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Final score: Chiefs shrug off COVID absences, trounce Steelers 36-10

A short-handed Kansas City team handled another AFC playoff hopeful, earning a division-clinching victory.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight week, the Kansas City Chiefs had a COVID-impacted roster — but unlike their last game, they had no trouble overcoming it. They throttled the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-10, scoring on the first four possessions and holding Pittsburgh without points until late in the third quarter. The win gave Kansas City its sixth consecutive AFC West title.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished with 23 completions on 30 attempts, totaling 258 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions — a 135.5 passer rating. On the ground, running back Darrel Williams led the way with 55 yards on 11 carries. The top receiver was Byron Pringle, who caught six of his seven targets for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs’ defense forced three turnovers.

The Chiefs won the opening toss, deferring to the second half. From the 25-yard line, Pittsburgh got a big gain early with an 18-yard jump-ball completion to wide receiver Dionate Johnson over cornerback Mike Hughes. However, the run defense stuffed the first-down runs — and the ensuing third-and-10 ended with a sack by defensive end Frank Clark.

From its own 27-yard line, the Kansas City offense got things going with a third-down conversion by wide receiver Tyreek Hill. A few more completions past the sticks got the Chefs into Pittsburgh territory — then a dump-off to running back Darrel Williams went to the 12-yard line. After a short-yardage conversion on fourth down, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire finished the drive with a tackle-breaking touchdown, giving Kansas City an early 7-0 lead.

After another touchback, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tried to make a big play out of a flea-flicker — but cornerback Charvarius Ward intercepted the attempt.

On the Steelers’ side of midfield, the Chiefs quickly got into a third-and-2; an open Byron Pringle went 18 yards and close to the red zone. Another 18-yard gain put Williams at the five — then from there, a bullet to Pringle scored to make 14-0.

At the start of the second quarter, the Steelers faced third-and-4; cornerback L’Jarius Sneed broke up a pass at the sticks to force another punt.

From their own 20-yard line, the Chiefs started with a first-down catch by tight end Noah Gray — then Darrel Williimas flew through the line of scrimmage for a 12-yard gain — his second big run of the drive. Past midfield, Kansas City got to third-and-2. Mahomes stepped away from pressure and delivered a short pass to wide receiver Mecole Hardman to earn 14 yards. On the next third down, he tried for Josh Gordon — but he couldn’t make tough a catch; a field goal made it 17-0.

Midway through the second quarter, Pittsburgh got into a rhythm with plays by Harris and wide receiver Chase Claypool. Eventually, the Steelers couldn’t convert a third-and-10, leading to a missed field goal attempt.

To answer, Kansas City drove down the field quickly, getting a 50-yard gain on a completion to running back Derrick Gore. A few plays later, Hardman turned a quick-screen pass into an eight-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 23-0.

As the two-minute warning hit, Pittsburgh attempted a fourth-and-1 in their own territory — but it was denied with a good play by defensive end Melvin Ingram and cornerback Charvarius Ward.

The Chiefs got into position before the half to add on a field goal — but Elliott Fry missed it. They went into halftime with a 23-0 lead.

Out of the break, Kansas City couldn’t get a drive going, quickly punting away to the Steelers.

A few plays into the next Pittsburgh drive, Johnson fumbled in open space, allowing the Chiefs to recover; safety Tyrann Mathieu recovered the ball.

From there, the Chiefs chipped away with nice gains from Williams and Hardman; once they were in the red zone, a great catch-and-run play by Byron Pringle turned into a 16-yard touchdown that stretched the score to 30-0.

Midway through the third quarter, the Steelers looked to claw back into the game. A few big completions to wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud — and chunk gains on the ground by their running backs — got them into Chiefs’ territory. After a defensive pass interference penalty, the Steelers were deep in the red zone — but eventually settled for a field goal on fourth-and-15.

With a 30-3 lead late in the third quarter, the Chiefs leaned on Derrick Gore in the ground game — earning first downs with a handful of successful carries. Past midfield, they found themselves in third-and-1; Williams took a carry from the fullback spot to easily get a first down as the third quarter ended.

In the fourth quarter, a big pass to Pringle set up another field goal to make the score 33-3.

On Pittsburgh’s first play of their next drive, a penetrating Tershawn Wharton forced a fumble that Jarran Reed scooped up and returned to the Pittsburgh seven-yard line.

Chiefs’ backup quarterback Chad Henne entered the game with a 30-point lead. After two mishandled snaps, the Chiefs settled for a field goal to take extend their lead to 36-3.

As the Steelers moved down the field on a meaningless fourth-quarter drive, they took up a lot of time. At the end, a touchdown by Dionate Johsnon made the score to 36-10.

With less than three minutes remaining, Henne tried to lead a game-closing drive — but Kansas City couldnthet get a first down and punted away.

From the two-minute warning, the Steelers’ offensive backups drove down the field to end the game. The final score: 36-10 Chiefs.


Injuries


Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire left the game and went to the locker room in the third quarter after going down hard on his shoulder. The team announced him as questionable to return with a collarbone injury. Later, he was downgraded to out.

Safety Tyrann Mathieu came up limping after a play in coverage during the third quarter. After a brief visit to the bench, he returned to the field on the same possession. Later, the team announced he was out with a quad injury.


Special teams


Placekicker Elliott Fry converted both of his point-after attempts early in the first half. Midway through the second quarter, he made a 44-yard field goal. But he missed the extra point after the team’s third touchdown — and then missed a 39-yard field goal right before halftime. In the fourth quarter, Fry made two field goals in the 30-yard range.

Punter Tommy Townsend only punted once, which went to the Steelers’ 30-yard line.

Punt returner Mecole Hardman had one return — an 18-yard gain early in the game.


Statistics


CATEGORY PIT KC
Total Yards 303 381
Total Plays 70 67
Yards per play 4.3 5.7
Rushing Yards 130 127
Rush Attempts 25 35
Yards per rush 5.20 3.60
Passing Gross Yards 194 258
Sacks/Yards lost 2/21 2/4
Passing Net Yards 173 254
Comp/Att/Pct 28/43/65% 23/30/77%
Yards per pass 3.80 7.90
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Fumbles lost 2 0
Turnovers 3 0
Penalties/Yards 5/40 5/41
Total Drives 11 10
First downs 20 25
Rushing first downs 6 9
Passing first downs 13 16
Penalty first downs 1 0
Third down (Made/Att/Pct) 5/13/38% 4/11/36%
Fourth down (Made/Att/Pct) 2/3/67% 1/1/100%
Goal to go (Made/Att/Pct) 0/0/0% 2/3/67%
Red Zone (Made/Att/Pct) 1/4/25% 4/6/67%
Touchdowns 1 4
TDs/Rushing 0 1
TDs/Passing 1 3
TDs/Interception 0 0
TDs/Kickoff Return 0 0
TDs/Fumble Return 0 0
TDs/Punt Return 0 0
TDs/Defense/ST 0 0
Safeties 0 0
Extra Points (Made/Att) 1/1 3/4
Field Goals (Made/Att) 1/2 3/4
Two-Point Conv (Made/Att) 0/0 0/0
Kickoffs (Num/EZ/TB) 3/2/2 8/5/5
Punts (Num/Yds) 2/121 2/91
Gross Punting Avg Yds 60.5 45.5
Net Punting Avg Yds 41.5 35.5
Total Rtn Yds (No KOs) 20 18
Punt Returns (Num/Yds) 1/20 1/18
Kickoff Returns (Num/Yds) 3/61 1/20
Int Returns (Num/Yds) 0/0 1/0
Punts blocked 0 0
FGs/PATs Blocked 0/0 0/0
Timeouts (Rem/Used) 0/3 3/0
Time of Possession 25:18 34:42
Attendance - 73,371

CHIEFS PASSING C ATT YDS AVG TD LG INT SK SKYD RTG
Patrick Mahomes 23 30 258 8.6 3 50 0 2 4 135.1
TEAM 23 30 258 8.6 3 50 0 2 4 --

STEELERS PASSING C ATT YDS AVG TD LG INT SK SKYD RTG
Mason Rudolph 5 8 35 4.4 0 12 0 0 0 72.4
Ben Roethlisberger 23 35 159 4.5 1 24 1 2 21 73.4
TEAM 28 43 194 4.5 1 24 1 2 21 --

CHIEFS RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Derrick Gore 12 43 3.6 0 10
Darrel Williams 11 55 5.0 0 12
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 9 27 3.0 1 7
Chad Henne 2 0 0.0 0 0
Michael Burton 1 2 2.0 0 2
TEAM 35 127 3.6 1 12

STEELERS RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Najee Harris 19 93 4.9 0 21
Benny Snell Jr. 5 20 4.0 0 8
Mason Rudolph 1 17 17.0 0 17
TEAM 25 130 5.2 0 21

CHIEFS RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD LG TGTS YAC
Josh Gordon 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Blake Bell 1 11 11.0 0 11 1 1
Demarcus Robinson 2 15 7.5 0 9 2 2
Tyreek Hill 2 19 9.5 0 10 2 5
Byron Pringle 6 75 12.5 2 22 7 23
Darrel Williams 3 30 10.0 0 18 3 32
Mecole Hardman 3 31 10.3 1 14 5 34
Derrick Gore 3 61 20.3 0 50 3 34
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 1 4 4.0 0 4 1 8
Noah Gray 2 12 6.0 0 7 2 2
TEAM 23 258 11.2 3 50 29 141

STEELERS RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD LG TGTS YAC
Kevin Rader 1 7 7.0 0 7 2 1
Ray-Ray McCloud 4 25 6.3 0 17 8 12
James Washington 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Diontae Johnson 6 51 8.5 1 18 9 30
Benny Snell Jr. 1 6 6.0 0 6 1 10
Zach Gentry 4 31 7.8 0 12 4 15
Cody White 3 16 5.3 0 6 3 10
Chase Claypool 4 41 10.3 0 24 6 -1
Najee Harris 5 17 3.4 0 6 7 24
TEAM 28 194 6.9 1 24 42 101

CHIEFS FUMBLES FUM LOST FF REC
(OWN)
TD REC
(OPP)
TD
Jarran Reed 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Tyrann Mathieu 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Tershawn Wharton 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Joe Thuney 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Patrick Mahomes 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chad Henne 2 0 0 2 0 0 0
TEAM 3 0 1 3 0 2 0

STEELERS FUMBLES FUM LOST FF REC
(OWN)
TD REC
(OPP)
TD
Alex Highsmith 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Ben Roethlisberger 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Diontae Johnson 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM 2 2 1 0 0 0 0

CHIEFS DEFENSE TOT SOLO ASST SACK YDS INT TFL PD QBH TD FF FR
Dicaprio Bootle 8 6 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ben Niemann 7 5 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Juan Thornhill 7 4 3 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
L'Jarius Sneed 6 4 2 0.0 0.0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
Mike Hughes 6 4 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Willie Gay 5 2 3 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Anthony Hitchens 5 2 3 0.0 0.0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Dorian O'Daniel 4 2 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Charvarius Ward 3 3 0 0.0 0.0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
Chris Jones 3 2 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Derrick Nnadi 3 0 3 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tyrann Mathieu 2 2 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Josh Jackson 2 1 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Alex Okafor 2 0 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Frank Clark 1 1 0 1.0 8.0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
Tershawn Wharton 1 1 0 1.0 13.0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Jarran Reed 1 0 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Mike Danna 1 0 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Joe Thuney 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Daniel Sorensen 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Chad Henne 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
TEAM 67 39 28 2 21 1 4 3 2 0 1 5

STEELERS DEFENSE TOT SOLO ASST SACK YDS INT TFL PD QBH TD FF FR
Robert Spillane 13 5 8 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Minkah Fitzpatrick 12 5 7 0.0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Joe Schobert 10 4 6 0.0 0.0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Alex Highsmith 6 2 4 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Isaiahh Loudermilk 6 3 3 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cameron Heyward 6 3 3 1.0 4.0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
Terrell Edmunds 5 2 3 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Joe Haden 4 3 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Arthur Maulet 4 3 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Carlos Davis 3 1 2 0.0 0.0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Montravius Adams Sr. 2 2 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Ulysees Gilbert III 1 1 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T.J. Watt 1 1 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tre Norwood 1 1 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Henry Mondeaux 1 0 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Taco Charlton 1 0 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ahkello Witherspoon 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
TEAM 76 36 40 2 4 0 3 2 3 0 1 0

CHIEFS INT INT YDS AVG LG TD
Charvarius Ward 1 0 0.0 0 0
TEAM 1 0 0.0 0 0

STEELERS INT INT YDS AVG LG TD
TEAM 0 0 0 0 0

CHIEFS KICK RET NO YDS AVG LG TD
Mecole Hardman 1 20 20.0 20 0
TEAM 1 20 20.0 20 0

STEELERS KICK RET NO YDS AVG LG TD
Ray-Ray McCloud 3 61 20.3 29 0
TEAM 3 61 20.3 29 0

CHIEFS PUNT RET NO YDS AVG LG TD
Mecole Hardman 1 18 18.0 18 0
TEAM 1 18 18.0 18 0

STEELERS PUNT RET NO YDS AVG LG TD
Ray-Ray McCloud 1 20 20.0 20 0
TEAM 1 20 20.0 20 0

CHIEFS KICKING FGM/FGA PCT LONG XP PTS
Elliott Fry 3/4 75.0 44 3 12
TEAM 3/4 75.0 44 3 12

STEELERS KICKING FGM/FGA PCT LONG XP PTS
Chris Boswell 1/2 50.0 34 1 4
TEAM 1/2 50.0 34 1 4

CHIEFS PUNTING NO YDS AVG TB I20 LG
Johnny Townsend 2 91 45.5 0 0 50
TEAM 2 91 45.0 0 0 50

STEELERS PUNTING NO YDS AVG TB I20 LG
Corliss Waitman 2 121 60.5 1 0 63
TEAM 2 121 60.0 1 0 63