Do not stop Believing : There may not be much the Steelers want to take away from their last meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs, a Week 16 loss where, in the words of coach Mike Tomlin, “they gave us manipulated and have definitely manipulated us”.
That being said, all is not lost when it comes to watching a movie of the game, seeing what the Chiefs did right.
“You learn the tendencies they have as a team,” linebacker Robert Spillane said. “Obviously you have a game plan for this week. And things didn’t go our way for this game. But you learned from the game.
“Not just what they like to do, but also what their staff is, how different people in their attack have different roles within it. So we started that process this week. game, but we’re just really excited to give them a second chance.”
When it comes to the Chiefs’ offensive personnel, they certainly have their share of talent, but the combination of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce might be one of the deadliest combinations in the game. NFL. And the last time the two teams met, Kelce did not play, inactive for the game as he had not passed the COVID-19 protocol.
Kelce is Mahomes’ go-to guy, a tight end who can do anything, including making a defense pay if they don’t tackle him when he catches immediately.
“Travis Kelce, his work speaks for itself,” Spillane said. “He’s one of the best tight ends to ever play the game. He’s a game problem for anyone on the field. He’s been known to take five-yard catches and turn them into 55-yard touchdowns So tackling catches is the main focus for us this week.
“Kelce really can do it all. He’s a versatile tight end who makes plays on the ground, turns short yards, short catches into long runs, blocks, gets involved in screen play. He’s a complete player who can do everything and he’s going to be a big game for us this weekend. We’re doing things in terms of personnel and the scheme to limit him as much as possible. But at the end of the day, we always have to play the soccer. “
And giving him the ball is a quarterback who just seems to create a magic game inside and out. Containing Mahomes will be anything but easy, but it will be necessary.
“Mahomes is one of the best at staying behind the line of scrimmage, but always keeping his eyes on the field,” Spillane said. “Whenever he’s still behind that line of scrimmage, he’s looking for a receiver to open up. So, we have to rush, contain the rush. And then also at the back, we have to plaster our people once ‘he breaks contain and make sure he doesn’t have any easy receivers to throw the ball at.”
The challenge is enormous on Sunday evening, but one that Spillane wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. He knows how precious those moments are, how difficult it can be to qualify for the playoffs. And he knows that outside the walls of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, many might not have the Steelers as favorites to win.
But for him, it’s special and it’s going to be fun.
“Every week I’m here is a fun week for me,” Spillane said. “I like coming to train every day, being with my teammates, playing on Sundays. It’s a unique opportunity and we’re very excited to be here. Maybe people didn’t imagine us making the playoffs away play But we always had a feeling of confidence in the dressing room It was very important and essential for us to be where we are today We will just continue to believe in each other , to love and play for each other and good things will happen.”
The person who drives this belief is Tomlin. He is the one who never falters with his players, always encouraging, motivating and making them believe in themselves and their teammates.
“Mike Tomlin sets the stage for us every morning at 8:30 (am). He starts our days with the team meeting and he gets us on the right page every day,” Spillane said. “Every time I talk about Mike Tomlin I can’t say enough good things about him because I think he’s really amazing at what he does.
“He does a great job of getting all 53 people on the same page and doing it in a quick and concise way where you understand what the game plan for the day will look like but also our mentality for training. . and any important information to come.”