Making his first NFL start, third-year quarterback Landry Jones didn’t exactly pick up where he left off a week earlier, when he passed for 168 yards and two touchdowns in a little under a half, after replacing Mike Vick in the victory over the Cardinals. However, Jones did do an adequate job, passing for 209 and yards a touchdown. Unfortunately, Jones also turned the football over three times–two interceptions and a fumble. Grade: C+
Le’Veon Bell looked like his usual dominant self, rushing for 121 yards on 17 carries. DeAngelo Williams did a fair job as the short-yardage specialist, going one for two on fourth down conversions. Unfortunately for Williams, he dropped a pass on what would have been a key first down early in the game, with the Steelers facing a third and two from the Kansas City six yard-line. Grade: B+
Heath Miller had no catches in a game for the first time since 2008. He did stay in a lot to help block, however, and considering Jones was only sacked twice, and the team totaled 147 rushing yards, Miller deserves at least an average grade. Grade: C
Antonio Brown found his early-season form, pulling in six catches for 124 yards. But Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton combined for just five catches and 61 yards. Bryant did pull in Pittsburgh’s only touchdown on the day, when he caught a 19-yard pass from Jones late in the third quarter and managed to get both feet in bounds despite bobbling the football. Grade: B-
Again, the offense rushed for 147 yards, and Jones was only sacked twice in 29 passing attempts. Considering the line was down two starters, Alejandro Villanueva was making his first career start at left tackles and Kansas City has some of the best pass-rushers in the NFL in Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, the line acquitted itself just fine. Grade: B
Missing defensive end Stephon Tuitt due to injury, the defensive line wasn’t as disruptive and active as it had been in recent weeks. Alex Smith came into the game having been sacked 23 time, yet, he faced very little pressure on Sunday and was only sacked twice. Also, the Chiefs, despite missing running back Jamaal Charles, totaled 138 yards on the ground. Grade: C
Too many missed tackles, and, obviously, the linebackers deserve their share of the blame for failing to place great pressure on Smith–although Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons were each credited with a half of sack. Also, Travis Kelce proved to be yet another high-pedigree tight end who was a match-up problem, catching five passes for 73 yards. Grade: C
The Chiefs were simply too good on third downs, converting nine of 16 on the afternoon. Obviously, a lot of the blame has to go on the defensive backs. Despite missing Jeremy Maclin, Albert Wilson and Chris Conley teamed up for 134 receiving yards on nine catches to go along with Kelce’s 73 receiving yards. Grade: C-
Chris Boswell remains perfect on field goals, as he connected from 23 and 36 yards out on Sunday, and Jordan Berry averaged 45.5 yards on two punts.
As for the return game, Dri Archer continued his rather modest momentum, returning four kickoffs for 116 yards–including a 38-yard return.
The coverage unit left a lot to be desired, allowing 25.3 yards on kickoff returns and a 25-yard punt return by De’Anthony Thomas early in the game that set-up the Chiefs first field goal.
Considering what the team was up against, a young quarterback playing in a hostile environment and with an offensive line that was starting another inexperienced player at left tackle, for the Steelers to only have one penalty on the day was a testament to coaching and focus. Of course, the many missed tackles on defense were not a testament to great coaching and focus.
Also, head coach Mike Tomlin going for it on fourth and one twice may have been a bit too aggressive, especially considering Boswell’s perfect string of field goals made since coming to Pittsburgh. Grade: B-