Chiefs

Chiefs’ report card vs. the Steelers

Kicker Cairo Santos provided all the Chiefs’ scoring Sunday with four field goals against the Steelers.
Kicker Cairo Santos provided all the Chiefs’ scoring Sunday with four field goals against the Steelers. The Kansas City Star

First quarter

Key play: The Chiefs’ Alex Smith converted on third and 16 from the Pittsburgh 40 by hitting Albert Wilson for 19 yards.

Key stat: The Chiefs’ field goal drive of 14 plays — which took 7 minutes, 9 seconds — was their 23rd scoring drive of 10 plays or more.

Second quarter

Key play: Chiefs safety Ron Parker was called for holding on a Steelers incompletion in the end zone, giving Pittsburgh a fresh set of downs at the 1.

Key stat: The Chiefs failed to score a touchdown in three trips inside the 20, reaching the Pittsburgh 8, 4 and 12 without crossing the goal line.

Third quarter

Key play: Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles lost a fumble at the Pittsburgh 25. The Steelers converted the fumble into a 17-6 lead.

Key stat: The lost fumble was Charles’ third of the season.

Fourth quarter

Key play: Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali jumped offsides, but Pittsburgh continued with the play and cornerback Jamell Fleming was called for pass interference, a 24-yard penalty that set up a field goal for the Steelers.

Key stat: This was the first game the Chiefs failed to score a touchdown in Andy Reid’s two seasons as head coach.

Player of the game: Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt was disruptive. He forced the fumble by Charles that turned the game around, and he sacked Smith during the Chiefs’ last offensive drive.

Reason to hope: The Chiefs can still reach the playoffs with a win over San Diego and a whole lot of help from other teams.

Reason to mope: That help includes needing Jacksonville to win at Houston and Cleveland winning at Baltimore.

Looking ahead: The Chiefs conclude the regular season at home next Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

| Randy Covitz, rcovitz@kcstar.com

Report card

F

Rush Offense

Jamaal Charles rushed for just 29 yards in nine carries, his fewest yards in a game in which he was not injured since the season-opening loss to Tennessee, when he rushed seven times for 19 yards. Charles also lost a fumble. Looks like teams have figured out the De’Anthony Thomas jet sweep.

C-

Pass Offense

Alex Smith threw for 311 yards, his most in a game with the Chiefs. But he missed Albert Wilson on a deep post, and his longest completion was just 33 yards against a secondary giving the Chiefs the underneath stuff. It didn’t help that Smith was under constant pressure and was sacked six times.

A

Rush Defense

The Chiefs held LeVeon Bell, the NFL’s second-leading rusher, to just 63 yards in 20 carries, with a long of 7 yards. That’s quite an improvement for a unit that allowed 100 yards a game for three straight weeks during its losing streak.

B

Pass Defense

The Chiefs still haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has eight such games this season, threw for 220, his fewest since week three. Roethlisberger, who has completed 39 passes of 25-plus yards this season, had just one, for 44 yards.

B

Special Teams

Cairo Santos made all four of his field goal attempts, including a 43-yarder in a stadium that is unfriendly to kickers. Holder Dustin Colquitt executed a nifty 6-yard pass out of field-goal formation. The Chiefs didn’t generate much in the return game.

D+

Coaching

The fake-field-goal pass was nifty, and the ill-fated decision to go for it on fourth and 1 was the right one, but Andy Reid will be bombarded by the same questions this week: Why pass 46 times and hand the ball to Charles, their best player, just nine times? The game was never out of reach.

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