The Chiefs won the game on the only possession of overtime. Backup quarterback Chase Daniel led the Chiefs on a 71-yard drive that ended with his 15-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Rico Richardson.
But while the Chiefs rallied from an early 10-0 deficit and won for the first time in three preseason games under new coach Andy Reid, they were far from perfect. Their running game was again unproductive while the defense failed to contain Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and didn't force a turnover.
The Chiefs' starters left the game for good early in the third quarter with the score tied 10-10. The Chiefs fell behind 10-0, allowing the Steelers to score on each of their first two possessions.
Andy Reid's Chiefs Top Steelers In OT, 26-20 from The Mothership
No scoring took place until later in the third quarter, when Gradkowski hit Steelers WR Markus Wheaton for a 34-yard TD pass. PIT 17 KC 10.
On the very next kick, the Dave Toub-Kevin O'Dea special teams factor for the Chiefs was once again showcased. Chiefs rookie RB
Knile Davistook the ensuing kickoff from nine yards deep in his end zone and didn't stop until he covered 109 yards for the score, silencing the Steelers fans. KC 17 PIT 17.
The Chiefs, to this point, had nothing going on - and that's probably overstating "nothing." There are reasons for this. Reasons that don't necessarily mean the Chiefs will struggle this season. But that doesn't make it any better to watch. That doesn't make the optimism any easier to manufacture.
At this moment - 1 minute, 18 seconds left in the first half of what would eventually turn into a 26-20 overtime win against the Steelers - fans back home had watched 136 plays and 82 minutes of preseason football since the last - and only - touchdown by the Chiefs' offense.
Their quarterbacks had been sacked 11 times, they saw what their team looks like without Jamaal Charles against the 49ers, and, in general terms, watched an offense satisfied with slow-and-steady when the rest of the NFL has gone fast-and-furious.
In other words, it was a fine time for hope when the Chiefs started their last drive of the first half with 1:18 left.
Bowe came alive in the second quarter. He caught his first preseason pass in the opening period, on a 6-yard comeback pattern. But in the second quarter, Smith faked a handoff to Charles to the left, rolled right and hit Bowe on a catch-and-run for 30 yards.
"It was good protection and Alex went through his reads, sending me late on a comeback and threw the ball where it needed to be," Bowe said of the Chiefs' longest offensive play of the preseason. "I made a play, spin a defender and got a first down.
Chiefs rookie running back Knile Davis couldn't have returned the kickoff any farther if he tried.
Davis fielded a kickoff as far back in the end zone as possible - nine yards deep - and returned it 109 yards for a touchdown in the Chiefs' 26-20 preseason win over Pittsburgh on Saturday night, continuing the team's spectacular run of special-teams play.
Davis' return came a week after Quintin Demps returned a kickoff 104 yards for a score against San Francisco. Had it been a regular-season game, Davis' return would have set an NFL record, breaking the mark of 108 yards shared by New England's Ellis Hobbs (2007) and Green Bay's Randall Cobb (2011).
Questions And Answers From The Chiefs-Steelers Game from KC Star
Can we already call the Jon Baldwin trade a success?
It's far too early for that, but it's probably not a coincidence the passing game came alive after the Chiefs unloaded their unproductive wide receiver. Ultimately, the success of that trade from the Chiefs' standpoint should be based not on what A.J. Jenkins does, but what the Chiefs can get from Donnie Avery, who inherited the starting spot after the trade.
Another Chiefs Game, More Riddles from KC Star
For most, the NFL preseason is tedious enough. And an overtime game? Even more pointless. Almost numbing.
But don't suggest that to Chiefs No. 2 quarterback Chase Daniel, who drove his team to the game-tying field goal and threaded a 15-yard touchdown pass to Rico Richardson in overtime as the Chiefs beat Pittsburgh 26-20 on Saturday at Heinz Field.
"It's more playing time," said Daniel, who considers the preseason his own personal playoffs. "Absolutely. It means everything."
Chiefs Cover Two: Game Day Edition from The Mothership
Between the training camp practices, team meetings, road travel, games and more, we've been giving fans a closer look at the players on the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs roster.
Today, we catch up with Chiefs OL Stephen Baker and Chiefs CB
Kennard Cox, as both players were signed as free agents and have since participated in training camp, bringing them to today, where they're competing for spots on the 2013 Chiefs roster.
KCChiefs.com Video: Post-Game With Mitch Holthus
KCChiefs.com Video: Knile Davis Explains His 109-yd Kickoff Return
KCChiefs.com Video: Daniel: 'This Means A Lot To This Team'
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs vs. Steelers Highlights
KCChiefs.com Photo Gallery: Photo Highlights From Chiefs At Steelers
Chiefs Learn To Play To Smith's Strengths In Preseason Win from FS Kansas City
In fact, during that 2000-12 stretch, Chiefs teams that averaged 0.0 wins in exhibitions went on to average 6.4 victories in the games that actually counted.
So a little hallelujah after a 26-20 overtime win at Pittsburgh late Saturday night is allowed, if not outright encouraged. In the mirror, 1-2 looks better than 0-3, even if only by a follicle.
And speaking of looking better, did you happen to catch Alex Smith? Not the skittish, happy-feet Smith who quarterbacked the first 28 minutes of the contest. The Smith that worked the 2-minute drill the way Yo-Yo Ma works a cello.
Chiefs 26, Steelers 20, OT from The Associated Press via ESPN
The Pittsburgh Steelers spent 25 minutes knocking around Alex Smith.
The Kansas City Chiefs' new quarterback responded with 5 minutes of nearly flawless football, the kind that provided a glimmer of what could be for a player -- and a team -- in the midst of rebuilding.Smith guided the Chiefs to a pair of scoring drives late in the first half in a 26-20 overtime victory over the Steelers on Saturday night, sprinting 38 yards to set up a field goal then completing 6 of 7 passes on a 72-yard touchdown drive that tied it just before the starters traded their helmets for baseball caps.
Five Things To Know From Chiefs-Steelers After 26-20 KC Victory from The Associated Press via FOX News
Three weeks into the preseason and the Steelers still have a bagel next to their name in the standings. Even on a night they didn't trail until the final play, the result in an otherwise meaningless game is a problem.
"It wasn't good enough," said Brown, who caught three passes for 61 yards. "We've got a lot of work to do."
So do the Chiefs, but things were more decidedly upbeat on a night coach Andy Reid loosened the reins and let quarterback Alex Smith go to work.
Why The Chiefs Will Be A Wild Card from KC Star
Certainly Andy Reid is a huge upgrade as a head coach, and Alex Smith is a marked improvement at quarterback. That should account for four or five more wins. But what made me put them in the AFC playoffs along with New England, Cincinnati, Houston, Denver and Baltimore?
When predicting how a season will go, I'm a big believer in analyzing the schedule. And the Chiefs have a favorable schedule, starting with the opener at Jacksonville, another 2-14 team from a year ago with a rookie head coach.
Mike Catapano Plays In First NFL Preseason Game For Chiefs from Long Island Newsday
Playing linebacker, Catapano assisted on one tackle in the Chiefs' 26-20 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday night at Heinz Field.
Catapano, who grew up in Bayville, starred at Chaminade High School before playing college ball at Princeton, where he won the Ivy League's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.
Observation Deck: Steelers-Chiefs from ESPN
The same goes for Polamalu. The oft-injured safety is healthy and has been active as ever this preseason. There is no need to allow him anywhere near the field on Thursday night. Polamalu was all over the field against the Chiefs, making four tackles and recovering a fumble in two-plus quarters of work. Polamalu disrupted a fourth-and-1 run by Jamaal Charles in the first quarter after perfectly timing the snap, and the Chiefs' Pro Bowl running back was stuffed for no gain. Even on the unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty, Polamalu showed impressive closing speed in nearly chasing down Smith.
Jaguars Turnaround Can Start With Rookie GM Dave Caldwell from CBS Sports
Caldwell, 38, the product of proven mentors in Bill Polian and Thomas Dimitroff, did a good job of injecting some immediate speed and excitement to the roster in the draft, but there are undoubtedly players who will be cut elsewhere who could start or play regularly for the Jaguars.
They will get the second crack at all waiver-eligible players let go, and, as Caldwell alertly pointed out, the team ahead of them in waiver order, Kansas City, plays a different system. Players who fit the Chiefs' schemes probably don't fit his. "So hopefully, we'll be getting first crack at a lot of the guys we like," he said from his office in EverBank Field before kickoff against the Eagles.
If You Only Knew Now What You Will Know Then from The Sunday Dispatch
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Kansas City finished 2-14 last year and somehow managed to send six players to the Pro Bowl. How does that happen? It means the team was more talented than its record. Add Andy Reid as head coach and you have the makings of a nice surprise in K.C. Remember how good Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy were in Reid's offense in Philly. Well, Charles is a BETTER back than those guys.
Through two preseason games, Bowe has one target from Smith. Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star says Smith has hardly looked downfield, and Bowe will keep seeing double coverage until another receiver appears as a reliable threat.
Fantasy impact: Smith isn't a downfield quarterback. That hasn't been his game since entering the NFL. Owners shouldn't expect a huge return on Bowe this season.