Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Backup QB Magic Fizzles vs. Chiefs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Backup QB Magic Fizzles vs. Chiefs

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo.

Cam Heyward is 6 feet 5, 295 pounds, with a mean streak at times. No one is going to question his manhood, at least no sane person. But Heyward didn't take any chances Sunday after the Steelers were beaten, 23-13, by the Kansas City Chiefs. He didn't want to hear that the Steelers could be in a much worse spot after playing the past 4 1/2 games without Ben Roethlisberger.

"Every team's got injuries. Every team's going through its own things," Heyward said. "For us to [complain] would be stupid. It puts us as whiners to say, 'Feel sorry for me because we didn't have all of our pieces.' Even though Ben hasn't been playing, we still feel like we have a chance to win games."

That's exactly what you would expect from Heyward. As stand-up guys go in the locker room, he's at the top of the list. But that doesn't mean the truth shouldn't be spoken. The Steelers are lucky and should be thrilled to be 4-3, still very much alive in the AFC playoff race. They hung on to win Sept. 27 at St. Louis with backup quarterback Mike Vick after Roethlisberger went out with a left knee injury, then, after an overtime home loss to Baltimore, won again on the road Oct. 12 at San Diego with Vick leading two fourth-quarter touchdown drives. They beat Arizona Oct. 18 at Heinz Field with Jones taking over from the injured Vick in the second half and, against long odds, leading two fourth-quarter scoring drives.

The magic was going to run out sooner rather than later.

It happened Sunday.

But there is good news.

Roethlisberger is expected to ride to everyone's rescue when the Steelers play the unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Heinz Field. Mike Tomlin said he was "close" to starting Roethlisberger against the Chiefs but decided to go with Jones because Jones took most of the practice reps last week. Roethlisberger didn't practice Friday after his knee flared up.

"No second-guessing," Tomlin said.

"I do [expect Roethlisberger to start Sunday] as I sit here today. …

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