Chiefs vs. Steelers: K.C. is better suited to handle Pittsburgh than last year
By Grant Tuttle
Breaking down last year’s loss shows that the Chiefs are better equipped to face the Steelers than they have been in the last few meetings.
This Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs are headed to Heinz Field to face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The two teams have gotten off to completely different starts. The Chiefs started with a convincing victory over the Chargers in Los Angeles, whereas the Steelers finished week one in a tie with the struggling Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the Steelers have owned them in previous meetings, winning six of the previous seven matchups.
Now that the Patrick Mahomes era has begun, the fan base is hopeful that the team can correct the current trend. Let’s take a look at the last time these two teams squared off.
Last Meeting: October15, 2017
Pittsburgh Steelers: 19
Kansas City Chiefs: 13
Ben Roethlisberger: 17/25, 252 yards, 10.1 avg, 1 TD, 1 INT.
Alex Smith: 19/34, 246 yards, 7.2 avg, 1 TD, 0 INT.
Le’Veon Bell: 32 carries, 179 yards, 5.6 avg, 1 TD.
Kareem Hunt: 9 carries, 21 yards, 2.3 avg. 0 TD.
Antonio Brown: 8 receptions on 10 targets, 155 yards, 19.4 avg, 1 TD.
Kareem Hunt: 5 receptions on 6 targets, 89 yards, 17.8 avg, 0 TD.
10:00 1st Quarter
After a promising start to their first drive, Dee Ford makes a big play. Ford, at the bottom of the screen, bursts off of the edge and makes a good spin move on the tackle to make a great sack on Roethlisberger. Despite Roethlisberger’s size and strength, Ford is able to hold on for the sack not only holding the Steelers to 4th down, but effectively taking the team out of field goal range. Big play for the defense who had typically struggled against the Steelers’ offense.
7:53 1st Quarter
The first drive for Kansas City was a disaster. Kareem Hunt ran for two yards on the first play. On second down, Alex Smith was chased out of bounds by Ryan Shazier and the Chiefs were charged with a holding penalty. The Chiefs proceeded to give up two points on the errant snap from Zach Fulton. Incredibly poor start for the Chiefs offense. 2-0 Steelers
7:49 1st Quarter
Wow. What a wild start. After the safety, the free kick takes a sideways bounce in front of Antonio Brown. Jehu Chesson streaks down the field for the key special teams recovery. This was a great opportunity for a Chiefs score.
6:25 1st Quarter
After an unsuccessful couple of plays, the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal despite the great field position. Harrison Butker connects on the 46 yard attempt, making it 3-2 Chiefs.
15:00 2nd Quarter
On the backs of superstars Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, the Steelers sustained a long drive and milked the clock. The Chiefs run defense was abysmal during the entire drive. This play magnifies their issue stopping Le’Veon Bell. Bell shows more strength going forward than the linebackers trying to hold him out. 9-3 Steelers.
10:37 2nd Quarter
With another drive looming for the Steelers after a disappointing drive for the Chiefs offense, Marcus Peters makes a great read on the ball. Ben Roethlisberger misses his open receiver, Antonio Brown. For most defenders, this would be an incomplete pass. However, Peters makes a great adjustment and catch on the bad pass.
2:08 2nd Quarter
After another squandered opportunity from the offense, the Steelers again drove the ball down the field. However, the Chiefs defense was able to hold them out of the End Zone. Chris Boswell makes the chip shot field goal of 24 yards after a 93 yard drive. 12-3 Steelers.
13:16 4th Quarter
After an entire quarter of both teams being stopped for minimal gains, the Chiefs put together their first successful drive. After the team marched down the field, they were held short of the end zone. Andy Reid decided to go for the touchdown rather than take the easy three points. Unfortunately, the Chiefs were covered very well and came up short.
6:26 4th Quarter
Easily the best offensive play of the game. After Alex Smith fails to find an open man at the beginning of the play, De’Anthony Thomas refuses to give up, turning and running downfield. With excellent running after the catch, the Chiefs score an important touchdown. 12-10 Steelers.
4:03 4th Quarter
The Chiefs needed to make a stop to get the ball back for a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, even when the Chiefs play the ball well, Antonio Brown does Antonio Brown things. This is what ultimately ended the Chiefs chances in this game. If Philip Gaines can hold on, the whole game looks different. 19-10 Steelers.
2:31 4th Quarter
The Chiefs marched quickly down the field to our surprise. Then, this ugliness happened. The Chiefs were desperate for a quick touchdown. Alex Smith feels the pressure and misses a wide open Demarcus Robinson. Unfortunately, the Chiefs have to settle for another field goal. 19-13 Steelers.
0:58 4th Quarter
This is the unfortunate ending after getting yet another opportunity. Alex Smith missed Demarcus Robinson again and then got sacked, leading to a 4th and 18 at a critical point of the game. This is just not going to happen. Game over for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs didn’t show any signs of life until late in the game. While the defense was able to make some key plays down the stretch, the offense could not capitalize on opportunity. In short, Le’Veon Bell ran all over the Chiefs until the 4th quarter, and Antonio Brown doomed the Chiefs on an unbelievable play.
On offense, Alex Smith looked timid and Kareem Hunt could not run well against this defense. Smith constantly checked down because of his fear of throwing an interception in a cover 2 look. This has doomed the Chiefs in previous matchups with the Steelers.
A look ahead
The Chiefs have more explosiveness on offense than this team could have dreamt of. De’Anthony Thomas and Demarcus Robinson saw considerable playing time in the 2017 game, but likely won’t next week because of the new weapons for Kansas City.
On defense, don’t expect any running back to get that many rushing yards against the Chiefs again next week. While the secondary is shaky, there is a good chance that the Chiefs are able to at least contain one dimension of the Steelers offense.
If the Steelers show a Cover 2, look for Patrick Mahomes to be more aggressive than Alex Smith ever was against Pittsburgh during his tenure in Kansas City. Only time will tell, but the Chiefs may be set up for more success this year than they were last year against the Steelers.