By Matt McMullen – Chiefs.com
The Kansas City Chiefs dominated from start to finish on Sunday afternoon to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 36-10, behind a complete performance on both sides of the ball.
The back-to-back defending AFC champions scored on each of their first four possessions while holding Pittsburgh scoreless until late in the third quarter, amassing a 30-point lead that made much of the second half largely inconsequential.
“Offensively, defensively and special teams were all clicking. The coordinators, the coaches and the players were phenomenal, and that’s the way they were all week,” said Head Coach Andy Reid. “They came out with great energy and just played their tail off…Everybody kind of put it together and did great.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 23-of-30 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns in the game and got started right away, as he led a 14-play, 73-yard scoring drive on Kansas City’s opening possession that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The offense then had the ball back just one snap later when cornerback Charvarius Ward picked off Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, providing the Chiefs with a short field that they didn’t waste. Mahomes found wide receiver Byron Pringle in the end zone for a 6-yard score following the takeaway, building a double-digit advantage that Kansas City never relinquished.
It was one of two scores on the day for Pringle, who also hauled in a 16-yard touchdown grab from Mahomes midway through the third quarter. The veteran pass-catcher finished the game with a team-leading six grabs for 75 yards, marking the second-most receiving yards of his career and his first multi-touchdown performance.
“I just know to never give up on yourself. Just keep working and keep grinding,” Pringle said when asked about his big game. “Don’t look at who is in front of you, who is behind you, or who is on the side of you. You keep going day in and day out. That’s my mentality. Just win.”
Mahomes also found wide receiver Mecole Hardman for a touchdown early in the game, connecting with the speedy playmaker for an 8-yard score. The efforts of each of those players helped Kansas City race out to a 30-point lead before Pittsburgh even tallied a point, effectively putting the game away soon after halftime. Mahomes, who was without All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce on Sunday due to COVID-19 protocols, hit nine different receivers – and six players for double-digit gains – in the victory.
“I think [our success today was the result of] continuing to try to get better and better. I feel like even in the last few games, there’s throws here and there that I’ve been missing, and Coach Reid’s been preaching with me to kind of work on the fundamentals and get back to who I know I can be,” Mahomes said. “We had a good day [today], but we can’t be satisfied with that. We still have long way to go, and I’m going to continue to work on those fundamentals to continue to try to be better and better. When the offensive line is blocking like they are, it makes it a little bit easier for you.”
The Chiefs were equally effective on defense throughout Sunday’s game, too, as they forced three turnovers and held the Steelers out of the end zone until less than three minutes remained in the game. In fact, Pittsburgh had only 109 yards of total offense at halftime and less than 200 yards when the fourth quarter got underway.
“Our front four has been dominating,” said linebacker Anthony Hitchens. “The more they dominate, the easier it is for everyone else…We can sit back, play two deep and win games like this. When those guys are doing well, it definitely helps our defense and our team.”
It all helped the Chiefs secure a sixth-straight AFC West title on Sunday, which is something that had never before been achieved in the history of the division. It’s also the third-longest streak for any team since 1970.
In terms of injuries, Reid mentioned Edwards-Helaire (collarbone) and safety Tyrann Mathieu (quad) following the game. Reid added that they’ll evaluate the severity of Edwards-Helaire’s injury on Monday.
The Chiefs will now look to continue their pursuit of the top overall seed in the AFC playoff picture as they head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals this Sunday.