Sports

Three reasons why the Steelers will shock the bosses: Ben Roethlisberger has one surprise left in his arsenal

Ben Roethlisberger is ending his career the way he started, leading a team many people didn’t expect to do so well in the post-season. It wasn’t always pretty, but Roethlisberger was able to perform in several critical situations to punch his 12th card into the playoffs, with his final season as the Steelers quarterback extended.

Roethlisberger has a chance to end his career by helping the Steelers score the biggest upset of the playoffs. The Steelers are a 12.5-point underdog entering Sunday’s elimination game against the Chiefs, who defeated Pittsburgh by 26 points in Week 16. The Steelers qualify 1-2 in the playoffs where they are a double-digit underdog, with a lone win coming. Against John Elway Broncos on the 1984 Tour.

Despite the odds, the Steelers are more than capable of irritating the Chiefs, who are vying to become the fourth team in NFL history to make three consecutive trips to the Super Bowl. Here’s how the Steelers can do it while adding another feather to Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame hat.

knowledge

This was the word Bill Coyer used the most when explaining why he thought this game would be “much closer” to the first game between the two teams. Queer will know, as the 2005 Steelers upset the top-seeded Colts after losing to them in an unbalanced match during the regular season.

“We were embarrassed in the ‘Monday Night Football’ game,” Coehr said of the Steelers’ regular season loss to the Colts. “We were a famous football management team. We went out and threw early and started running the ball later in the game. We served the genre really well in that match because it was against the tide.

“You’re playing with a team for the second time, there’s very little familiarity with that. I think familiarity benefits the team that loses.”

Speaking of familiarity, Steelers kicker Chris Boswell had success in the playoff at Arrowhead. Boswell set an NFL playoff record by taking off five fields in Pittsburgh’s 18-16 win over the Chiefs in the 2016 Divisional Round. The former Pro Bowl football player was specifically mentioned by Cowher when explaining why he thought this The game will be closer than the previous match for the teams.

Blitzburg

Led by TJ Watt’s 22.5 bags, the Steelers led the NFL in quarterback eliminations for the fifth year in a row. Pittsburgh scored 55 sacks in 17 games, with Watt, Cameron Heyward, Alex Highsmith, Chris Wormley and 45.5 of those sacks. As shown in the Chiefs’ loss at Super Bowl LV, pressing Patrick Mahomes is key to halting the Chiefs’ fast-paced attack. The Chiefs will have their share of plays, but the Steelers’ passing rush should reduce those plays, while also helping the Pittsburgh defense win its share of acquisitions.

Passing dash is key, but the Steelers will need a full effort in defence. At its best, the Steelers defense is capable of winning the game on its own. The unit did just that in forcing Pittsburgh to a surprise win over the top-seeded Titans in Week 15. The Steelers defense has elite talent at every level led by Heyward Watt, cornerback Joe Haden and Salameh Minka Fitzpatrick. Pittsburgh’s quarterback’s play has been choppy, but Joe Schubert has played his share of starting games this season, no bigger than his forced stinging late in Pittsburgh’s win in Week 8 in Cleveland.

High school in Pittsburgh has improved dramatically since the beginning of the year. Haden’s return from injury was a big reason for that, along with continued play by Cam Sutton and reserves for Akilu Witherspoon and Arthur Mullet. The unit will get a chance to showcase how well it has improved against the talented receiving corps of Chiefs of Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson.

Combined with cutting big plays, winning possession-loss and putting pressure on Mahomes, the Steelers will have to hold out against the race, which has been their biggest Achilles heel this season. But if Heyward, Wormley, Henry Mundo and the rest of the Pittsburgh Front Seven can contain the Chiefs’ brisk attack, a meltdown is surely possible.

Ben Roethlisberger

As a kid growing up in the ’90s, one of Roethlisberger’s favorite players to watch was quarterback John Elway. In his 15th season, Elway finally won his first Super Bowl despite Denver being a severe underdog against Brett Favre and defending champion Packers. Before the match, all Elway asked was that the match would be close enough that he could win it in the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger is definitely hoping for the same thing on Sunday night.

Elway was helped in that game by bringing back Terrell Davis, who won the MVP award after running for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Roethlisberger will need similar support from Nagy Harris, who ran for 93 yards against the Chiefs in their first game. Harris’ impact may depend on the health of the injured elbow that kept him out of most of last week’s win in Baltimore.

Even if Harris is somewhat compromised, Roethlisberger is able to keep the Steelers in the game. It came in Pittsburgh’s regular season victories over Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, and Baltimore. And while his comeback performances in Los Angeles and Minnesota came short, Roethlisberger’s right-arm and quick decision-making gave the Steelers a late chance in both games.

Roethlisberger has great teammates in skill positions at Harris, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Rookie Tight End Pat Freiermuth. Pittsburgh’s young offensive streak – a group whose struggles this season have been well documented – has shown signs of growth in recent weeks, especially with JC Hassenauer moving into the starting line-up at the center.

Bosses are a double-digit favorite for a reason. They have arguably the best NFL player in Mahomes, a dangerous reception team, and an opportunistic defense led by Terran Mathieu, Nick Bolton, Chris Jones and Frank Clark. But the Steelers also have talent in defense, players with tremendous skill in attack, and one of the best kicks in the NFL at Boswell. Above all, they have a future Hall of Fame quarterback who would love nothing more than to finish Chiefs’ reign at the top of the AFC before setting off into the sunset.

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