By Terrance Turner
Dec. 26, 2021
They were without kicker Harrison Butker and tight end Travis Kelce (who couldn’t clear COVID-19 protocols). They lost their best running back shortly after halftime. Star wideout Tyreek Hill had just two catches heading into the fourth quarter. But the Kansas City Chiefs put on a show today at Arrowhead Stadium in KC. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes broke a record for passing touchdowns at home, receiver Byron Pringle had a monster game, and the Chiefs blew out the Steelers at Arrowhead.
The scoring started early: the Chiefs scored two touchdowns within the last four minutes of the first quarter. The first came courtesy of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, whose one-yard rush put the Chiefs ahead by seven. The second came up courtesy of Byron Pringle. That score made it 14-0.
The Steelers’ drive (again) went nowhere, so the Chiefs took over. While they weren’t able to reach the end zone, they did convert with a 44 yard field goal from replacement kicker Fry. Pittsburgh got the ball back and advanced as far as the red zone. But the drive was scoreless. Kicker Chris Boswell missed the field goal attempt.The Chiefs regained possession and began a drive led by RB Derrick Gore who picked up huge chunks of yardage on play after play. But it was wide receiver Mecole Hardman who sealed the deal when he scored his second touchdown of the season.
That touchdown pass gives Patrick Mahomes 63 passing touchdowns — the most ever by a quarterback at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Steelers were forced to go for broke after another drive stalled. They went for it on 4th and one but Ingram was swarmed by Chiefs defenders and chased out of bounds. Kansas City took over on downs. But after being stopped by the Steelers defense, the Chiefs were scoreless. Elliott Fry missed the field goal point kick. Kansas City was up 23-0 at halftime.
In the second half, the Chiefs suffered a scary injury when Edwards-Helaire hurt his collarbone after being tackled. That forced him to leave the game and go to the locker room. RB Darrel Williams took over as the Chiefs began to expand their lead. Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson fumbled the ball on a short pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger, and Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu recovered the ball. On the Chiefs’ ensuing drive, Mahomes threw the pass to Pringle, who shook off one Pittsburgh defender, evaded two more, and powered his way into the end zone for the touchdown. It was 30-0.
The Steelers took up five minutes of the quarter with a drive pelted with penalties. There were three on each team, according to CBS Sports. The drive was kept alive on third down when cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was flagged for pass interference. But even that wasn’t enough to help the Steelers reach the end zone. They were hampered by incomplete passes and penalty flags. On 4th and 15, they finally got on the scoreboard when Boswell made a 34-yard field goal.
A promising Kansas City drive stalled when Mahomes got sacked. But they added more points thanks to Fry, who himself managed a 34-yarder to make it 33-3. The Steelers suffered another turnover when Roethlisberger lost the ball. Chiefs defensive tackle Jarran Reed recovered, running and then falling forward after a tackle) near the ten-yard line.
After the commercial break, CBS abruptly cut away from sideline footage of Mahomes and a Chiefs staff member. “And now to a more competitive game,” began CBS announcer Nate Burleson. He alerted viewers that CBS would be switching to the Raiders-Broncos game after another commercial break.
To add insult to injury, CBS cut to the Raiders game just as the players were taking a knee. After less than two minutes of Vegas action, CBS came back to the Kansas City game. Viewers noticed:
Pittsburgh finally found the end zone after the break, when Johnson ran untouched past the goal line. But that was as far as Pittsburgh would go. The Chiefs won in a blowout, 36-10. With this win — their eighth straight!!! — they have won the AFC West for the sixth straight season. They are in the playoffs.