One reason I thought the Kansas City Chiefs might be past a game like the one we saw against the Pittsburgh Steelers is because on offense they have so many playmakers. Shut down Travis Kelce? OK, Tyreek Hill will go off. Shut down Kareem Hunt? OK, Alex Smith is playing at an MVP level. It felt like the Chiefs had too much firepower to lay a total egg, which they did against the Steelers.
So, what happened? The Chiefs biggest stars were shut down, both offensively and defensively.
QB Alex Smith had his first bad game of the season going 19/34 for 246 yards and one touchdown. The numbers don’t say bad but compared to the standard he set in the first five weeks it was a bad game. The problem was the pressure. That’s what killed Alex in this game.
RB Kareem Hunt kept his streak of 100-plus yards from scrimmage streak alive which makes it six in a row. However, on the ground he had just 21 yards on nine carries. PFF had him with 29 yards after contract so that shows you how much they were in the backfield. It looked a lot like the Texans game last week until he broke out. On the plus side, he had 89 yards receiving.
TE Travis Kelce started to get going a little bit late but still had just four receptions for 37 yards. He was mostly a non-factor until the Chiefs late drives.
WR Tyreek Hill had a nice punt return late in the game but ended with just five catches for 34 yards and a nine-yard loss on one run attempt. With Hill, you’re waiting for that breakout play which never came.
LB Justin Houston’s monster season slowed down quite a bit here. He was held without a pressure on the quarterback for the first time this season. PFF says that over his last 12 games, Houston has been held without a pressure twice — both against Pittsburgh.
The one they didn’t shut down was CB Marcus Peters, who shut down his half of the field and had an interception. Unfortunately, that just made the Steelers go to Phillip Gaines’ side where ... well, he didn’t shut down that side of the field.