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Steelers Headed For AFC Title Showdown with Patriots After 18-16 Divisional Win Over Chiefs

If you have said the Steelers would have won in Kansas City on Sunday night without scoring a touchdown, many probably would have said you were crazy.

But sometimes in the playoffs, that’s how it goes, and that’s exactly how it went for the Steelers in their latest postseason win, a gutsy 18-16 win that probably should have been a lot more if the Steelers could have scored touchdowns instead of having to settle for six Chris Boswell field goals.

Many betting websites like had the game as the Steelers as slight underdogs, but in the end they did their part to dominate the Chiefs for most of the 60 minutes.

In the end though they will take it, and after two very different postseason wins, the team will get a third AFC Title Game shot at the big bad New England Patriots Sunday in Foxboro for the right to play in Super Bowl LI.

The Steelers lost to the Patriots in the AFC Title Game in 2001 and 2004, but both those losses came at Heinz Field.

Sunday against the Chiefs, the Steelers dominated in terms of yards and time of possession, putting up 389 yards to the Chiefs 227, and holding the ball 34:13 to 25:47.

Le’Veon Bell again was the driving force for the Steelers, pounding through for 170 yards rushing on 30 carries, a 5.7 yards per rush. The back has set records for his first two playoff games, running for 337 yards in the two wins over the Dolphins and now Kansas City.

Boswell’s foot was just a big a factor, setting a record for field goals in a Steelers playoff game with six. He hit field goals of 22, 38, 36, 45 and two 43-yard kicks for all 18 Steelers points.

They led 12-7 at half, and 15-10 after three quarters, and went up 18-10 with 9:49 to play, leaving the game in the hands of the defense the rest of the way.

The Chiefs were able to mount one final drive, getting two big calls along the way, and also converting a key fourth-and-7, and eventually getting a one-yard Spencer Ware score with 2:43 to play to make it 18-16.

Kansas City converted the two-point conversion when Alex Smith hit Demetrius Harris to appear to tie the game at 18, but on the play, left tackle Eric Fisher was called for holding on James Harrison, appearing to pull him down.

Smith’s second two-point attempt was batted away as he looked to hit Jeremy Maclin, keeping the Steelers up by two.

The Steelers needed a first down to seal the game, and after a Bell run, a pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Eli Rogers for five yards, the Steelers had a 3rd-and-3 from the 12-yard line at the two minute warning.

Going for the win, Roethlisberger rolled out, and hit Antonio Brown with a 7-yard pass for the first down to seal the win, and send the Steelers to their 16th AFC Championship game.

Roethlisberger had a pretty forgettable night, going 20-for-31 for 224 yards with an end zone pick that could at the time have seen the Steelers go up 16-7 in the second quarter.

The Steelers defense allowed their first opening drive touchdowns of the season, but buckled down after that, allowing the Chiefs to 227 yards, including 61 on the ground.

Speedy Tyreek Hill had three carries for 18 yards, four catches for 27 yards, and in four kickoffs his longest run back was just 21 yards.

Brown had six catches for the Steelers for 108 yards, including a 52-yard grab after the Chiefs had scored their opening drive touchdown to get the Steelers back into the game.

It wasn’t pretty, and if the Steelers want to make it to their first Super Bowl since their last appearance in 2010, they are going to have to play a lot better against Tom Brady and company.

For now, the 2016 Steelers are already a step ahead of 2015, and now with a third playoff win next Sunday, they have a chance to reach their 9th Super Bowl in franchise history.

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.



  1. Dave B.

    January 16, 2017 at 6:56 am

    It wasnt pretty but its a win on the road in the playoffs in one of the hardest stadiums in the league to get a win in . I’ll take it . Oh by the way , everybody please make sure to let Jay know that the Steelers did win .

  2. Jay

    January 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

    I will eat crow if NEED BE….It is time and has been for some time to find his replacement….ALL THOSE redone trips ala Bell and he can’t get ONE TOUCHDOWN!!!!! Brady, Rodgers et al get at least two or three! He has been a redbone liability for this team the past month or two and I am concerned that all the hard work by the o line which is playing better than any o line that has played with Ben and Bell’s efforts will go to waste because this guy is costing us six points repeatedly in the red zone…Come on, call it like it is will ya….!!!!!! On a positive note, I heard that Brown inexplicably recorded the post game locker room meeting where Tomlin was calling the pats assholes! WHY is Brown recording that and Why is Tomlin either not aware of it or employing someone on his roster who thinks eh can get away with that!!!!!?????? Thank God Ben had the wherewithal to laud the patriots and sort of quell the idiocy by Brown and the irresponsibility by Tomlin…Now, Ive written all that stuff before reading your reply, Dave B…Now I shall read your reply….Ok, clueless, I’ll bet you Ive forgotten more football than you know! If anyone wants to continue to give Ben a pass this year for his erratic play especially in the redone, be my guest, keep wearing those rose-colored glasses. keep drinking that yinzer kook-aid! I, unlike you all, look at things objectively! Ben is having a bad year by his standards! We are finally healthy at this time of year sans Heyward and sneeze and without the services of martinis (I hope you’re happy you *&%$#@ idiot) Bryant and Ben is playing shaky football. WE NEED TO START LOOKING TO DRAFT HIS REPLACEMENT! Let me ask you, I predicted before the game with my buddy mark who no longer posts on here ironically for the same reasons you just accused me of, that the Steelers would win if the OFFENSIVE LINE played well in a squeaker if ben struggled, in a blowout if he went off! Interesting how that played out. Why are we kicking a squib after a score which gift-wrapped a touchdown for kansas city? WHY was Ben staring down receivers (the same problem McNabb had in Super Bowl 39 which is a BIG BIG BIG reason they lost to the Pats) and not looking them off in the redone? Why are we throwing so much in the redzone? Why is he locking in almost exclusively on Brown? You’re an x’s and o’s genius, tell me! I’m a STRONG STRONG believer that an “elite” quarterback (like Rodgers) has to play elite in big games. Ben has not done that in quite a long time. Please tell me if I’m wrong, please give me examples of when he shined in postseason play! 2008 was the last time.

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