The biggest key to beating the Pittsburgh Steelers is stopping Ben Roethlisberger and his connection with Antonio Brown. And the way to stop that connection is applying pressure to Big Ben.
“Yeah, we’ve said here in the past, the objective is always to affect the quarterback,” Chiefs DC Bob Sutton said this week. “You do that in a million ways; the obvious one is, ‘Hey, sack him, hit him.’ Sometimes you affect him with really tight coverage, sometimes you affect him with the pocket pushing.”
Upon further review, the Chiefs first interception against Ryan Fitzpatrick last week was a thing of beauty. The pressure affected Fitzpatrick on his throw, Marcus Peters is smart and understood how the pressure would affect him and made a jump on the ball for the interception. The Chiefs pressure - even without a sack - also forced an interception in the end zone.
“There are a lot of different ways that you play on defense, but at the end the guy that you have to affect is the quarterback,” Sutton said. “When you don’t, it is a hard day. It can be a really hard day on defense if that guy is in a great rhythm. The guys are so skilled and so accurate that if you don’t affect them and don’t challenge his throws, it’s just really difficult at times.”
Fitzpatrick isn’t on Big Ben’s level, so affecting the quarterback is especially true with Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and the rest of the Steelers offense. Eagles DT Fletcher Cox had a great game last week against the Steelers, who have injuries at the guard position. The Chiefs strength has to be the defensive line in this game. Tamba Hali is good for some pressure in his limited snaps but the Chiefs have to collapse the pocket from the inside. I wouldn’t mind seeing 20-30 snaps from Chris Jones.