On October 2nd, the Kansas City Chiefs played the Pittsburgh Steelers and were completely blown out. The final score was 43-14 but only because the Chiefs scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make it appear closer. They would meet again in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Steelers would still come away victorious but it would be a much closer game. The Chiefs would hold Pittsburgh to field goals but still find a way to lose. There are many things to take away from this game but three main things.
Kansas City Chiefs Divisional Round Takeaways
Feed Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce had a boneheaded unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Kelce also dropped a pass that would have placed the Chiefs within ten yards of the end zone. However, the University of Cincinnati standout is one of their biggest playmaking threats yet barely saw the ball. He was targeted seven times for only five receptions and and 77 yards. Kelce needed to get the ball more for the Chiefs to succeed. Alex Smith has learned this the hard way and has been known to state that Kelce should get the ball more. The Chiefs spent last off-season signing Kelce to five more years. It’s time to feed him the ball like he is Tony Gonzalez.
Lack of Pass Rush
Chiefs fans everywhere were glad to hear that Justin Houston would be back this week. Houston would force Ben Roethlisberger to make terrible decisions or take a sack. But Big Ben never felt the heat of the Chiefs pass rush Sunday. The defensive front that consisted of Houston, Tamba Hali, and Dee Ford never got to him. Kansas City has prided itself recently on its pass rushing skills and without it the Steelers could capitalize on offense. The Chiefs needed to bring a solid pass rush against the Steelers and they were not able to do that in the playoff matchup.
Not Able to Stop the Run
On December 8th, Derrick Johnson went down with a ruptured Achilles. This would end up being the key injury to the Chiefs that would hurt them when it came to stopping the run. Kansas City had already lost a couple of key players when it came to their defensive line like Allen Bailey and Jaye Howard. However, losing the Chiefs all-time leading tackler in Derrick Johnson would be the final straw. Le’veon Bell averaged 5.7 yards per carry against the Chiefs defense. Bell would rush for 170 yards in 30 attempts but somehow not score a touchdown.
Kansas City had a few key opportunities to win against the Steelers. Could this be blamed on the officials? Yes, it is possible that the referees made some bad calls but they made bad calls on both teams all night. The holding call on Eric Fisher was the correct call even if they missed an obvious pass interference call earlier in the game. The truth of the matter is the Chiefs lost a game that they scored touchdowns in while the Steelers only scored field goals. That is completely on Kansas City. The defense was on the field most of the game while the offense failed to capitalize far too many times.