Game Recap: Chiefs Defeat Steelers, 23-13, Improve to 2-5 from The Mothership
Charcandrick Westadded 110 yards rushing with a touchdown on 22 carries as the Chiefs head into their London trip with a victory. It was West's first 100-yard rushing day of his career, and the first by a Kansas City running back this season.
Chiefs vs. Steelers: 12 Observations from The Mothership
1. Chiefs veteran leaders step up on defense
Coming into Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Kansas City Chiefs were going up against a team that had a plus-6 giveaway-takeaway ratio over their past three games, which had resulted in 28 points and helped them pick up two big wins.
But on Sunday it was the Chiefs who won the turnover battle, forcing three Steelers turnovers and not giving it over once to the Steelers defense, which is defined by the zone pressure they love to bring.
Chiefs Safety Eric Berry's Interception Was a Top Moment on Sunday from The Mothership
It's an amazing story that keeps getting better with every passing week.
For the first time since December 15, 2013, Berry was able to come down with an interception for the Chiefs defense.
With the Chiefs holding a 9-3 lead midway through the third quarter, Berry was able to dive and secure a Landry Jones pass that had bobbled off the hands of All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown after linebacker
Derrick Johnsontipped it coming across the middle and Ron Parkertackled Brown to the ground.
Berry left his feet and came down with the ball secured under his arms, hopped up and returned it 15 yards before celebrating with his teammates.
Young Playmakers Step Up For Chiefs Offense on Sunday from The Mothership
After their 23-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid praised the young playmakers for their performance.
"Alex [Smith] had a nice day with the minions, all those little guys running around out there," he said. "Those guys made plays."
He's obviously talking about the young trio of second-year running back
Charcandrick West, second-year receiver Albert Wilsonand rookie receiver Chris Conley.
Those three stepped up when they were needed the most.
Tony Gonzalez Returns to Kansas City, Shares His Thoughts on Chiefs Kingdom from The Mothership
Former Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez was the drum honoree before Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, stepping on the same field he once dominated.
Throughout his 12 years in Kansas City, Gonzalez established himself as one of the best in the league, beginning a career that would eventually land him in 14 Pro Bowls over the course of a 17-year career.
He's the NFL's all-time leader in yards receiving (15,127), receptions (1,325) and touchdowns (111) among tight ends, not to mention plenty of other numerous records.
For the first 12 years of his career, Gonzalez was one of the faces of the Chiefs franchise, and because of that, he holds a special connection with the fans even to this day.
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Chiefs end five-game skid with 23-13 win over Steelers from The Kansas City Star
Chiefs defensive lineman Jaye Howard could see Tamba Hali — the teammate he playfully calls "The Old Man" — closing in on Landry Jones, and before he knew it, the 31-year-old Hali had knocked the football loose.
Howard had never scored a defensive touchdown before, and ever so briefly, he thought about scooping it up and going for it during the Chiefs' 23-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Afterward, though, he couldn't have been happier his instincts led him to play it safe.
"I said, ‘Aw man, Old Man (Tamba) got (a sack),' and all I saw was the ball on the ground," Howard said with a hearty laugh. "I knew Big Red (Andy Reid) would have probably been mad if I would have got it and fumbled, so I had to just fall on it. (Taking) no chances at all."
Sense of relief fills airs as Chiefs snap 5-game losing streak from Chiefs Digest
The Chiefs put a dismal five-game losing streak in the books after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-13, at Arrowhead Stadium, effectively lifting a large weight off the team's shoulders.
"You know what, winning is a habit," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "Winning is a habit - losing is a habit, too - and to actually get off of that losing streak, it feels a little bit better.
"Everybody's got their chest out, but we know we have to play with our backs against the wall every week because we put ourselves in a deep, deep hole. We're not oblivious to - our record is 2-5, so we've got a long way to go."
The Kansas City Chiefs had been in the same position twice before this season, trying to hold onto a dwindling fourth-quarter lead inside Arrowhead Stadium.
This time, they managed to do it.
Alex Smith calmly led the Chiefs downfield in the closing minutes, hitting Chris Conley with a short touchdown toss, and Kansas City held off the ailing Pittsburgh Steelers 23-13 on Sunday to snap a five-game skid with its first home victory this season.
The Chiefs' offensive line played well — seriously from The Kansas City Star
The rhythm of a losing locker room is deliberate, melancholy, a week's worth of hard work and confidence chewed through and digested by the better team on the other side.
Nobody felt that more than the biggest men on the team, the offensive linemen who for most of this disappointing season simply have not been good enough. They have been overmatched, outperformed and in a particularly frustrating trend often beat on simple stunts.
All of that changed, for at least one day, a new lineup of blockers helping lead the Chiefs to a 23-13 win over the Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Exhale. Smile. Cherish.
This is their first win in 42 days. Their first win at home all year. Their first two home games included two brutal losses, blown 14-point leads and a season-ending injury to their best playmaker. For perhaps the first time all season, the Chiefs won the line of scrimmage.
Chiefs' Jeff Allen appreciative of return to starting lineup from Chiefs Digest
"Jeff brings a little juice," Reid said. "He's got a certain attitude that he's got and we've eased him in at the tight end spot and goal line at short yardage."
Reid used the recent games to evaluate Allen's effectiveness, and a fully healthy Allen proved hard to keep out of the lineup, which led to Sunday's change along the offensive line.
"I wanted to see how he handled that because it's different in practice than it is in a game because it's live," Reid said. "It looked like he was able to push off it and put himself in a position here to actually go four quarters. That was the reason why we went with it."
Allen, who played with a brace on his right knee, had to overcome plenty of obstacles before he returned to the starting lineup.
"You just want to help your team any way you can," Berry said after the game, "and if it's turnovers -- that's the biggest way we can -- so be it. Some of those things we do on the field don't show up on the film, but it's just making those plays that come your way, just being in good position."
Berry made sure to enjoy the moment. "I felt like I celebrated a long time," he said.
Eric Berry's interception inspires Chiefs from The Kansas City Star
The Chiefs forced three turnovers Sunday. Johnson contributed a leaping interception late in the second quarter, and Tamba Hali powered through for a strip sack of Jones, who fumbled it away to Jaye Howard. All were big plays.
None felt better than Berry's.
"For all the things he's been through, for him to get that interception, everybody was smiling from ear to ear," Johnson said. "He's a player who exemplifies courage and discipline, and it showed today. It was a great play."
As for the play, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton emphasized the possibility of tipped passes this week. The Chiefs could be facing a quarterback making his first start, and that was the case.
Defensive effort headlines highs in Chiefs' win over Steelers from Chiefs Digest
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers fought in a first half battle of field goals. A pair of second-half Kansas City touchdowns secured the win for the Chiefs over the Steelers, 23-13.
The Chiefs (2-5) won their first home game of the season and ended the five game losing streak skid.
As with the majority of Kansas City's games this season, it's been a tale of two halves. In those halves, Kansas City has done some things right and some things head shake worthy.
QB Alex Smith: Smith failed to see open receivers in the end zone on each of the Chiefs' first two drives. His failures resulted in the Chiefs settling for field goals each time rather than scoring touchdowns.
RB Knile Davis: He was initially supposed to share the featured back role with West. But Davis got one carry for two yards. The other running back, Spencer Ware, got the ball twice.
Charcandrick West emerges in place of injured Jamaal Charles from The Kansas City Star
Perhaps most improbably and nearly as important, it also was delivered with a sterling performance from Charles' replacement, Charcandrick West.
Yes, the same man whose last game was marked by the clownish-but-costly fumble he lost when the ball was poked out by Chiefs offensive lineman Donald Stephenson.
A week after West stood and owned that misplay, he was almost giddy after rushing 22 times for 110 yards and his first NFL touchdown in a game that effectively said this:
Just because he isn't Charles doesn't mean he can't provide a significant boost to this team.
Chiefs RB Charcandrick West savors career game against Steelers from Chiefs Digest
Reaching the 100-yard rushing barrier and the touchdown marked career firsts for West, but the third-quarter scoring plunge from the 1-yard line made the day extra special.
"Man, I haven't come down from it yet," West said with a large smile. "I'm still in the end zone in my books; that's a great feeling.
"To score an NFL touchdown, it's already hard to get in the end zone, for me to score my first one here with my guys, it's a blessing."
A few weeks ago, Charcandrick West was a bit player and Chris Conley a struggling rookie. They have since been cast into major roles because of the injuries to Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Maclin.
West and Conley responded in a big way in the 23-13 win over the Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium. West rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown and Conley led the Chiefs with six catches that included a 6-yard touchdown catch from Alex Smith. Each touchdown was a career first.
West and Conley could fade back to oblivion next week against the Detroit Lions in London. Just as likely, though, Sunday's game could be a career-changer for both players.
In Jeremy Maclin's absence, Chris Conley, Albert Wilson step up from The Kansas City Star
Conley, the rookie from Georgia, was making his third start, and he grabbed his first regular-season NFL touchdown pass.
Wilson turned in one of the biggest plays, taking a short pass from Alex Smith, breaking a couple of tackles and turning it into the game's longest play, a 40-yard reception that set up the third of Cairo Santos' three first-half field goals.
The uncertainty of Maclin's availability for Sunday emphasized the need for versatility among the wide receivers in practice this week.
"This week in practice was interesting because a lot of things were up in the air," Conley said. "We practiced some plays with different people in different spots."
Chiefs survive a nasty case of deja vu in victory over Steelers, 23-13 from Chiefs Digest
It was in the second half Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium when déjà vu showed up on the Chiefs sideline.
With less than two minutes to play in the third quarter, the Chiefs led the Pittsburgh Steelers by 13 points. There were 17 minutes left in the game. All looked good for the Chiefs to end their five-game losing streak.
But they had been in similar positions in two other home games in the 2015 season; holding leads late in games against Denver and Chicago. They lost both times, as the Broncos and Bears came back to win.
This time, the Chiefs banished déjà vu, made big plays when they had to be made and beat the Steelers 23-13 to end their losing streak.
On the Steelers: Time to turn it over to Big Ben after 23-13 loss to Chiefs from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers did not necessarily lose to the Chiefs (2-5) because Roethlisberger did not play and Landry Jones did. Jones, the star of their 25-13 victory against Arizona the previous game, made his first NFL start. He committed all three of their turnovers by throwing two interceptions and fumbling. But one pick-off came when Antonio Brown bobbled a pass that was tipped and then intercepted when he lost it. That led to Kansas City's first touchdown in the third quarter. And Jones lost a late fumble when Tamba Hali beat Alejandro Villanueva to sack him and strip him of the ball.
"We have to protect the ball. As a team, we fell short of that," said Brown, who took the blame for the interception that was intended for him. "The trajectory of the ball changed, but I have to make a play in that situation."
For the most part, Jones played an acceptable game as a third-string quarterback.
Up next: 1-6 Lions take on 2-5 Chiefs in London from The Detroit Free Press
AFC West chumps?
In 2011, the Lions swept the AFC West and then-coach Jim Schwartz was only too happy to point out that his team owned the AFC West that year. This year, it's a bit different. The Lions are trying to avoid being swept by the AFC West. They're already 0-2 after their opening-game loss against the San Diego Chargers and their Sunday night loss to the Denver Broncos. This time they get an international audience for their game against the Chiefs and then take on the not-quite-horrible Oakland Raiders at Ford Field Nov. 22.
London's NFL love affair shows signs of growing more substantial yet from The Guardian
At Wembley on Sunday two of the smallest and most inconsequential NFL teams of the past decade, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills, played out a minor classic in front of 84,000 people. Next weekend, another sell-out crowd will revel in the whole fist-bumping, XXL jersey-over-hoodie wearing, Lite beer-slurping experience all over again when the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions come to town.
Let that marinate for a moment. We have had two NFL games in London in eight days involving four buck-average teams, and that's being kind. But despite tickets costing between £37.50 and £105 a pop, the games have been sellouts.
How many sports - football aside - could sell out Wembley twice within a week? And how many could do it with teams of the equivalent standard of the Jaguars, Bills, Chiefs and Lions, who between them have won a grand total of eight out of 28 matches this season?
Lions back to ineptitude, lose 28-19 to Vikings from The Detroit Free Press
At 1-6, the Lions have the worst record in the NFC — the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens, both 1-5, are the only other one-win teams in the NFL — and they're about to take their abomination of a season international.
The Lions leave tonight for a weekend game in London against the also hapless Kansas City Chiefs, and it's anyone's guess what happens — and who's left — when they return.
"It's disappointing, especially the way the games have gone," injured linebacker DeAndre Levy said. "Especially this one, it's kind of what it's been at various times throughout the year. We get to a certain point in the game and it's like we just collapse. We've got to find a way to get over that hump. It's going to be a very long season if we don't start winning some games so we've got to find a way to get over that hump, man."
Chiefs sponsor American Indian Heritage Month program from The Kansas City Star
In a statement, the American Indian Community Working Group, said it welcomed the chance to create awareness and understanding of issues that affect Native Americans.
"We recognize the opportunity to engage in a cross-cultural consultation and dialogue with the Kansas City Chiefs in hopes of facilitating a process that - over time - can lead to a cultural change in disrespectful behavior seen at times by fans at NFL games," the statement said.
Kevin Peak has been coming to Kansas City Chiefs games for six years, and this season he added a new piece to his wardrobe.
"I want to represent our Chiefs well, and the head dress is the way to do it," he said.
But American Indian Center president John Learned says Peak's $40 garment can often be offensive to Native Americans.
"All of those feathers are earned, and as we want to preserve our culture, we want to respect it and we want others to respect it as well. But you can't respect something you don't understand," Learned said.
That is why for the second year in a row, they've partnered with the Chiefs for American Indian Heritage Month. The goal is to educate fans, like Peak, on ways to show their team spirit in a respectful way.
50 things we learned in Week 7 of the NFL season from USA Today
41. Nothing made us feel better than Chiefs S Eric Berry intercepting a pass, his first since battling back from cancer.