Steelers Sweat Out 13-9 Win Over Chiefs to Move to 8-3

Kansas City Chiefs' Javier Arenas (21) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor (24) and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94)

Three weeks ago the Steelers defense allowed Ravens QB Joe Flacco to drive 92 yards for a game-winning score in a 23-20 loss at home. Sunday night in Kansas City, the defense vowed it wouldn’t happen again. And they lived up to that vow.

With Chiefs QB Tyler Palko driving the Chiefs to what would have been the game-winning score, the Steelers defense got a rare takeaway, but their third of the night, as they held off a game Kansas City squad in a hard fought 13-9 win that was more stomach turning than entertaining to watch.

The Steelers dominated in a number of areas, but all night they were unable to put the Chiefs away, and after Ben Roethlisberger’s 3rd-and-11 pass was tipped with 4:27 left to force a Steelers punt, you just knew the game would come down to the wire.

And it did.

The defense though caught a break when Palko, making just his second career start, threw a pass for WR Dwayne Bowe, and with five Steelers in the area, Keenan Lewis picked off the pass to seal the four-point win.

It was a tough night for the Steelers offense, they outgained the Chiefs 290 to 252, but managed just one touchdown and two Shaun Suisham field goals. They also fumbled a ball in the end zone, and Roethlisberger was picked off on another promising drive.

The defense though was the story, forcing Palko into a couple key mistakes, the biggest of which came at the end with the game on the line. The Steelers D also was down a man as safety Troy Polamalu left the game early with a head injury.

Roethlisberger was 21 of 31 for 193 yards and an interception for the Steelers. Palko fumbled a snap and threw interceptions to Ike Taylor and Ryan Mundy on consecutive plays in the first half.

The only TD of the night came when Roethlisberger threw a short touchdown pass to backup TE Weslye Saunders in the first half.

The win puts the Black and Gold at 8-3, and for the time being ties them with the Ravens up top the AFC North. The Ravens do hold the tie breaker with two wins over the Steelers.

The Steelers are back at home Sunday at 1pm when they play host to the Cincinnati Bengals, who they beat back on November 13th 24-17 in Paul Brown Stadium.

About the Author

Matt Loede
Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

13 Comments on "Steelers Sweat Out 13-9 Win Over Chiefs to Move to 8-3"

  1. 13 points?? really?? Uneven performance by Arians and Big Ben. Defense bailed them out without Woodley/Polamalu.If that is what to expect for the next 5 weeks, 2 wins is all thats in the cards. Arians desire to “Just throw”and throw it deep keeps the continuity on offense in the closet! My God, Ben targeted Brown ALL NIGHT! Ok, Brown is emerging as a star, but what happened to Saunders and Miller after the 1st Quarter? It was all deep passes to Wallace (who dropped 2 TD in my book) and Brown. Sorry guys, Ill take the win but I am not optomistic this morning. Mendy was having a good game but GOD forbid we let that continue!~

  2. A football game that ends 13-9, like the Steelers victory over the Chiefs last night, sounds like a mighty defensive struggle. But in this case, although both defenses played well at times, it was more a case of reciprocal ineptitude on offense.

    Due to injuries, KC was forced to play at QB one Tyler Palko, late of the Univ. of Pittsburgh, where he was a mediocre QB with a propensity for throwing interceptions. Palko is at best ‘a journeyman quarterback,’ Chris Collingsworth noted before the game. During the first half of the KC game, Palko quickly proved him right. Little in Palko’s skill set had changed; he threw poorly, including an interception tossed directly to Ike Taylor. Yet, in the second half, he gathered himself. With a little help from the Steelers switch to a zone defense and our anemic pass rush, he managed to do a passable imitation of Joe Montana, throwing lasers through our secondary, until, on the final drive to victory, his inconsistency caught up with him again, and he lasered the ball to Keenan Lewis (who finally delivered the break through game I predicted several weeks ago).

    Meanwhile, our offense looked rusty from the long layoff, no doubt occasioned by the bye week. Moreover, Ben R. was hampered by his broken thumb, the O-line by the illness of M. Pouncey and a season’s worth of holding calls, and the entire offense by the dismal play calling of B. Arians (as usual). Yes, Dr. Jekyll stayed home and Mr. Hyde directed the aerial circus, which looked completely out of sync. Only the sparkling end zone catch of Saunders’ (our emerging star at TE) is worth mentioning.

    The rest was not a thing of beauty. On our first trip into the Red Zone, Arians ran third-down RB Moore between the tackles, instead of the designated short yardage power RB, Redman. Moore ran into a brick wall and uncharacteristically fumbled. But he shouldn’t have been used in that situation in the first place. The offensive ugliness then continued with Ben’s fifty yard interception in the 2nd quarter – immediately after Mendenhall had rambled for 10 yards and a first down and the running game seemed to be springing to life. (Arians’ simply can’t resist throwing the bomb at the most inopportune times.) After that, the offense hardly mattered. Our Red Zone efficiency, the litmus test I postulated before the game, says it all: 1 TD in 3 visits to the red zone – 33.3%. For top tier teams, that ratio is much closer to 75-80%. In fact, we had trouble even getting near the red zone in the second half.

    So what positive spin, what enameled gloss, can we possibly give a game like this? Shall we attribute the ineptitude to ‘rust’ and hope for better things in the games ahead? Shall we rejoice in our emerging young talent, like Saunders and Lewis? Or shall we observe, accurately, that a mediocre team like KC made the Steelers look impotent on offense much of the night and that our defensive front remains very vulnerable to the run and our secondary very porous even to passes from the indifferent arm of Tyler Palko? All are true, my friends. Take your pick.

    Some of us like to tape the games and enjoy watching them again, looking for flaws and little rays of hope. If you do that with this game, you might wish to mix yourself a drink. A strong one. It looked like the Steelers played the game under heavy sedation – and, except for masochists, who luxuriate in pain, that is the only way it should be watched.

    • Terrible play calling and poor execution. Wallace had 2 dropped for tds that would of blew the game wide open, yet the steelers offense continued to let KC hang around. The 4th quarter was very ugly offensively. Arians couldn’t decide whether to run the clock out or go back to his aerial circus which led to a complete disaster offensively. With the Moore fumble and we’ll say 1 dropped td by Wallace, it should have been a blow out game. The Tony and I watched the game together and he kept saying “just wait, were coming close, we’ll break out soon.” Well that wasn’t the case. Time after time we saw stupid long bombs and predictable runs, Arians needs to figure out what works and stay with it. In all honesty, I have only seen 1 good game called all year by our coaches on both sides of the ball and that was vs New England. Very frustrating that we continue to shy away from what works.

      Also, I don’t feel like the offense what that inept last night, I’m giving the KC defense a lot of credit this morning. Their secondary was aggressive and made plays all night, we are lucky more balls weren’t picked.

      I do believe that we will right the ship in time for Cinci this week, however, I’m a firm believer that a team should play their best game after a bye week due to the extra time of preparation. The inconsistencies and lack of discipline fall directly on the coaching staff in my book

  3. The offense was bad last night but i think KC had something to do with that. That is a pretty good defensive team. The Steelers were pretty balanced last night run/pass but it seemed they would go away from the run after success. Last night would have been a good night for 35 or 40 rush attempts instead of only 30 or so. I disagree with Mark that we will only win 2 more games. It is dangerous to check off wins and losses but we will sweep the Browns and beat the Rams. If we split the 49ers and Bengals games the Steelers are 12-4. Worst case we end year at 11-5 and a wild card team. Not bad for a team that seemingly everyone thought was dead after week one. 8-3 ladies and gentlemen and Jay.

    • 23 rushes not counting Ben scrambling and Brown’s attempt to pass compared to 31 pass attempts. Not too bad of a ratio, however the run plays were yet again dull and predictable.

    • Peter, I didnt mean to imply they WILL win only win 2 more games. I meant that if this inconsistancy remains, this lack of identity on offense remains, then 2 more wins is about all we will see. This team, on paper, should run the table. The bad play calling and lack of a solid O-line may keep us from doing that. 2 wins is all they will muster if they play like they did last night down the stretch.

  4. Its such a week to week league in my opinion. Winning on the road in primetime is tough to do. Especially in a hostile place like Arrowhead. Not sure you can call the steelers inconsistent with an 8-3 record. Looking at the stats again, it was not as balanced as i initially thought. I guess that explains why i was as frustrated as everyone with them not committing to the run again or at least sticking with it for more than 2 plays.

    It is obvious that i look more at their overall record and simply whether they won or lost. I rarely disagree with any steeler fan on this site or their analysis. I love Tomlin’s quote from a few years ago. Willie Parker mouthed off to the media about the team not running the ball enough and that the the team should get back to Steeler football. Tomlin’s quote was something like, “…each morning i walk past 5 lombardi trophies, not 5 rushing titles. The issue is winning”. He went on to say that the team needs to run the ball more efficiently because it will help the team achieve their ultimate goal of winning another lombardi. I guess all that has changed since that quote is that Tomlin walks past 6 lombardi trophies every morning.

  5. plain and simple what turd of a game. this should have been a blow out.

  6. Running backs are a dime a dozen. No business picking an RB anywhere before round 3 maybe even round 4. Not a “Mendy” guy. He runs like a pussy and does not like contact. He is a pussy in cleates.

  7. Articles on Sunday’s game by the Post-Gazette sportswriters mirror many of the comments here, but provide insights into some of the recent personnel moves (elevating Legursky over Kemoeatu, for example). They also reported on the stern reminder the coaches gave the receivers about team goals taking precedence over individual honors. But none of the sportswriters tried to explain Arians playcalling or why he ignores Redman when we get into the Red Zone. They seem as baffled by his coaching as we are.

    Several offensive players (including Ben R.) acknowledged that the offense laid an egg on Sunday, but attribute it to the layoff and allege that nothing is fundamentally wrong on offense. That seems to be a fair assessment and a sound explanation for the lack of execution. Those comments have no bearing, of course, on Arians’ curious decision-making or our very real deficiencies on defense, as noted above.

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