Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 21 of 27 passes for 300 yards and five touchdowns, as the Steelers improved to 3-1 with a 43-14 rout of the Chiefs at Heinz Field Sunday night.
- Pittsburgh punted on its first offensive series but scored touchdowns on its next two, thanks to Keith Butler‘s opportunistic defense.
On the first play of Kansas City’s second series, running back Spencer Ware fumbled while being tackled by Stephon Tuitt, and cornerback Ross Cockrell recovered at the Chiefs’ 32.
Two plays later, Roethlisberger found Darrius Heyward-Bey wide-open for a 31-yard score to make it 6-0. Pittsburgh elected to go for two and made it 8-0, when Roethlisberger connected with receiver Markus Wheaton.
On the fourth play of the Chiefs’ next series, a short pass from quarterback Alex Smith was deflected by defensive end Cameron Heyward and intercepted by linebacker Jarvis Jones, who advanced the ball to the four-yard line. One play later, Roethlisberger found receiver Antonio Brown coming across the middle and, just like that, it was 15-0.
Pittsburgh started its next offensive possession from the Chiefs 40-yard line, following a 23-yard punt from Dustin Colquitt, and quickly made it 22-0, when Roethlisberger and Brown hooked up for a second score–this time from 38 yards away.
- The 22 points were the most any Steelers team has ever scored in the first quarter in the franchise’s rich 89-year history.
Pittsburgh effectively put the game away late in the first half, when Roethlisberger ended a 10-play, 80-yard drive by hooking up with tight end Jesse James for an eight-yard score.
The rout was effectively on, when the Steelers started the third quarter and marched 75 yards on six plays and made it 36-0, after Roethlisberger found Wheaton from 30 yards away for the quarterback’s fifth touchdown of the night.
It was the fifth time Roethlisberger has thrown for five touchdowns in a game, and it was sorely needed, following his abysmal performance against the Eagles in a 34-3 loss a week earlier.
- After serving a three-game suspension, running back Le’Veon Bell made his 2016 debut Sunday night, and carried 18 times for 144 yards.
As for the defense, it looked about as dominant as it has in quite some time. After only recording one sack during the first three games, Pittsburgh notched four against the Chiefs–including three by Heyward.
Reserve linebacker Vince Williams, filling in for an injured Ryan Shazier, tallied 16 tackles (14 solo), one quarterback pressure and one sack.
While it was a great win, the news wasn’t all rosy Sunday night, as several players–including tackles Marcus Gilbert and Ryan Harris; receiver Heyward-Bey; and linebackers Anthony Chickillo and Jones–left the game with injuries.
Next up for the Steelers is a 1 p.m. date with the Jets next Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.