Here are the game’s winners and losers:
Winner: De’Anthony Thomas
There’s no other way to put it.
When the Chiefs desperately needed a fast touchdown score, De’Anthony Thomas delivered in a big way.
It was second-and-10 with less than seven minutes in a game in which the Chiefs seemed all but out of, and Thomas made a catch down the sideline and turned it into a touchdown.
The most important part of the play was the time Thomas saved on the clock. Thomas’ 57-yard score made it a two-point game, and with just over six minutes left, the Chiefs had enough time for a defensive stand and another offensive drive.
Winner: Dee Ford
Dee Ford returned to the lineup after missing back-to-back games with a back injury, and he recorded his second sack of the season.
Winner: Jehu Chesson
Zach Fulton had an untimely bad snap on the Chiefs’ first possession at the Kansas City 9-yard line, and the ball sailed over Alex Smith’s head and out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
On the ensuing free kick, rookie Jehu Chesson, in his first game in the lineup, made an outstanding play to outrun Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to jump on the football.
Winner: Kareem Hunt
Kareem Hunt is now 1st player in NFL History to start his career with 6 straight 100 yards from scrimmage games— trey wingo (@wingoz) October 15, 2017
No other player in NFL HISTORY has had as much production as Kareem Hunt through six games, a special honor for the 22-year-old.
Loser: The Chiefs’ rush defense
The Chiefs rush defense could not handle Le’Veon Bell on Sunday, as he went for 179 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries.
Steelers torturing Chiefs with zone, power & sweep plays. Defense firms up in red-zone, holds to a FG. Pitt leads 12-3 w/2:08 left in 2nd Q— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) October 15, 2017
No matter what Bell and the Steelers did, the Chiefs defenders seemed to be out of place all day long. When they were able to block up a hole, Bell used his unique patience to wait for one.
It was a terrible day for the Chiefs rush defense against one of the NFL’s best running backs.
Loser: Andy Reid
I think it’s important to note that decision-making is probably one of the hardest parts of the game, and Andy Reid showed a lot of confidence by going for it early in the fourth quarter on fourth-and-2 at the Pittsburgh 4.
The catch here is that had Demetrius Harris made the reception, we’d be raving about Reid’s call. But that’s not what happened.
In 12-3 game in which a chip-shot field goal would have cut the lead to one score, the Chiefs went for it and failed. Some thought the pass to Harris could have been ruled a touchdown:
It wasn’t and when the Chiefs turned it over on downs still down two scores, everything became much more urgent, perhaps adding to Alex Smith becoming less accurate.
Loser: Phillip Gaines
Phillip Gaines had already been struggling with the Steelers’ explosive weapons when he made his worst mistake of the game.
The Chiefs forced the Steelers to third-and-two with 3:34 left in the game, and Ben Roethlisberger and the offense opted to throw.
Roethlisberger saw Antonio Brown running down the sideline and he launched the pass.
Gaines stepped in front of Brown and looked to maybe have an interception, but instead, the ball bounced off his mask and directly into the hands of Antonio Brown, who took it the rest of the way for the 51-yard score.
Brown, one of the NFL’s best receivers, finished with 155 yards and the touchdown.
Loser: Alex Smith
Alex Smith has been wonderful this year. He was not in this game.
After Marcus Peters’ interception in the second quarter, Smith had two overthrows—first missing Travis Kelce and later on a deep ball to Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs punted away the possession and the Chiefs never got anything going in the first half.
The Chiefs had six total yards at the break.
Here is what the Chiefs did well that half:— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) October 15, 2017
There were several overthrows in the second half as well, including one in which Demarcus Robinson was wide open in the end zone which you can see here:
On the Chiefs’ final drive needing a score, Smith sailed a pass over the head of Robinson again. He was sacked a play later for a loss of eight yards, and on fourth down, could do nothing but throw it in traffic.
Alex Smith on first half: "Pretty brutal." Couldn't get into a rhythm and execute.— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) October 15, 2017
I am not writing off Smith with this game because he has been outstanding all year. Good players have bad games sometimes, and that’s exactly what this was out of Smith.