The Pittsburgh Steelers enter tonight’s game with the chance to grab the lead in the AFC North after the Ravens lost earlier today to the Raiders. Because Pittsburgh’s loss came from outside of the conference, they would technically hold a conference record, such as that means anything through four games. But the more important point is that they would be tied at 3-1 if the Steelers emerge victorious.
Both the offense and the defense are coming off of a rough outing courtesy of the Eagles, and just about everybody is looking to have a better performance this time around. Markus Wheaton in particular is looking to shake off the cobwebs, which will be all the more important with Eli Rogers out.
Also out are, of course, Ramon Foster, Robert Golden, and Ryan Shazier, replaced, respectively, by B.J. Finney, Jordan Dangerfield, and Vince Williams. In the cases of the former two, they are making their first starts in their first season.
For the Chiefs, as far as injuries go, the big news is that starting cornerback Phillip Gaines is inactive.
The Steelers opened in their 3-4 defense, with Jeremy Maclin coming over the middle for 15 yards. Chris Conley added another first-down reception for 17 yards on the next play. Already on the Steelers’ 46, Alex Smith looked to swing a pass out to Jamaal Charles, but the pass was wide and incomplete. Cameron Heyward sacked Smith on the next play to set up a third and 15. He was offsides on the next play, an incompletion. Now third and 10, the defense was able to bring pressure to force a throwaway. The punt was downed at the five.
From the five, Ben Roethlisberger used play action to go deep for Sammie Coates, who made the catch over Marcus Peters for 48 yards. Roethlisberger threw too far ahead of Antonio Brown on the next play. Le’Veon Bell got his first touch of the season on a nice snag for eight yards. The Chiefs were flagged for being offside on a deep incompletion to Brown.
From the Chiefs’ 36, DeAngelo Williams got the first carry of the game for nine yards, but a hold on David DeCastro brought the play back. From the 46 now, it was back to Williams, but he was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Roethlisberger threw behind Bell for an incompletion off his hands. On third and 20, Roethlisberger was brought down after the line let pressure get through on both edges. Jordan Berry‘s punt was caught at the 11 and returned to the 23.
Spencer Ware fumbled on the Chiefs’ first play of the drive, recovered by Ross Cockrell at the 32. A quick shovel pass to Bell picked up two yards. The Steelers tried to run a reverse for Coates, but the Chiefs sniffed it out quickly. On third and long, Roethlisberger found Darrius Heyward-Bey escaped open down the field, wide open for the 31-yard score. Five wide for the two-point conversion, Roethlisberger sat back and waited for Wheaton to flash open for the catch to take an 8-0 lead.
Steven Johnson recorded the tackle on the kick return at the 12. Ware was stopped after two yards on first down. Charles picked up six on second down. On third and short, Tyreek Hill caught a first-down pass in front of Burns playing off coverage. Heyward tipped Smith’s pass for an interception by Jarvis Jones, who returned the ball to the four-yard line. With an empty set with both backs in, Roethlisberger found Brown coming open over the middle from the right slide for the touchdown. Boswell’s extra point made it 15-0.
The Chiefs chose once again to return the ball, with Tyler Matakevich nearly making the first tackle, and Heyward-Bey cleaning it up with a tackle on the two. They were able to get some breathing room, however, with a first-down pass. From the 16, an eight-yard pass gave way an end around for a loss of two. Smith under pressure was not on the same page as his receiver on third down, who did not turn around to see the ball for an incompletion.
Following a shanked punt to the 40, Bell picked up two yards on first down, Roethlisberger hit Brown on play action for a 38-yard strike and the score. Brown was penalized for another unsportsmanlike dance. After kicking from the 20, the Chiefs were able to return the ball out to near the 30, down 22-0.
Pressure forced an incompletion on first down. Smith scrambled on second down for a short gain. He overthrew Ware with Williams in coverage on third down. On the punt, Burns was flagged for a block in the back, setting the Steelers back into their own 10.
Bell was good for five yards on a screen pass on first down to end the first quarter. Roethlisberger looked for Coates again, but Peters did a better job defending the pass to get a hand on it. On third and five, a back shoulder to Brown moved the chains with ease.
Bell squeezed through a a narrow crease for four yards on first down. Roethlisberger were sacked in the grasp, with the Chiefs dragging him down anyway, but with no flag thrown. Roethlisberger scrambled on third and long, but Marcus Gilbert drew a holding call. DeCastro was flagged for a false start to boot. A draw from Bell picked up a bunch of yards…but he needed 29, and didn’t get it. Berry’s punt was returned for a touchdown, but it was called back on a holding penalty, backing them up to the 18.
A carry for three yards opened the Chiefs’ drive. Albert Wilson picked up good chunk of yards on a screen on second down. Smith checked down to his back for a gain of a yard after finding nothing open. A cut-back run for Ware picked up about four. Stephon Tuitt bounced off of Ware for five yards and the first down.
Smith narrowly escaped a sack in the backfield, but tripped heading to the line of scrimmage for a loss of one. William Gay scraped off the block on a screen to make the tackle for a loss. Conley was able to beat Burns for the first-down reception down the left sideline.
Williams and James Harrison converged for a tackle for loss. Williams was there again to make the tackle for no gain on the screen pass to set up a third and long. Smith’s pass on third down was tipped again, this time by Tuitt, to force an incompletion, though the receiver nearly made the catch anyway. The punt went into the end zone for a touchback.
Roethlisberger found David Johnson open for a nice YAC opportunity for 26 yards to the 46. Bell picked up five yards off left guard. Williams jumped into the Chiefs’ line to pick up about three or four yards. Roethlisberger faked the hand-off to find Brown for the first-down conversion on a pass he nearly plucked off the ground.
Bell picked up nine yards up the right side, but Gilbert was down after the play. Ryan Harris checked in at right tackle. Bell picked up the first down on the following play. Jesse James caught his first pass of the night for six yards. Coates ran a corner route for the first down.
He picked up about three yards on the bubble screen within the 15. James was hit on the fade over the linebacker for the nine-yard score, the Steelers’ fourth passing touchdown of the game. Boswell’s extra point made it 29-0.
Maclin got free on third and two to get past midfield with 17 seconds left. Another completion put them into field goal territory. The holder could not bring the snap down clean and the Chiefs missed the field goal.