PITTSBURGH 20 – KANSAS CITY 12
The Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) are heading to the playoffs after a 20-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs (8-7). The Steelers and Bengals will battle next week at Heinz Field for the AFC North title.
“It was a big fight by our football team today,” Mike Tomlin said. “We did what was necessary to secure victory.”
The prize is now on winning the division and hosting a wildcard game.
“We have a standard here and missing the playoffs is not one of them,” left guard Ramon Foster. “We’re in the show right now, but our goal is to get the division next week.”
In the win vs Chiefs, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 220 yards and 1 touchdown and Le’Veon Bell rushed for 63 yards and added a 1 yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Antonio Brown racked up 72 yards on 7 receptions and Brown’s 3 yard TD reception in the third put the Steelers up 17-6.
Brown having one of the greatest statistical seasons ever for a wide receiver, now has 122 receptions and needs two receptions vs the Bengals to pass Herman Moore for second all-time. Brown needs 130 receiving yards to become the 6th receiver in NFL history to post 1,700 receiving yards in a season.
The Steelers offense was limited to 20 points for the second straight week but Ben Roethlisberger was fantastic in taking what the Chiefs defense gave him. A very efficient game from Roethlisberger, going 18/25 and Pittsburgh was 50% on third down.
For the Steelers, though, the story of the game was the defense as a whole.
James Harrison returning after missing the last two games due to a knee injury, wrecked havoc all day and Harrison was a nightmare for 2013 1st overall pick Eric Fisher to contain.
Few expected the type of dominant performances the Steelers have gotten from Harrison this season, multiple times now. Harrison told reporters this week he feels the best he has all season going into today’s game and he wasn’t joking, finishing with 7 tackles, two for loss, and 1.5 sacks in the win.
The Steelers front-seven dominated the line of scrimmage and sacked Alex Smith six times. Jason Worilds led the team with 2 sacks, while Harrison and Cam Heyward each were credited with 1.5 sacks. Stephon Tuitt also had 1 sack.
More dominance from the linebacker group today, Lawrence Timmons provided a monster game with 13 tackles, one for loss, including a game changing tackle with 27 seconds left in the first half as the Chiefs were faced with a 4th and 1 from the Pittsburgh 12-yard line and Timmons stuffed Jamaal Charles for a loss and turnover on downs.
Another key turning point was mid-way through the third quarter when the Chiefs were driving and rookie Stephon Tuitt flashing his athleticism, forced a Jamaal Charles fumble at the Steelers 25 yard line as the Chiefs again were inside the Steelers 30 yard line and got no points.
The Chiefs offense came into the game as the No. 1 redzone offense, converting 67.5 percent (27 touchdowns in 40 possessions) and went 0-4 in the redzone today.
Game ball to James Harrison and the Steelers front seven.
The Steelers not only have an opportunity to win the AFC North next Sunday, a win would also earn them the No. 3 seed in the AFC as the Indianapolis Colts are on their way to falling to 10-5 as the Cowboys are routing the Colts 28-0 going into the third quarter.
What’s intriguing with this group is they’ve treated the last two weeks like the playoffs and have answered the bell, a chance to have great momentum going into the post-season with a win vs Bengals.
“It’s a divisional game and it’s at home, so we’re not looking past that,” Ben Roethlisberger said of next week’s matchup. “We’re going to treat that like a playoff game, like we’ve had the last three weeks.”
The Bengals are home tomorrow night vs the Broncos.