The Pittsburgh Steelers were unable to grit out their third straight win as they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7 by the score of 23-13. Following the game, there were some players who stepped up their game and others who struggled throughout. Analyzing this performance, it's time to label some players as 'Winners' and some as 'Losers' with the 4-3 Steelers now turning their attention to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8.
Le'Veon Bell - 17 carries for 121 yards highlights a solid performance from Pittsburgh's top running back. He ran hard to lead a struggling offense and keep the Steelers in the game. Though his effort wasn't enough for victory, he certainly did his job and more today.
Cameron Heyward - three tackles with an assist and a sack. Heyward was the highlight of a Steelers' front that allowed Charcandrick West to run for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Mike Mitchell - Continuing to show why the Steelers acquired him in free agency last season, Mitchell put on a solid performance making several crucial tackles and not being a liability in the secondary for Pittsburgh. If there's anyone who could receive a "most improved" award for the Steelers' secondary, it would be this guy.
Martavis Bryant - Another game and another touchdown for the second-year player out of Clemson. His fourth quarter score kept the team in the game late, but it was the only touchdown on the day for Pittsburgh. He also made two other solid receptions and, had Landry Jones made better passes, his day would have been prolific.
Antwon Blake - A rough day for Blake who seemed to get torched time and time again by the Chiefs' receivers. Though he had a big hit on a play that forced an incompletion in the red zone, he was more of a liability than an asset today in the secondary and was probably the least effective player on the defense.
Cam Thomas - Thomas hasn't been the complete sore spot on defense that he had been last season, but it was a question of whether he had made significant strides of improvement or was merely the beneficiary of being behind Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. Today his performance leaned to the latter, as the Steelers gave up more than 100 yards to a backup running back for the Chiefs. The team missed Tuitt a lot more than what was talked about.
Alejandro Villenueva - I usually avoid putting replacements on the "Losers" list, especially when they have a tall task like blocking Tamba Hali or Justin Houston, but his play needs to be noted. He didn't do his job as a replacement today and made fundamental mistakes of technique that led to the plays made against him. Closer film study is needed for a full evaluation, but on the sack/fumble by Hali on Jones in the fourth quarter, Villenueva whiffed on his block by putting his head down and not moving his feet, two cardinal sins for offensive tackles. Fortunately, these things are correctable fundamental issues, which coaching and practice may eliminate.
Landry Jones - I know, he's a third-string quarterback and not that much can be expected of him every week, but his three turnovers were the difference makers in today's loss. Jones' first interception can be chalked up to his youth and just not seeing the Chiefs' defense properly. While the second interception wasn't completely his fault, he still left a lot out there and makes my "Losers" list for the game.
DeAngelo Williams - A big dropped third-down pass and getting stuffed on fourth-and-short were a big part of the story of Pittsburgh's missed chances against the Chiefs. His performance wasn't abysmal, but it wasn't a winning one either.
Antonio Brown - A solid performance with six catches for 124 yards but no scores and was unable to bring in a key pass that ended up being intercepted.
David DeCastro - DeCastro anchored a line that had a 100-yard rusher and only allowed two sacks against a tough Chiefs pass rush. Pittsburgh's interior line had a solid day and, had Jones and the offense been able to make more big plays, the OL would have been much more of a highlight.
Lawrence Timmons - Law Dog wasn't perfect, but his seven tackles and half of a sack were significant parts of the defense being able to contain the Chiefs early in the game.