The key plays, stats and grades from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 19-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.
Player of the game: Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell continues to torture the Chiefs. He racked up 179 yards on 32 carries, topping his 170-yard performance in the January playoff game in Kansas City.
Reason to hope: The Chiefs, at 5-1, are still one of the NFL’s best teams. And while they played their poorest game of the season, they still had a chance to win late in the contest.
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Reason to mope: This is a beat-up football team getting ready to play a rivalry game on three days rest.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs will head to O.co Coliseum for a Thursday night showdown against the Raiders. The Raiders, 2-4, are coming off a 17-16 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs have won five straight vs. the Raiders.
Rushing offense: The Chiefs’ rushing attack was terrible. The Steelers corralled the NFL’s leading rusher, Kareem Hunt, holding him to 21 yards on nine carries. The Chiefs, as a team rushed 15 times for 28 yards. And while it’s true they were down two starting linemen –– Mitch Morse and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif –– the offensive output on the ground was terrible. Period.
Passing offense: The offense surrendered two points with an errant snap by Zach Fulton, and gained 6 measly yards and one first down in the first half. Smith had just 23 passing yards at the break but rallied to post a decent statistical effort, completing 19 of 34 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. But he was sacked three times, and a last-ditch attempt to score late in the fourth quarter fell flat.
Rushing defense: No excuses here. The Steelers, once again, completely dominated the Chiefs in the box as defenders failed to defeat blocks or tackle consistently. Meanwhile, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell dodged, darted and powered for 179 yards on 32 carries behind an offensive line that imposed its will. Yikes.
Passing defense: Ben Roethlisberger bounced back following a miserable five-interception performance, completing 17 of 25 passes for 252 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was only sacked once, however, andd his 51-yard strike to Antonio Brown –– which bounced off Phillip Gaines’ facemask –– helped put the Chiefs away. Bonus points here for Marcus Peters’ second interception of the season.
Special teams: The Chiefs recovered a bobbled kickoff by the Steelers, leading to an early field goal. Akeem Hunt downed a punt at the Steelers’ 1-yard line, one of three that punter Dustin Colquitt placed inside the 20. Kicker Harrison Butker finished with two field goals, while Tyreek Hill’s 32-yard punt return put the Chiefs in position to potentially notch the game-winning score. All things said, Dave Toub’s units actually had a nice day.
Coaching: The Chiefs came out flat, largely because the offense could only muster 6 yards in the first half. Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ inability to corral Le’Veon Bell again was embarrassing. Many will also question Andy Reid’s failed fourth-down attempt deep in Steelers territory in the fourth quarter, or his decision not to challenge Demetrius Harris’ failed reception on the throw. Still, the coaching staff made some late adjustments to put the Chiefs in position to win and save them from a harsher grade. Pittsburgh is a good team, and this wasn’t a horrific blowout, which is the standard criterion for an ‘F’ grade.