The Chiefs lit up the Steelers for 21 points in Pittsburgh during the first quarter, but the Steelers returned the favor in the second, setting up a second half slugfest in which the Chiefs prevailed 42-37, defeating the Steelers on the road for the first time since 1986.
The Chiefs defense opened the game with attitude, forcing the Steelers into a three and out on their opening possession.
Pittsburgh attempted to punt away from Tyreek Hill, but De’Anthony Thomas made them pay with a 53-yard punt return that started the Chiefs at the Steelers 10-yard line. After Travis Kelce was called for offensive pass interference on second down, Patrick Mahomes hit Chris Conley for a 15-yard touchdown pass, and for the second week in a row, the Chiefs led 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
#Chiefs De’Anthony Thomas with a 53-yard punt return to set up a touchdown for Chris Conley pic.twitter.com/Ny2sYuND7V— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 16, 2018
The Steelers didn’t have much better luck on their next possession. Chris Jones blew up their first play from scrimmage, dropping James Conner for a three yard loss. After Ben Roethlisberger bobbled the shotgun snap on third down, he had to throw it away, and the Steelers had to punt again.
Starting at the Chiefs 29, Mahomes went looking for a new big play target — and found one in Sammy Watkins. He hit Watkins on consecutive passes — the second one a 40-yard completion that put the Chiefs at the Steelers 20, opening the way for a 19-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce that extended the Chiefs lead to 14-0 less than six minutes into the game.
Big drive for Sammy Watkins, who found space in the defense, leading to the TD. pic.twitter.com/NkHc8PtYBf— Tom Martin (@TomKCTV5) September 16, 2018
The Steelers managed to get some traction against the Chiefs defense on their third possession, working their way past midfield. But the drive stalled after consecutive incompletions, and Chris Boswell missed a 49 yard field goal attempt.
Starting with a short field, the Chiefs again featured Watkins — first with a 17 yard reception, and then with an end around that went for 31 yards, which set up a five-yard touchdown pass to Kareem Hunt. 21-0 Chiefs.
Nice blitz, Steelers. pic.twitter.com/9GTRzb9Hd4— Clay Wendler (@ClayWendler) September 16, 2018
It almost got worse for the Steelers before it got better. On the next drive, Justin Houston sacked Roethlisberger at the Steelers 14, knocking the ball loose. After passing through the hands of several players, Chris Jones picked it up at the five and ran into the end zone for an apparent Chiefs touchdown. But the play was nullified when Orlando Scandrick was called for defensive holding on the play.
Then the Steelers finally got to work. Roethlisberger found a rhythm with intermediate passes, and worked his team down to the Kansas City 26, where he hit Jesse James for a touchdown pass, narrowing the score to 21-7.
The Chiefs next possession was spoiled by a sack and and a false start penalty, forcing Dustin Colquitt’s first punt of the game. Starting at the Steelers 15, Roethlisberger again depended on short and intermediate passes to get his team into the red zone. After a defensive holding call on Steven Nelson gave the Steelers a new set of downs at the Chiefs two-yard line, Roethlisberger hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a touchdown pass. But Chris Boswell missed the extra point, and the Steelers trailed 21-13.
After a touchback, the Chiefs got a first down on a nice run from Hunt and a nine yard pass to Kelce, but then the drive stalled. Another false start penalty — this one on Eric Fisher — put the Chiefs in a hole, and under pressure on third down, Mahomes was unable to convert.
After the two minute warning, Roethlisberger hit James for a 32 yard pass, getting the Steelers into Chiefs territory. After working their way into the red zone — thanks in no small part to a pass interference call on Terrance Smith — the Chiefs managed to get the Steelers into third and 10 at the 14. Roethlisberger then hit James Washington for a touchdown pass.
Even though it appeared Roethlisberger might have been across the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball, the touchdown was confirmed on replay. With a successful two point conversion, the teams went into the locker rooms with the score tied at 21.
That is an illegal forward pass. #Chiefs pic.twitter.com/Fab73R1ouD— Clay Wendler (@ClayWendler) September 16, 2018
After not even targeting Tyreek Hill in the first half, the Chiefs wasted no time getting Hill the ball in the second. Mahomes got him the ball with a short pass on the first play from scrimmage, and Hill turned it into a 36-yard gain. Two plays later, Travis Kelce caught his first touchdown pass of the season on a 25-yard bullet from Mahomes, and the Chiefs took a 28-21 lead.
On their next possession, the Steelers again depended on the short and intermediate passing game to drive deep into Kansas City territory. With the Steelers knocking at the door, Steven Nelson intercepted Roethlisberger in the end zone, returning it to the 20. But the officials had noticed Nelson grabbing Antonio Brown’s jersey, and the play was nullified. Two plays later, James Conner powered across the goal line, and the game was tied at 28.
After a touchback, Mahomes moved the Chiefs past midfield, and then connected with Kelce on a 31 yard strike to the Steelers 12. After another pass to Kelce put the Chiefs at the door, it was Demarcus Robinson’s turn. Mahomes hit him at the back of the end zone for an apparent touchdown, but the initial call was overruled and changed to an incompletion on the field. The Chiefs challenged the ruling, and were rewarded with a touchdown when it was determined Robinson had two feet in bounds on the catch. The Chiefs took a 35-28 lead.
YOU CANNOT STOP @PatrickMahomes5 and the @Chiefs!— NFL (@NFL) September 16, 2018
His FIFTH TD of the day.
3:15 left in the 3rd quarter.
: CBS #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/HBLzohLEz6
The Steelers went three and out on their next possession, forcing a punt that started the Chiefs at their own 35. On the first play, Mahomes went back to Watkins, who came through with a broken tackle after a short reception that turned into a 25-yard gain. The two teams traded penalties for a few plays, and then Mahomes found Hill for a 29-yard touchdown pass — his sixth of the day, to the fifth Chiefs receiver. 42-28 Chiefs.
The Chiefs held the Steelers to another three and out, but were pinned to their own one yard line on the ensuing punt. Mahomes missed Hill on a deep pass, and then the Chiefs went to Kareem Hunt, who was smothered in the end zone for a Steelers safety. That narrowed the score to 42-30 Chiefs.
Starting at their own 30 after the free kick, the Steelers couldn’t make headway against the Chiefs. A sack from Allen Bailey put Pittsburgh at third and 20, and after a penalty wiped out an 18 yard gain, and the Steelers couldn’t convert on third and 25.
After a touchback, the Chiefs offense downshifted to eat up the clock. It was working fine until Chris Conley fumbled the ball after a short pass, and the Steelers recovered at their own 34 with 5:10 remaining in the game.
On the next play, Roethlisberger hit James for a 46-yard gain to reach the red zone. The Chiefs then forced the Steelers into fourth down, and the Steelers were able to convert, setting up first and goal at the six. The Chiefs held for three downs, but on fourth down, Roethlisberger couldn’t find an open receiver, and scrambled for a touchdown. The Steelers then trailed 42-37 with just under two minutes remaining, and three time outs still in their possession.
With the game on the line, the Chiefs gained a first down with two tough runs from Kareem Hunt. On the next play, Mahomes fumbled the snap under center, but the Chiefs recovered. After a short gain from Hunt, the Chiefs faced third and nine to put the game away. Unable to convert with a handoff to Ware, the Chiefs were able to bleed away enough time to punt to the Steelers with only 12 seconds remaining. But the Steelers were called for roughing the punter, ending the game.
In his third start for the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes was 23 for 28 for 326 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions, which was good for a near-perfect passer rating of 154.8. He was sacked once.
Ben Roethlisberger completed 39 passes on 60 attempts for 452 yards against the Chiefs secondary, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Chiefs sacked him once.
Travis Kelce led Chiefs receivers with 109 yards on seven catches, with two touchdown passes. Sammy Watkins had 100 yards on six catches. Kareem Hunt rushed for 75 yards on 18 attempts, but also had a receiving touchdown. The Chiefs combined for 127 yards rushing, and allowed only 33 yards rushing.
Steve Nelson (cramps) and Reggie Ragland (stinger) are the only two injuries to report, per Andy Reid.— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) September 16, 2018
The Chiefs come home for Week 3, facing the San Francisco 49ers in their home opener.