The Pittsburgh Steelers went into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night and defeated the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 18-16, according to ESPN. The Steelers will now move on to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game with the winner of that tilt earning a ticket to Super Bowl 51 in Houston, TX on Sunday, February 5.
The Steelers were unable to punch the ball into the end zone against the Chiefs, but kicker Chris Boswell went 6-for-6 on field goals to account for all 18 points. Pittsburgh also got a solid performance from its much maligned defense as the unit only allowed nine points after the Chiefs scored a touchdown on their opening drive.
— NFL (@NFL) January 16, 2017
Pittsburgh was led by running back Le’Veon Bell who rushed for 170 yards on 30 carries. Bell and the Steelers’ offensive line controlled the pace of the game as Pittsburgh held a 34:13-25:47 advantage in time of possession and outgained the Chiefs by a margin of 389-227.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t asked to do much as he completed 20-of-34 passes for 224 yards with an interception, but it was his completion for a first down to Antonio Brown with 1:53 remaining on the clock that allowed the Steelers to get into a victory formation and run out the clock.
Brown ended up catching six balls for 108 yards on the night with the majority of the damage coming on a 52-yard pass play in the first half where he somehow found himself matched up one-on-one with Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston. Brown had no problem burning past Houston and likely would’ve scored a touchdown on the play had Roethlisberger led him a little further.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, really struggled to get things going after their first drive of the game saw Alex Smith hit Albert Wilson for a five-yard touchdown pass that gave Kansas City an early 7-3 lead. Smith ended up completing 20-of-34 passes on the night for 172 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He struggled getting the ball to his playmakers which ended up being the downfall of the Chiefs in the 2017 NFL Playoffs.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 16, 2017
Another factor in Kansas City’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was the inability to find a consistent running game. Spencer Ware only carried the ball eight times for 35 yards. In total, the Chiefs ran the ball 14 times for 61 yards against the Steelers which was an extremely poor showing for a team that averaged 109.3 yards rushing per game during the regular season.
The Kansas City Chiefs will now sit at home for the rest of the playoffs while the Pittsburgh Steelers will travel to Foxboro next week to take on the New England Patriots. The two teams squared in Week 7 of the 2016 NFL Season with the Patriots emerging victorious, 27-16.
While the Patriots did get the victory, the Steelers played without Ben Roethlisberger who missed the game with an injury. Backup Landry Jones completed 29-of-47 passes for 281 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the loss. Bell ran the ball 21 times for 81 yards and caught 10 balls for 68 yards while Brown hauled in seven balls for 106 yards.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 16, 2017
The Patriots were led by LeGarrette Blount who rushed for 127 yards on 24 carries and Rob Gronkowski who caught four balls for 93 yards and a touchdown. Gronkowski will miss the rematch next Sunday after having surgery on a herniated disk in his back a few weeks back.
Who do you think wins the AFC Championship Game: Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots?
[Featured Image by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images]