Steelers Study Notes, 12/23/21: Chiefs Statistical Rankings Deceiving, Watt and Heyward Pro Bowlers, And Dotson Back At Left Guard This Weekend?

By Jeremy Hritz

Good morning Steelers Nation! We are now only 2 days away from Christmas day, and 3 from the Steelers battle against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium , if, and that’s a big if, COVID doesn’t have other plans for the date and time of the contest. In today’s Study Notes, I take another look at the Chiefs, the Pro Bowl selections and snubs for the Steelers, and other notes you should know as we press forward to hopefully a postseason berth. Enjoy!

  • We all know the Chiefs are the NFL’s closest team to a juggernaut, but how does that bear out in the statistics? Here are their rankings so far this season in the major categories: #3 Passing Offense (Yards): 4150, #19 Rushing Offense (Yards): 1538 yards, #6 Scoring Offense: 27.5 points per game; #28 Passing Defense (Yards): 250.9, #19 Rushing Defense (Yards): 115.6, #8 Scoring Defense: 21.1 points per game
  • Looking at the stat sheet, the Chiefs defensive rankings aren’t exactly intimidating, but don’t be fooled. The Steelers have played against several statistically poor defenses this season and could not translate that into yards.
  • What has to happen for the Steelers to win this contest? Two things. 1) Dominate time of possession on offense through the running game and short passes to keep KC off of the field and 2) Force turnovers on defense. Simple, right? Not at all.
  • The Steelers had just two players named to the Pro Bowl, and it’s no surprise who those players are: TJ Watt and Cameron Heyward. Clearly the leaders of this defensive unit through their dominant play, Watt and Heyward deserve this recognition, and should be honored with All-Pro recognition at the end of the season. Snubs? Diontae Johnson, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Chris Boswell.
  • Steelers offensive line coach Adrian Klemm reportedly has been hired by Oregon and will leave the team at the end of the season and return to his collegiate roots. It’s a bit disappointing to hear this news, especially as the blocking unit struggles and works to find consistency and cohesion as they fight for a playoff spot. I wonder if Mike Tomlin’s thoughts about hostages apply here to Klemm?
  • The Steelers announced on Wednesday that three additional players were added to the COVID list: Zach Banner, Marcus Allen, and Devin Bush. More than likely, these players will not be available to the Steelers this Sunday. Hopefully, this is not the beginning of a surge in cases on the team.
  • One thing that is for certain with the Chiefs in terms of their players who tested positive for COVID, their kicker, Harrison Butker, will not play because he is unvaccinated. That’s a small advantage for the Steelers.
  • Kevin Dotson is practicing! Wonder if there is any chance he is healthy enough to get the start this Sunday?
  • As we get closer to the Chiefs game, make sure you take some time to get perspective. If the Steelers don’t make the postseason, and there is a significant chance that happens, you will be watching the first of Ben Roethlisberger’s final three games. Savor them, enjoy them, because most likely, this is it.

That is all! Enjoy your day!


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