Chiefs Vs. Steelers: Game Balls

The Kansas City Chiefs losing streak reached six games after falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-13 in overtime.

Normally you don’t want to hang your hat on moral victories, but when a team parted ways with the chase for a playoff spot weeks ago, it’s appropriate. The Chiefs were expected by nearly everyone to get massacred in front of a national TV audience, but instead they had their first lead of the season (!) and nearly pulled off the upset.

Instead of former Chiefs head coach — and current Steelers offensive coordinator — Todd Haley being able to exact revenge by running up the score, he was forced to try game plan against a one-win team with his backup QB. That’s because Kansas City linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston sandwiched Ben Roethlisberger in the third quarter, knocking him out of the game with a shoulder injury.

The game was tied, 10-10, when Big Ben was forced to leave, with the two teams trading fourth quarter field goals, including a 46-yarder from Ryan Succop after an impressive drive led by Matt Cassel to help the Chiefs send the game to overtime.

Things seemed to finally going the Chiefs way when they won the coin flip and got the ball first in overtime. A touchdown would end the game and send Kansas City to just their second win and one of the biggest upsets in the NFL this season. Instead, Cassel tossed an ugly interception on the second play of overtime and the Steelers immediately kicked a game-winning field goal.

This is a man’s game and no one is going to hand out medals for participation, but it was nice to finally see the Chiefs actually show up for a game. To do it on the road against a good Pittsburgh team just shows how much more impressive that is.

While we’d all like to see the Chiefs get back into the win column, it’s nice to finally get back to handing game balls out to players that are actually deserving.

Offense: Jamaal Charles

It’s still amazing how many big spots he is left off the field, but when it came to what he can actually control, Charles was fantastic against the Steelers. He had a little extra pep in his step, which is saying a lot for the electric running back.

Charles gave the Chiefs their first lead of the season, helping the franchise avoid even more embarrassment, with first quarter, 12-yard touchdown run. For the night, Charles finished with 100 yards rushing on 23 carries, compared to just 30 yards on 10 carries by his backup Peyton Hillis.

For reasons only known to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Charles did not catch a single pass, something that hasn’t happened since the first week of the season.

Defense: Derrick Johnson

There is no shortage of players you can call out from this Chiefs team that have disappeared throughout this lost season. Johnson, however, is not one of them. He flies around the field every single week and that was no different Monday night.

After giving up an average of nearly 32 points their last three games, Johnson led a fantastic effort that limited the Steelers offense to under 250 total yards and 13 points. The game-winning field goal came immediately after Cassel’s interception and certainly shouldn’t be hung on Johnson and the rest of the Chiefs defense.

Johnson had a game-high 13 tackles, including two for a loss. As long as his teammates continue to match his intensity, the Chiefs might be able to avoid being a weekly joke around the league.

Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt

The resurgence of the Chiefs punter continued this week, as Colquitt matched a career-high with five punts inside the 20. For the season, he now has placed 27 inside the 20, just four short of last year’s total with seven games remaining.

What could be even more amazing, his one touchback doubled his total for the season! He’s on pace to smash his previous career-best of five touchdback, which he’s done three times.

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