Well, it’s not what most Chiefs fans wanted, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are coming to Arrowhead Stadium for next Sunday’s AFC Divisional playoff game (7:20 p.m. on NBC).
Fans likely remember running back Le’Veon Bell. He missed the first three games of the season but made his 2016 debut against the Chiefs and rushed for 144 yards in 18 carries on that night (when the Steelers won 43-14).
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Bell’s regular-season numbers: 261 attempts, 1,268 yards, seven rushing touchdowns. He also caught 75 passes for 616 yards and a pair of scores. All told, that’s 1,884 total yards from scrimmage, an average of 157.0 yards, which was the best in the NFL. It was also the third-best in NFL history behind the Chiefs’ Priest Holmes (163.4 yards per game in 2002) and O.J. Simpson (160.2 in 1975).
More on Bell, who was rested in the Steelers’ regular-season finale, from the team’s website: He had five 100-yard games and one 200-yard game over his last seven regular-season games, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He also had nine touchdowns over his last seven weeks.
Only Arizona’s David Johnson broke more total tackles than Bell’s 61, and his 3.0 yards after contact per rush was fourth in the NFL.
Oh, and he broke the Steelers’ record for rushing yards in a playoff game in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins.
Here are eight other things to know about the Steelers ahead of the Jan. 15 playoff game.
▪ Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put up some gaudy regular-season numbers: 3,819 yards passing, 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He had seven games with three touchdown passes, which was tied for the third most in the NFL.
However, he’s been a different player away from Heinz Field:
▪ Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown is the most prolific TD connection in Steelers history. The duo has connected on 52 touchdown passes in their careers, one more than the Terry Bradshaw-Lynn Swann combination from an era when the Steelers won their first four Super Bowls. Brown finished the regular-season second in the NFL with 106 catches, and he was a handful for the Dolphins on Sunday. His 12 touchdown passes were also second in the NFL.
▪ The Steelers scored 399 points in 2016, an average of 24.9 per game. The 399 points is the fifth-most in Pittsburgh history (16-game regular season). The top four scoring seasons, in order, in Steelers history for a 16-game season are 2014 (436 points), 2015 (423 points), 1979 (416 points), and 1995 (407 points).
▪ Steelers quarterbacks were sacked the second-fewest number of times in the regular-season, just 21 times. Ben Roethlisberger gets rid of the ball quickly, can move in the pocket and is tough to take down. Big Ben was not sacked during the division-clinching victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
Football Outsiders ranks the Steelers offensive line as the fourth-best in the NFL in pass protection and is second in run blocking.
▪ The Steelers’ defense was ranked 12th in the regular season in yards allowed (342.6 yards per game). According to Team Rankings, Pittsburgh’s defense was one of the most stingy in the red zone, allowing 45.6 percent of touchdowns to opponents when they reach the 20. The Chiefs ranked fifth.
▪ Linebacker Lawrence Timmons led the Steelers with 114 tackles in the regular season and he had 2 1/2 sacks. Fellow linebacker Ryan Shazier had 87 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks. Fifteen different Steelers players had at least one sack, led by 38-year-old James Harrison’s five. During Sunday’s game, CBS said the Steelers had the most sacks of their last seven games of the season. Cornerback William Gay has five pick-sixes since the start of the 2013 season, the most in the NFL.
▪ Pittsburgh tied for ninth in turnover margin (plus-5), compared to plus-16 for the Chiefs, who were tied for the best in the NFL.
▪ Football Outsiders special-teams rankings includes a rating for weather, which is based on “weather and altitude based on stadium type (cold, warm, dome, Denver) and week.” The Steelers are ranked 31st in that weather special-teams rating. In the cold on Sunday, the Pittsburgh missed an extra point. Overall, the Steelers’ special teams are ranked right in the middle of the pack at 16th.
Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff