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Chiefs’ report card: F’s all around in abysmal loss to Steelers

Chiefs-Steelers postgame analysis

The Star's Terez A. Paylor, Sam Mellinger, Blair Kerkhoff and Vahe Gregorian offer their insights on the Kansas City Chiefs' 43-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.
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The Star's Terez A. Paylor, Sam Mellinger, Blair Kerkhoff and Vahe Gregorian offer their insights on the Kansas City Chiefs' 43-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

The key plays, stats and grades from the Chiefs’ 43-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night at Heinz Field.

The recap

Player of the game: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was fantastic, completing 22 of 27 passes for 300 yards, with five touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Reason to hope: There’s still 12 more games left, and the Steelers dished out this beating seven days after their similarly-embarrassing 34-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Reason to mope: The Chiefs knew their bye week was coming up, and they still went out and laid a massive egg. Granted, the Steelers were very motivated to win. But this performance was unacceptably bad — and surprising. It was probably the most one-sided loss of Andy Reid’s four-year tenure with the Chiefs.

Looking ahead: The Chiefs, 2-2, have a bye week before they tackle the remaining 12 games on their schedule. They’ll get back to it next week as they prepare for a road game against the Oakland Raiders, 3-1, on Oct. 16.

Report card

Rushing offense: F

By the start of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs trailed 36-0 and had rushed 10 times for 23 yards. That’s brutal. Spencer Ware led the team at that point with 21 yards in seven carries. He also lost a fumble early in the first quarter that led to a Steelers touchdown and helped set the tone for the game.

Passing offense: F

Another subpar offensive performance by the passing game. This is the third week in a row that Alex Smith, who was 30 of 50 for 287 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, has been underwhelming. The final stats looked better than they were, as Smith had a pass deflected and intercepted in the first quarter, which led to a Steelers touchdown. This passing offense has got to get fixed, and fast.

Rushing defense: F

By the start of the fourth quarter, the Steelers had rushed 18 times for 89 yards. That’s an average of 4.9 yards per carry. That’s too high, and this was on the way to being a D because the run defense wasn’t the biggest reason they lost this thing. Then Le’Veon Bell, who ended up with 18 carries for 144 yards, broke off a 44-yard fourth-quarter run when the Chiefs knew there was a good chance they’d probably run to keep the clock moving.

Passing defense: F

Ugh. Roethlisberger was fantastic, but he also took advantage of some mistakes and curious calls. There was some miscommunication on the Steelers’ first touchdown, and Darrius Heyward-Bey was wide open. The Chiefs also allowed Antonio Brown to streak up the seam in single coverage on the Steelers’ third touchdown.

Special teams: F

The Chiefs had one punt downed inside the 10, but that’s about the only positive. Knile Davis barely made it past the 10 on one kick return, and was dropped at the 2 on another. Dustin Colquitt also shanked a punt, which led to a quick Steelers touchdown. Tyreek Hill had a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown get waved off due to a block-in-the-back penalty on Demetrius Harris. Too many mistakes.

Coaching: F

The Chiefs are generally a well-coached team that plays hard for Reid, and it’s worth noting that they did score two fourth-quarter touchdowns, so they didn’t roll over. But there is no defense for that performance on Sunday. None. They went out and got their tails handed to them as the Steelers looked far more prepared and motivated early on. Some of that is on the players, who committed far too many errors, but it’s up to the coaches to get these guys ready to play. Throw in the fact the offensive and defensive game plans were ineffective, and this was, quite simply, the biggest stinker of Reid’s four-year tenure in Kansas City.

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