While the Chiefs battle a short week following Monday night’s 34-3 loss in New England, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be well rested when they visit Arrowhead Stadium Sunday night.
Pittsburgh was one of four teams to have a bye in Week 11, which was the final week of the regular season any team sits idle. The off-weekend gives the Steelers a whopping 15 days to prepare for the Chiefs.
“I think it came at a good time for us,” said Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is nursing a thumb injury. “We had some guys that were real close to getting back to healthy and that week off helps. It was hard to push through the weeks that it took us to get to there, but I think you’d rather have the bye now than in Week 4 or 5. You want to get into as much of the season as you can so the rest comes at the right time.”
Pittsburgh had already held two practices this week before Kansas City made it onto the field for a walkthrough late Wednesday afternoon.
The Chiefs’ United Airlines charter flight from New England didn’t touch down at Kansas City International Airport until nearly 5:00 AM Tuesday morning. Tuesday was the players’ scheduled day off, but many were in the office getting a head-start on Pittsburgh film study.
“It’s just that time of year that it’s a grind no matter what time the flight got in,” OLB
“The holiday season also gets everybody perked up a little bit because there are friends and family around, so that’s good. But as far as football goes, we’re just ready to get going again for another challenge on Sunday.”
Big Ben Will Play
Steelers Pro Bowl QB Ben Roethlisberger is known around league circles for his toughness, so it comes to no one’s surprise that he’s expected to play against the Chiefs despite a broken thumb on his throwing hand.
Roethlisberger injured the thumb in the Steelers’ November 13th win at Cincinnati, but never exited the game. He played through a similar injury earlier in his career, which prompted a guarantee that he’d be available for Sunday’s game in Kansas City.
“It’s the same spot,” Roethlisberger said. “I think that bone is probably a little weak still.”
“I didn’t miss time the first time, so I think that I’ll find a way to get through it. I’ll be out there. I’ll guarantee you that. Will there be an issue of pain and trying not to let it affect my throwing? I don’t know. I can’t answer that yet.”
Injuries are no stranger to Roethlisberger. He’s started a full 16 games just once in his eight-year NFL career, but has never missed more than four games in a single season.
“For me, the reason that I want to play is that I want to be out there for my guys,” said Roethlisberger. “I don’t want to let them down. I want to play. When you’re dinged up, hurt and not 100%, you have to play a little better, play a little harder and focus a bit more.”
One of Roethlisberger’s absences occurred in 2009 when he took a knee to the head from Chiefs linebacker
Roethlisberger was sidelined one game because of a concussion, which prompted the Steelers to pry
Despite the head injury, Roethlisberger has no trouble recalling his only visit to Arrowhead.
“This will be my second time, and before my first trip I heard the stories about how loud it is and how great the fans are,” Roethlisberger said. “They definitely lived up to the hype of the building and with it being a Sunday night game I’m sure they’ll be just as rowdy and crazy this time.”
Lilja Ruled Out
Chiefs left guard
A second-round pick out of Florida State, Hudson saw time at both guard and center during the preseason. Hudson is thought of as the Chiefs heir apparent to veteran
Chiefs Injury Report
G Ryan Lilja – OUT (Head)
LB Demorrio Williams – Full Practice (Groin)
DE Glenn Dorsey – Full Practice (Knee)
S Jon McGraw – Full Practice (Shoulder)
Steelers Injury Report
Limited Practice: WR Arnaz Battle (Hamstring), QB Ben Roethlisberger (Right Thumb), LB LaMarr Woodley (Hamstring)
Full Practice: S Troy Polamalu (Ribs), WR Emmanuel Sanders (Knee)