The sight of Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos slipping to the ground in the mud of Heinz Field as he banged a 48-yard field goal try off the left upright epitomized his team’s Sunday night loss at Pittsburgh.
Nothing seemed to go right for the Chiefs (2-2) in the 43-14 debacle at the hands of the Steelers (3-1). A serious of turnovers, penalties, special teams miscues and other other execution errors buried Kansas City under a 29-0 halftime deficit, the second-largest in the career of head coach Andy Reid.
The lone bright spot was the return of running back Jamaal Charles, who made his 2016 debut for the Chiefs in his recovery from knee surgery almost a year ago. Charles rushed for seven yards on two carries and had one pass target in limited play.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger established the tone on his first pass of the game. After a Chiefs punt stuck Pittsburgh at its own 5-yard line, Roethlisber dropped into his own end zone and fired a deep bomb in the direction of Marcus Peters, the Chiefs’ reigning AFC defensive player of the week.
Wide receiver Sammie Coates out-dueled Peters for a 47-yard gain, just as the Steelers did all night against the Chiefs.
Kansas City held the Steelers to a punt on that drive, but running back Spencer Ware lost a fumble for the third-straight game on the Chiefs next possession, setting up the Steelers for their first touchdown. A two-point conversion made it 8-0.
A tipped screen pass from Alex Smith intercepted by Steelers linebacker Jarvis Jones provided the Steelers another short field for a one-play touchdown drive. A poor punt by Dustin Colquitt set up another score.
Even when the Chiefs did something right, they shot themselves in the foot.
Tyreek Hill scored an apparent touchdown on an electric 78-yard punt return, only to see the score erased by penalty on an illegal block.
The Chiefs now head to the bye week licking their wounds. The good news for Kansas City – Reid’s teams historically perform well following the bye week, posting a 15-2 record. The Chiefs next travel to Oakland Sept. 16 for an AFC West showdown against the Raiders.