines (23) and defensive back Daniel Sorensen (49) during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Steelers went into the game against Kansas City looking to get the Chiefs in their nickel package and run the ball.

It worked like a charm.

Quite frankly, it’s something opposing teams have done to the Steelers, in an opposite way.

Starting with the Browns in the opener, the Steelers have face a lot of eight-man fronts in an effort to get them to try to throw the ball more than they pass it.

It’s worked to a large degree, as Ben Roethlisberger has checked out of running plays and into passes when he sees that.

Kansas City, however, never adjusted and the Steelers kept running the ball, even on third-and-long on at least two different occasions.

“The thing about Kansas City, is that they do what they do,” said Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who had 179 yards on 32 carries.

That gives Bell 493 yards in the past three games against the Chiefs - all Pittsburgh wins.

You would think Kansas City might change it up a bit for a possible rematch. Then again, you’d think the Chiefs might have changed it up after being beaten by the Steelers twice last season.

@ James Harrison did more than just spook Kansas City left tackle Eric Fisher, as defensive coordinator Keith Butler intimated he would earlier in the week.

The old guy can still turn the corner on Fisher.

In a big game such as this, it was nice to have Harrison ready and waiting.

That said, T.J. Watt still needs to be out there. A lot.

@ Roethlisberger didn’t exactly whip the ball all over the yard, but he was efficient. And somewhat lucky, especially on his touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, when the ball skipped through the hands of Phillip Gaines, off his helmet and into Brown’s hands.

But that’s all part of the game.

After all, Roethlisberger was intercepted earlier in the game when Brown inexplicably stopped running on a slant, choosing instead to sit down in the short zone.

If he keeps running there, he’s got a touchdown.

@ Pittsburgh’s defense is for real, especially when the offense is controlling the clock.

@ If I were Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley, however, I’d take away Roethlisberger’s audible ability inside the 10. Roethlisberger checked out of a run on first-and-goal from the 2 in the second quarter after Bell had just broken off a 17-yard run to get the Steelers there.

@ Does Sunday’s win make the Steelers contenders again in the AFC?

Sure, why not?

Then again, I didn’t think they weren’t contenders.

If Sunday’s games proved anything, it’s that anyone can lose to any other team at any time in this season. And home field doesn’t matter.

How else do you explain some of the results from this season?

But Sunday’s win by the Steelers was a big one. Now, they only need to finish tied with KC to have a shot to host a playoff game against them.

And they’ll get a shot to do the same against New England - which was extremely fortunate to win Sunday - later in the season.

@ The Steelers defensive front is very good. Too good, in fact, to have given up a pair of 200-yard rushing games.

Stephon Tuitt continues to just miss on sacks, but he’s extremely disruptive. And Cam Heyward is playing at a Pro Bowl level.

@ Bell was in the zone in this game. He made some cuts that few other runners can make. And his trademark patience really seems to work against this Kansas City defense.

@ Jordan Berry boomed a 62-yard punt late in the game, driving Tyreek Hill back some 15 yards to the point where he needed to catch the ball over his shoulder.

But Hill then returned the ball 32 yards to midfield.

Some were complaining on social media about a punt by Berry earlier in the game that sailed out of bounds. But when facing a guy such as Hill, discretion is the better part of valour.

@ I’m not quite sure why Sean Davis wasn’t awarded an interception on a fourth-down throw into the end zone. He pulled the ball away from the intended receiver on his way to the ground. And the ball wasn’t pulled out until well after the play.

But I thought the Jets should have gotten a touchdown call against the Patriots on a play that was inexplicable overturned, so what do I know?

@ A couple of national reporters are saying that Martavis Bryant has requested a trade from the Steelers and did so a couple of weeks ago.

I don’t know if I’m buying that one.

First, the Steelers stuck by Bryant when it would have been easy to give up on him after several positive failed drug tests.

Second, because of those failed drug tests and subsquent suspensions, what exactly does Bryant think the trade market for him would be when he’s one strike away from being done playing period?

Bryant didn’t get a lot of snaps on Sunday, but that was because the Steelers were so set on running the ball. And JuJu Smith-Schuster is a better blocker - penalites and all - than Bryant.

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