The Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) went into Kansas City to face the Chiefs (2-5), with the momentum of a big win over the Arizona Cardinals last week, but came up short, falling to the Chiefs 23-13. Landry Jones, coming off of an NFL debut in which he led the Steelers to a come from behind win, made his first NFL start and finished 16/29 for 205 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. Unlike the San Diego game, Jones was never really given a chance to find his rhythm. On the other side was Alex Smith, who was made to look like a Pro-Bowler by the Steelers, throwing for 251 yards and a touchdown on 21/32 passing. He continuously escaped the rush and hit the big third down pass to move the chains. Chiefs running back Charcandrick West, taking over for an Injured Jamaal Charles, rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown, in a game where the Steelers defense appeared to have left their tackling skills back in Pittsburgh. Whether or not it’s a by-product of Keith Butler’s defense, the Steelers got burned by another tight end, Travis Kelce, who got behind the defense for 73 yards on 5 receptions. The Chiefs other tight end, Albert Wilson has 3 catches himself for another 71 yards.
Coming into this game, Steelers fans were hoping that Landry Jones, unlike Mike Vick, would be able to get Antonio Brown involved in the game, which he did, hitting Brown 6 times for 124 yards. Unfortunately, none of those passes were in the endzone, although his 41 yard catch did set up the Steelers lone touchdown. LeVeon Bell was unable to find the endzone, as well, on any of his 17, which went for 121 yards. Over the last two years, the Steelers have won 68% of their games when both Brown and Bell have gone over the century mark, but yesterday’s loss came on a day where the offense could never find it’s rhythm and went almost ten minutes without throwing a pass, in the first half. The defense didn’t do much to help the offense either, as the Chiefs were able to find the redzone six times, scoring two touchdowns and three field goals. On six different occasions, the Chiefs found themselves in 3rd and 7 or longer, and converted on four of them. When the Steelers defense was ablessed to stop them , Chiefs punter, Dustin Colquitt was able to flip the field with punts of 57 and and 44 yards.
Trailing 16-3 following a Charcandrick West touchdown, that capped off a 47 yard Chiefs drive, the Steelers answered quickly. Landry Jones would set up his lone touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant with a 41 yard completion to Antonio Brown. Replay would confirm Bryant’s score in which he had to tiptoe the back left corner of the endzone. The Steelers forced the Chiefs to punt on their following drive. Trailing 16-10, the Steelers began moving the ball, all the way down to the Chiefs 19 yard-line, where they had to settle for a Chris Boswell 36 yard field goal, that cut the Chiefs lead to 16-13. The Chiefs put the game away on their ensuing drive. When it looked like the Steelers might hold on 3rd down and long, Alex Smith converted with a 26 yard completion to Travis Kelce. Moments later, Charcandrick West ripped off a 36 yard run. West then converted another 3rd and short on a quarterback option down at the Steelers 5 yard line. With 5:13 seconds left, Alex Smith hit Chris Conley with a five yard scoring pass to put the game away at 23-13.
The Steelers had a chance to pick up a half of a game on the idle Cincinnati Bengals, who are on their bye week. Instead of facing the 6-0 Bengals with a 5-2 record, the Steelers will be 4-3. Once again, the Steelers played down to the level of the competition, and failed to capitalize on an opportunity to gain ground on the NFC North leaders. This has been an issue with the team since Tomlin has taken over as head coach. The good news is that Tomlin has a good record against teams with equal or better records than his team, and next week looks to be when Ben Roethlisberger makes his return. While the defense kept the Steelers in games since Ben has been out, it was the defense that failed the Steelers in Kansas City. With Cincinnati making their way to Heinz Field next Sunday, it’s time for the Steelers to put this game behind them and prepare to move forward.