Steelers’ D holds on for 13-9 win over Chiefs
The way quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sounded Sunday night, the
Steelers not only should have lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, they
shouldn’t be allowed to show their faces in Pittsburgh any time
The Steelers eked out a 13-9 victory over a team that has now
lost four straight, and if not for an interception by Keenan Lewis
with 29 seconds remaining, could well have lost. But the fact
remained that Pittsburgh came out on top, and is still tied with
Baltimore atop the AFC North.
”It’s tough,” Roethlisberger said, ”because it’s a mixed
feeling type of thing: You’re happy to get the win, but you’re
disappointed the way the offense played. I think that’s what team’s
all about. The defense stepped up huge today.”
Yes, things may have been miserable for Pittsburgh on offense,
but clearly Big Ben wasn’t giving enough credit to the guys on the
other side of the ball.
The Steelers picked off Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko three
times and recovered a fumbled snap, despite playing most of the way
without star safety Troy Polamalu, who experienced concussion-like
symptoms after banging his head into the knee of a Chiefs player
while making a tackle.
All those miscues kept Kansas City out of the end zone for the
second straight week.
”It was a situation where we didn’t feel like Palko could get
it over our heads,” safety Ryan Clark said. ”The play Keenan made
at the end, that’s a signature play for him and for our
Roethlisberger finished 21 of 31 for 193 yards with a touchdown
and an interception for the Steelers (8-3), despite playing with a
broken thumb on his throwing hand that hurt the whole game.
”Absolutely not,” he said. ”It was not comfortable.”
Roethlisberger proved that he’s better than Palko with one good
The journeyman quarterback, making his second consecutive start
in place of the injured Matt Cassel, fared little better than he
did last week against New England, when he tossed three picks in
his first NFL start. Palko finished 18 of 28 for 167 yards and four
The Chiefs claimed former Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton off
waivers Wednesday with the intention of having him compete with
Palko for the starting job, a competition that might already be
over. Orton didn’t arrive in town until Friday, so he didn’t have
time to learn the playbook before Sunday night.
”He’ll have a much better chance this week to compete,” Chiefs
coach Todd Haley said, ”and like I said, Tyler is the starter, but
whatever position we say, if someone gives us a better chance to
win, that’s the guideline we generally follow.”
Kansas City led 3-0 in the second quarter when Palko’s first
interception, which Ike Taylor returned to the Chiefs 8, resulted
in a 21-yard field goal by the Steelers’ Shaun Suisham.
The second pick was returned by Ryan Mundy, who had taken over
at safety for Polamalu, to the Kansas City 24. The defense appeared
to hold Pittsburgh when Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali sacked
Roethlisberger on third-and-7, but safety Jon McGraw was called for
defensive holding to give the Steelers a first down.
Three plays later, Roethlisberger found Weslye Saunders in the
back of the end zone.
”He was kind of one of the last options,” Roethlisberger said.
”I saw Wes coming in the back of the end zone, he’s kind of a big
target, so I just kind of threw it up to him.”
Ryan Succop added a 49-yard field goal later in the second
quarter for Kansas City, his second of the game, but Suisham
answered with his own 49-yarder on the final play of the first
Succop added a 40-yard field goal with 6:11 left in the fourth
Polamalu left the game in the first quarter when he tackled
290-pound Chiefs offensive tackle Steve Maneri, who had caught a
pass in the flat after lining up in the backfield.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year hit his head hit
Maneri’s knee and crumpled to the turf, where he lay while trainers
came out to check on him. Polamalu was a bit wobbly when he stood
up and coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that he was
experiencing ”concussion-like symptoms.”
Roethlisberger showed little evidence of the broken thumb that
caused him to be somewhat limited in practice, hitting 10 different
receivers. He got some help from Rashard Mendenhall, who ran for 57
yards, and a defense that kept giving the Pittsburgh offense prime
The Steelers squandered a promising opportunity in the first
quarter, driving inside the Chiefs 10-yard line. Backup running
back Mewelde Moore had the ball poked out by Hali and it was
recovered by Javier Arenas in the end zone for a touchback.
Kansas City gave the ball right back when Palko fumbled the snap
Pittsburgh also had a decent drive end midway through the
scoreless third when Roethlisberger underthrew Antonio Brown down
the sideline. Kansas City safety Travis Daniels swooped in to make
the interception, but the Chiefs’ bumbling offense couldn’t
That wound up being the story of the game.
”We’re excited about winning – and winning on the road – and
making the necessary plays,” Tomlin said. ”We produced turnovers
tonight, and that was big for us.”
Notes: Kansas native Martina McBride sang the national anthem.
Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet, who attended Kansas State, threw
the ceremonial first pass. … Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey left in
the first half with an illness. … The Chiefs finished with 252
yards of total offense.