NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 Game Recap: Kansas City Chiefs 36, Pittsburgh Steelers 10

Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) rolls out to throw against Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith (56) during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs dominated from the opening snap, scoring on their first four possessions to secure a convincing 36-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers to cement their spot at the top of the AFC.

Patrick Mahomes & Co. got nearly everything they wanted on offense, accumulating 381 yards at an average of 5.7 yards per play. The Chiefs' defense produced similar success against the Steelers, forcing three turnovers and allowing just 4.3 yards per play in the win.

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Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback

Mahomes earned a 66.5 passing grade on first review, but the Chiefs quarterback captained an explosive passing attack to finish with 258 yards and three passing touchdowns. He threw the ball well at the intermediate to deep levels of the field, completing seven passes beyond 10 yards for 125 yards and a score.

Running Back

Clyde Edwards-Helaire amassed 27 yards and a touchdown on nine attempts before exiting the game with a collarbone injury. Darrel Williams took over the rest of the way, carrying the ball 11 times for 55 yards while catching three passes for 30 yards.

Derrick Gore was similarly effective in the passing game, hauling in all three targets for 61 yards.

Player Attempts Rushing Yards Receiving Yards Missed Tackles Forced
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 9 27 4 2
Darrel Williams 11 55 30 1
Derrick Gore 12 43 61 2
Wide Receiver/Tight End

A plethora of players stepped up in the absence of Travis Kelce, as nine separate receivers caught a pass for the Chiefs.

Byron Pringle proved to be a dependable option for Mahomes, catching six of his seven targets for a game-high 75 yards and two touchdowns. Pringle accounted for all three explosive receptions among Chiefs receivers and tight ends. Mecole Hardman caught all three of his catchable passes for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Tyreek Hill was surprisingly absent in the win, as he saw just two targets for 19 yards on 20 routes.

Player Routes run Targets Yards Yards per route run
Noah Gray 28 2 12 0.43
Byron Pringle 28 7 75 2.68
Tyreek Hill 20 2 19 0.95
Demarcus Robinson 20 2 15 0.75
Mecole Hardman 16 5 31 1.94
Offensive Line

The Chiefs offensive line dominated up front against a quality Steelers pass rush, finishing with four pressures allowed on 30 pass-blocking snaps.

Center Creed Humphrey added another impressive performance to his rookie campaign, allowing zero pressures to earn an 84.0 pass-blocking grade upon first review. The only offensive lineman to allow multiple pressures was Andrew Wylie.

Player Pass-blocking snaps Beaten by defender Pressures allowed Pressure rate
Trey Smith 32 2 1 3.1%
Creed Humphrey 32 0 0 0.0%
Orlando Brown Jr. 32 0 0 0.0%
Andrew Wylie 32 1 2 6.3%
Joe Thuney 32 1 1 3.1%
Defensive Line

Tershawn Wharton will likely earn an elite pass-rush grade after generating six pressures, one sack and a forced fumble. Wharton won on 20.7% of his pass-rush snaps and was one of five defensive linemen to create multiple pressures in the win. The unit combined for 16 pressures, five defensive stops and one tackle for loss or no gain.

Linebackers

Willie Gay Jr. played a big role against the run. He created two defensive stops and one tackle for loss on fourth down to set up the Chiefs offense with excellent field position. He also received more positively graded plays against the run than negative ones to earn a 79.9 run-defense grade upon first review.

Secondary

The Chiefs' secondary was swarming to the ball until the game was out of reach. L’Jarius Sneed was the only defensive back to allow more than 35 yards in coverage, as he gave up 58 yards and four first downs on 11 targets. He made up for this by being the only member of the secondary to force an incompletion in the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarterback

Ben Roethlisberger found little to no success in the passing game, finishing with 159 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the loss.

Roethlisberger completed 65.7% of his passes, but 20 of his 23 completions came within nine yards of the line of scrimmage. His only turnover-worthy play of the game resulted in an interception. He averaged just 4.5 yards per attempt and earned a 64.1 passing grade on first review.

Ben Roethlisberger by passing depth

Passing depth Completion % Yards YPA Passer rating
9 yards or less 74.1% 107 4.0 92.7
10+ yards 37.5% 52 6.5 20.8
Running Back

Najee Harris was one of the only bright spots on the Steelers offense, as the rookie running back finished with 93 yards on 19 carries. Four of his attempts gained a first down, and two gained over 10 yards. Harris wasn’t as effective in the passing game, catching five passes for 17 yards while recording one drop.

Wide Receiver/Tight End
Diontae Johnson was the go-to receiver for the Steelers, as he led the team in targets (9), receptions (6) and yards (51). He notched one explosive reception but also coughed up a fumble at a point when the Steelers really needed a score.
Chase Claypool caught four of his six targets for 41 yards. Claypool hauled in his only contested target of the game but also registered a drop in the game.
Offensive Line

The left side of the offensive line had a tough time in pass protection, as most of the pressures allowed came from that area. Dan Moore Jr., John Leglue and Kendrick Green allowed multiple pressures, with Moore and Green conceding a sack.

Trai Turner was the only offensive lineman not to allow a pressure and received an 81.3 pass-blocking grade upon first review.

Player Pass-blocking snaps Sacks allowed Beaten by defender Pressures allowed
Dan Moore Jr. 46 1 2 5
John Leglue 46 0 0 2
Chukwuma Okorafor 46 0 3 2
Kendrick Green 28 1 0 3
Trai Turner 27 0 1 0

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Defensive Line

T.J. Watt was hampered with a rib injury, which impacted his ability to get after Mahomes. Still, the All-Pro edge rusher generated two pressures and a team-high 21.1% win rate. Alex Highsmith turned his only pressure of the game into a sack.

The defensive line managed just seven pressures in the loss.

Linebackers

Robert Spillane had a tough time in coverage, allowing five receptions on six targets for 44 yards. None of his receptions allowed went for over 15 yards, but three of them moved the chains. Spillane and Joe Schobert had much better success against the run, as the pair of linebackers combined for five defensive stops.

Secondary

Joe Haden had one of his worst performances of the season. He conceded a reception on all eight targets, which resulted in 84 yards and two touchdowns.

The secondary allowed 15 receptions for 198 yards, three touchdowns and 11 first downs.

Minkah Fitzpatrick allowed one reception for 50 yards, but he was also able to force a pair of incompletions.

Player Targets Yards allowed Forced incompletions Passer rating allowed
Terrell Edmunds 1 5 0 87.5
Minkah Fitzpatrick 3 50 2 81.9
Cameron Sutton 1 16 0 158.3
Joe Haden 8 84 0 150.0

 

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