Chiefs eliminated from playoffs with 18-16 loss to Steelers

Tricia Pearson
January 16, 2017

With Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger among the best players in their respective position, Pittsburgh have overcome their early season stutter to head into the play-offs as serious contenders for a seventh Super Bowl title. The New England Patriots will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the second time this season under far different circumstances. Defenders knew what was coming - how could they not, considering Bell's 101 rushing yards on 18 carries in the first half - but there wasn't much they could do.

Chiefs: By putting pressure on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and forcing him into making mistakes. It's what he does, and what his team does - and did Sunday in a division-round contest whose kickoff was pushed back more than seven hours to avoid an ice storm that never arrived - is wear down defenses and punish them for trying. Still, New England has defeated Pittsburgh in all three of their meetings since 2012.

Against the Dolphins, Roethlisberger was solid, throwing for 10.9 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 105.9, his highest in a playoff game since the 2006 AFC Championship. This season, the teams met on October 23 in Pittsburgh, with the Patriots grabbing a 27-16 victory. Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith had less than 80 yards passing in the first half, as the defense stifled the Chiefs the entire game. They went for two points after the TD, and Smith completed a successful pass to tight end Demetrius Harris. Pittsburgh's defence was ranked 12th in yards allowed (342.6 per game), 16th against the pass (242.6 yards) and tied for ninth in sacks (39) and fewest TDs allowed (36).

The Steelers, the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs, defeated the second-seeded Chiefs 18-16 on a cold, damp Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium, giving Chiefs fans more playoff misery in the place they call home, and the place they haven't seen their home team win in the postseason since 1994.

It didn't go the way the Pittsburgh Steelers mapped it out, but in the end they got the result they were after.

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Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce was much harsher in his assessment of the performance of referee Carl Cheffers and his crew. The PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 7-3 lead. On offense, the Chiefs need to keep it balanced, attacking on both the ground and the air. The Chiefs suffered their worst loss of the season at the hands of the Steelers in week four, and will presumably be looking for a little redemption Sunday. Mike Mitchell, who played for the Oakland Raiders for four seasons, has experience playing against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"We just had to play our assignments", Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree said.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill has made a name for himself as one of the NFL's most dynamic rookies, going from special-teams standout to offensive difference-maker.

Smith led an excellent first drive following a Steelers field goal, mixing tempo, formation and personnel nicely and keeping the Steelers off guard at first.

The NFL Divisional Round has been moved to primetime on Sunday, according to NBC. National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell was in the house for the game.

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