Monday, November 28, 2011

An ugly win is still a win.

Brett Keisel left Arrowhead a winner.
Joey Porter's Pit Bulls gotta admit: It was tough to get up for the Steelers' visit to Kansas City.  Tell ya the truth, it's also tough to get too worked up over the Steelers' phugly 13-9 win over the Chiefs last night. The Steelers survived; it's a win; time to move on.

Maybe it was a combination of the bye week, the Thanksgiving weekend, the start of the Christmas shopping season, and the prospect of facing a so-so Kansas City Chiefs team hit hard by injuries to its star running back (Jamal Charles) and starting quarterback (Matt Cassell). The buildup to last night's game just felt flat. And the Steelers almost fell flat.

Fortunately for the Steelers, former Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko, a Pittsburgh native son and by all accounts a good guy you'd like to see do well, really wasn't up to the challenge last night. Palko was plucky, but his fumble and three interceptions belonged in the WPIAL, not the NFL.

Still, Palko the Chiefs' 23rd-ranked defense kept the Chiefs in the game until Palko's last-minute overthrow that star receiver Dwayne Bove seemed to alligator-arm but really had no chance to catch. Maybe Bove thought the pass was intended for another receiver behind him?  Maybe he didn't try for the ball because he didn't want to get hit? Whatever.

There's not much point over-analyzing this ugly win. The Steelers' big concern is the health of Troy Polamalu, who may or may not have yet another concussion. Very worrisome. We'll see what coach Mike Tomlin will say in Tuesday's news conference. Let's hope for the best.

Next up for the 8-3 Steelers: The 7-4 Cincinnati Bengals, at Heinz Field.  If the season ended today, the Steelers would be the AFC's first wild card; the Bengals would be the second wild card.