KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers meet Sunday night as two teams coming off polar opposite games, with the Chiefs rolling over the New York Jets and the Steelers getting rolled by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he must have a short memory after his teams’ 34-3 thrashing by the Eagles.
“That’s what we use Mondays for,” Roethlisberger explained. “Mondays are for reviewing the game and getting ready to move forward. This is a really good Chiefs team coming in, especially on defense. That’s our prime focus right now.”
Roethlisberger completed 24 of 44 passes for 257 and an interception against the Eagles. Now he faces a Chiefs defense that created eight takeaways against the Jets with six interceptions.
He does not remember facing a defense coming off a six-interception performance.
“No, but that was impressive to watch,” he said. “They made plays, the ball also bounced their way on some plays, but you got to catch the ball and they did it.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Chiefs may be able to gleam some useful information from the Steelers loss to Philadelphia. Eagles coach Doug Pederson served as offensive coordinator for the Chiefs and coach Andy Reid the last two seasons. His new team now runs a similar offense to Reid’s in Kansas City.
“The other side of it, they get to see and work on some of the things we do,” Reid said. “I think it can go either way with that.”
The Steelers also expect to have the services of running back Le’Veon Bell. The Pro Bowl back missed the first three games of the season serving a suspension for a second violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Roethlisberger is happy to have Bell back in the lineup.
“To us, Le’Veon is one of the best in the business at what he does,” Roethlisberger said, “and that’s running the ball, it’s blocking, it’s catching the ball. Just having another weapon out there is going to feel good.”
Reid praised his defense for its performance against of late against the run, but noted the Steelers offer a different threat.
“I think we’ve gotten better with that from the first game,” Reid said. “But again every week is a different challenge. You’ve got to really be gap sound against this crew or you’ve got problems.”
BEAT THE PITTSBURGH DEFENSE
Defensive end Cameron Hayward anchors the Steelers defensive line. The 6-5, 295-pound Pittsburgh native picked up 54 tackles and seven sacks last season.
Opponents held Heyward without a sack through the season’s first three weeks, but Reid says his offensive line must concentrate to slow down Heyward.
“Every play he’s going to give you an honest down,” Reid said. “He’s coming after you, and he plays almost every play, he doesn’t go out of the game much. He’s a good combination guy versus pass and run.”
SUNDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
The Chiefs receive their first primetime exposure of the season Sunday at Pittsburgh, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 central time on NBC Sunday Night Football.
Smith said players look forward to opportunities to play under the lights.
“As a pro, that happens less and less,” Smith said. “These are primetime games with everybody watching and they’re fun. You embrace them. It will be an amazing atmosphere with a ton of energy. With that, you take it all in.”
The Chiefs enjoy one of the best home field advantages in the NFL, but Reid says the script flips on the road this week.
“When you go into Pittsburgh, you got to deal with the noise,” Reid said.
“This will be loud and we anticipate that,” he said. “We’ll need to be good on the details.”
Roethlisberger wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to his affection for wide receiver Antonio Brown.
“We communicate well,” Roethlisberger said. “Even when the defense is on the field and we’re running gassers, we’re like playing catch while we run gassers. Just little things like that. As we get to the sideline, I always throw one right on the edge where he can do his toe tap on the sideline.”
Roethlisberger has lofty goals for what he and Brown can do together.
“I tell him all the time, I say, ‘I would love for by the time we’re playing together for us to go down as the greatest or one of the greatest combination wide receiver-quarterbacks in history.'”