Protecting Chiefs Patrick Mahomes from the ‘Blitzburgh Steelers’
Four players to watch as the Kansas City Chiefs square off with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon.
No. 10, WR Tyreek Hill
Age 24, 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, 3rd season
The Chiefs’ speedster set the bar pretty high for himself after Week 1. Not only did he make some eye-popping plays on special teams — opening up with a 91-yard punt return touchdown is next-level — but he also established himself as a dominant wide receiver. With seven receptions for 169 yards and two touchdown catches, Hill exploited the Chargers’ defense. He spent a month in Lincoln, Neb., working on his route-running in the offseason, and it showed last Sunday. Hill may get an even more favorable matchup against the Steelers this Sunday with cornerback Joe Haden (hamstring) doubtful. If Haden is out, Cam Sutton will likely draw the assignment of chasing Hill. Good luck.
No. 20, DB Steven Nelson
25, 5-11, 194, 4th season
Lining up as the Chiefs’ right cornerback, Steven Nelson will likely be matched up with All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown. That’s hardly an easy task. Nelson fared pretty well against the Chargers, but he did have a couple of head-scratching plays. He got lucky when he completely lost his man in the end zone, staying out wide when Travis Benjamin cut in. It would’ve been an easy touchdown, except Benjamin dropped the ball. The Chiefs aren’t likely to get as lucky against the Steelers. To be successful, Nelson and the rest of the secondary will have to bounce back from a rough fourth quarter of the Chargers game, in which they allowed two touchdowns and 196 passing yards.
No. 90, LB T.J. Watt
23, 6-4, 252, 2nd season
Before the blocking the Browns’ field-goal attempt in the final seconds of overtime, Watt terrorized Cleveland’s offense by racking up four sacks. The second-year linebacker (and JJ Watt’s not-so-little brother) has been more productive since moving to the left side of the Pittsburgh defense, and Eric Fisher and Cam Erving figure to have their hands full keeping young quarterback Patrick Mahomes clean against a vicious pass rush.
No. 7, QB Ben Roethlisberger
36, 6-5, 240, 15th season
Big Ben was limited in practice this week with an elbow injury, only returning to the field on Friday afternoon. He had a rough outing against Cleveland, throwing three picks in an overtime tie. The elbow injury, what Roethlisberger termed a “bruise,” happened late in the overtime period when he was strip-sacked by Genard Avery. On the final injury report of the week, Roethlisberger was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. With Le’Veon Bell still holding out, Roethlisberger is as important as ever in catalyzing the Steelers’ offense. Against the Chiefs last season, Roethlisberger completed 17 of 25 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. He also threw one interception. After a rough performance against the Browns, there’s no doubt he’ll look to unleash some fury on the Chiefs.