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Former Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster Wins First Career Playoff Game

A year after being eliminated by the Kansas City Chiefs, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster has won his first career playoff game with them.

The Chiefs knocked off the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20 in Saturday’s Divisional Round game. Following QB Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury early in the game, the battle was closer than expected. But the Chiefs came out on top.

Smith-Schuster didn’t play a significant role in the passing game with TE Travis Kelce setting a postseason record for most receptions by a tight end, a whopping 14 of them. But he made a couple of key catches including a solid gainer down the left sideline on a fourth quarter touchdown drive that helped seal the game.

He finished the game with two receptions for 29 yards.

Drafted in 2017, Smith-Schuster was 0-3 in the playoffs with the Steelers. His most recent loss came in last season’s Wild Card game, returning from an early-season shoulder injury to make his return for the postseason. But the Steelers were blown out 42-21 by the Chiefs, his last game with Pittsburgh.

Earlier in the week, he discussed his excitement of playing in the postseason with Kansas City, touting the great team he was now apart of.

“It feels good to be on this side of the ball,” he said.

Mahomes suffered an ankle injury, believed to be a high ankle sprain, in the first half of Saturday’s game. He was briefly replaced by backup Chad Henne, who led a 98-yard TD drive, but returned for the second half.

Smith-Schuster signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs in the offseason, hitting several incentives throughout the year that boosted his pay. He finished 2022 returning to form, reminiscent of his first two years with the Steelers, catching 78 passes for 933 yards and three touchdowns. A pending free agent, he’s likely to try and return to Kansas City, though he’s improved his value enough to cash in on the open market, especially in a weak wide receiver free agent class.

The Chiefs move onto the AFC Championship Game to face the winner of Sunday’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. If the Bills win, the game will be played at a neutral site in Atlanta. Meanwhile, the Steelers have not won a playoff game since 2016.

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