Throw out the poor officiating, the bad spots (hey, wasn’t that a fourth down?), the whip-kick to Ben Roethlisberger‘s leg, the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs opted to hit punter Brad Wing after he held the ball for kicker Shaun Suisham on a field goal and Ramon Foster being so frustrated that someone lost a helmet in order to defend his teammates, and the remainder of the game was the Pittsburgh Steelers putting together a win in week 16 of the 2014 NFL regular season. Opting to decide their own fate, the Steelers handled their business and handed the Chiefs a 20-12 loss.
The Steelers missed the playoffs the last two seasons, something that other teams wouldn’t consider ideal yet wouldn’t see their fan-base shut down over. In the city of Pittsburgh and for ‘Steelers Nation’, it was two years of drought that made everyone parched and thirsty. The Steelers have put together back-to-back-to-back successes, playing playoff-type football over the course of the last three weeks. Against the Chiefs at Heinz Field, the Steelers didn’t create anything that will be historically remembered as a top-10 win, but they took care of business and sent the Chiefs packing.
Roethlisberger passed for 220 yards and a touchdown while Le’Veon Bell added another on the ground. The performance of the offense was methodical, taking pieces of the field one play at a time. Roethlisberger, Bell and Antonio Brown now lead of the one league’s best offenses and the Pittsburgh defense is showing teeth once again. Pittsburgh put Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith into the turf six times and bottled up Jamaal Charles, something that was key to getting through their “youth movement” since their last Super Bowl appearance four years ago and emerging as a true contender.
Both teams traded drives, but the Steelers defended the red zone well, forcing Kansas City to score all of their points via field goals. It was yet one more game where the Chiefs were unable to get a touchdown from a wide receiver. Charles was held to just 29 yards on nine attempts. He was also guilty of a costly fumble following a strange taunting penalty against William Gay on a play where Lawrence Timmons made a tackle and Gay simply stood along the sideline with his arms crossed. Vince Williams recovered the fumble.
Brown and tight end Heath Miller once again had good days with each pulling in seven receptions for 72 and 68 yards respectively. The longest pass went to Martavis Bryant for 44 yards.
Timmons led all Steelers defenders with 13 total tackles (9 solo, 1 for a loss). James Harrison and Cam Heyward added 1.5 sacks to two by Jason Worilds and one by Stephon Tuitt.
Around the AFC North
- Cleveland lost quarterback Johnny Manziel to injury and Brian Hoyer had to enter the game. It didn’t matter. Cam Newton and the Panthers took care of business, handing Cleveland a 17-13 loss.
- Baltimore played ugly football all allowed Houston to give them a 25-13 whipping.
- Cincinnati will play Denver on Monday night – a game that currently favors the Broncos.