The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night at Heinz Field and it is not too hard to figure out which two players on the Chiefs offense that Steelers defense will need to shut down in order to win the game.
Running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe combined have 1,363 of the 2,961 total offensive yards for the Chiefs through their first 8 games oft the season. That equates to 46% if you are scoring at home.
To give it more perspective, the Chiefs offense has run 553 plays so far this season with Charles and Bowe either touching the ball or being targeted on 242 of those plays, or 44% of all plays. In addition, the Chiefs have scored 11 touchdowns on offense this year with Charles and Bowe combining to score 6 of them.
Charles heads into the Monday night game against the Steelers with 634 rushing yards, but it should be noted that 233 of those yards came in the Chiefs lone win over the New Orleans Saints back in week 3. If you remove that game from his stat line, he has 99 carries for 401 yards, which still would leave him with a 4 yard per carry average. He also has 6 runs of 20 yards or more this season and 17 runs of 10 yards or more.
Bowe also can be explosive as he has 7 catches of 20 yards or more to his credit and averages 12.7 yards per catch. The Chiefs receiver isn\’t one to damage after the catch, however, as he is averaging just 3.4 yards after the catch on his 45 receptions
In short, the Steelers defense can expect either Charles or Bowe to be the focus on nearly every other play Monday night. Stopping the run first is always a priority of defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, so Charles will be the Steelers number one focus.
Bowe will likely be followed around the field by Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, who has rebounded nicely since his poor showing back in Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs receiver will have to earn his catches underneath, and he will need a lot of them in order for the Chiefs to win this game.
The best defense against the Chiefs will be the Steelers offense. They shouldn\’t have many problems moving the football against the Chiefs defense, and scoring early and often will force the Chiefs offense to abandon the run. That would in turn put an even bigger burden on Bowe, who certainly can\’t win this game all by himself.