Playing the late game on Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers saw things break their way where if they were to find a way to beat the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 16 they could significantly improve their chances of making the AFC Playoffs. However, beating the Chiefs, in Kansas City, is no easy task.
The Steelers were without players like Devin Bush and Pat Freiermuth, while the Chiefs were without Travis Kelce in their lineup due to being on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Nonetheless, Pittsburgh would have to play one of their best games of the season if they wanted to break the Chiefs’ 7-game winning streak.
The Chiefs chose to defer their possession to the second half, and Ben Roethlisberger and company took the field for the first offensive possession of the game. Outside of an 18-yard pass completed to Diontae Johnson, the Steelers’ offense failed to do anything on their opening drive before punting it to Kansas City.
Patrick Mahomes took over near his own 30-yard line, and didn’t face much of a resistance form the Steelers’ defense. Even without Kelce, Mahomes found open receivers as he moved the Chiefs’ offense into the red-zone. Completing 3rd downs en route to a Clyde Edwards-Helaire 1-yard touchdown run. Following the extra point, the score was 7-0 Chiefs with 4:07 left in the first quarter.
The next offensive play for the Steelers saw Matt Canada dial up a flea flicker, but Ben Roethlisberger’s pass intended for Ray-Ray McCloud was intercepted. Just two minutes later Mahomes found Byron Pringle in the back of the end zone. Another point-after made the score 14-0 with just 1:07 left in the opening frame.
The start of the second quarter was more of the same for the Steelers offense, except this drive didn’t end in a turnover, but a punt. While the Chiefs were able to add to their point total, the Steelers’ defense was finally able to keep them out of the end-zone. Instead, an Elliott Fry field goal made the score 17-0 with 8:45 left in the second quarter.
It didn’t take long for the Chiefs to strike again, and this time it was Mahomes hitting Necole Hardman for the score after he made Terrell Edmunds miss along the sideline. The point-after was missed, making the score 23-0 with 2:13 left in the second quarter.
A promising start to the Steelers’ next drive ended when Matt Canada dialed up yet another toss run on 4th and 1, which lost three yards. The turnover on downs gave the red-hot Chiefs’ offense great field position. The windy conditions resulted in another missed field goal, keeping the score at 23-0. That score would stand as both teams headed into halftime.
Kansas City received the ball to start the third quarter, and the Steelers were able to force a punt for the first time in the game on that first drive of the second half. The Steelers’ miscues continued after Diontae Johnson fumbled the ball and gave the ball right back to the Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes wasted little time taking advantage of the Steelers’ mistake, and it was Mahomes hitting Pringle for his second touchdown of the game. The extra point made the score 30-0 with 8:53 left in the third quarter.
Ben Roethlisberger and company were finally able to put together a scoring drive, but even with the Chiefs’ defense playing their soft zone, all the offense could muster was a Chris Boswell chip shot field goal. The kick made the score 30-3 with 3:34 remaining in the quarter.
The start of the fourth quarter saw the Pittsburgh defense on their heals yet again. and the Chiefs were able to add another field goal to their lead to make the score 33-3 with 11:57 left in regulation. As if it couldn’t get worse, the next drive saw Roethlisberger get sacked and fumble. The ball bounced right to the Chiefs’ defensive lineman, giving the offense the ball inside the 10-yard line.
With Chad Henne in the lineup for Kansas City, the Chiefs only added a field goal off the fumble recovery, making the score 36-3. Pittsburgh moved the ball quickly against the Chiefs’ prevent defense, and the drive was capped off with the first Steelers touchdown of the game. This a Ben Roethlisberger pass to Diontae Johnson to make the score 36-10 with 2:54 left in regulation.
With Mason Rudolph in as quarterback, the score of 36-10 held as the final.
The loss moves the Steelers’ record to 7-7-1 on the season as they brace themselves for a final two games vs. the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the regular season.