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The Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, hoping to keep their playoff hopes alive. Instead, Pittsburgh had no answers to Kansas City, as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs defeated the Steelers 36-10. Mahomes completed 23 of his 30 passes and threw for three passing touchdowns. Kansas City was without their star tight end Travis Kelce, but it didn’t seem to matter, as many other guys in their receiving core stepped up. Kansas City’s leading receiver for the contest was Byron Pringle, who caught six passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers had no answer for Kansas City’s weapons, as they allowed 381 total yards.
One of the biggest issues with the Steelers is the offense, and more specifically, the offensive line and play calling. The Steelers haven’t scored a first-half touchdown in the past five games for the first time since 1940. Pittsburgh was 1-4 in the red zone, an issue that could have made a huge difference in this game. Kansas City however, was 4-6. In order to win games, success has to be found in the red zone. The weather was a big factor as well, with winds up to 30 miles per hour in the stadium.
The wind led to an early missed field goal by Chris Boswell, and multiple by the Chiefs. Throughout this season, the Steelers have displayed their eagerness to win mainly in the second half, something that is not acceptable against the Kansas City Chiefs. Veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had very little time to throw the ball, and it's something Steelers fans have noticed all season long. The offensive strategy has been to get the ball out fast, but it hasn’t always translated to success.
Another important factor in The Steelers' loss was turnovers. Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception in the first quarter on a flea-flicker play. Kansas City converted and scored a touchdown. Diontae Johnson then fumbled the football early in the second half, which led to another Kansas City touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger then fumbled late, which led to a Kansas City field goal. The Steelers dug themselves in a hole too deep and were not able to even attempt a comeback.
Although throughout the Steelers struggles, rookie running back Najee Harris has shown his elusiveness, with 93 rushing yards on 19 attempts. Another star contributing heavily to the offense is Diontae Johnson, who had 6 catches for 51 yards, and scored the Steelers' only touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, middle linebacker Robert Spillane led the team in tackles with 13, with Minkah Fitzpatrick coming in a close second with 12. Minkah Fitzpatrick has been a big chunk of the Steelers' defense this season, due to the poor tackling and play recognition. It is not very common for a free safety to retrieve so many tackles on defense, but it displays the issues Pittsburgh has had all year with the running and passing game.
The Steelers finish out the season with the Cleveland Browns next week, and the Baltimore Ravens the week after. These are must-win games for the Steelers, in hopes to sneak their way into the postseason. They currently sit at a record of 7-7-1, in a very competitive AFC race. The Steelers must step up the next two weeks, as both Cleveland and Baltimore are also fighting for a playoff spot.