Sunday, November 27, 2011
Wrap-up: Steelers 13, Chiefs 9
By Jamison Hensley
Thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 13-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs:
What it means: The Steelers survived a last-minute comeback by the Chiefs to improve to 8-3 and remain tied with the Ravens atop the AFC North (Baltimore holds the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh because it swept the Steelers). It wasn't an impressive win for the Steelers, which was held to 13 points, their worst output since the season opener in Baltimore. Pittsburgh looked rusty coming off its 10-day break but it's now 14-9 after byes.
Fourth-quarter stop: For its second straight game, Pittsburgh needed an interception late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. This time it was Keenan Lewis who caught an overthrown pass from an overmatched Tyler Palko. Before the turnover, the Chiefs were making the Steelers sweat, driving to the Pittsburgh 37 with with 38 seconds left.
Turnover time: The Steelers nearly matched their season total in turnovers in one game, thanks to the lapses by Palko. Pittsburgh finished with four takeaways (three interceptions and one fumble recovery) after entering this game with an NFL-low six in its first 10 games. The Steelers converted 10 points off turnovers.
Injury concern: Pittsburgh played most of the game without two Pro Bowl players. Safety Troy Polamalu left in the first quarter after taking a blow to the head, and center Maurkice Pouncey came out of the game with an illness in the second quarter. Both didn't return. Ryan Mundy, Polamalu's replacement, made an interception in the second quarter that led to the game's only touchdown.
Out of the zone: One reason why the game was so close was Pittsburgh's struggles in the red zone. The Steelers have scored one touchdown despite being inside the Chiefs' 10-yard line three times. On Pittsburgh's opening drive, Mike Wallace dropped a pass in the end zone and Mewelde Moore fumbled at the Kansas City 2.
Thumbs up or down?: In his first full game since fracturing his right thumb, Ben Roethlisberger completed 21 of 31 passes (67.7 percent), which was his fourth-highest completion rate this season. But he was held to a season-low 193 yards passing. He also had one touchdown and one interception.
What's next: The Steelers return home to play the Cincinnati Bengals (7-4).