A 42-point offensive explosion and defensive shutdown led to a dominant 42-14 Chiefs victory.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Chiefs took over in possibly Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s last football game. The Chiefs’ defensive limited the Steelers to just over 250 total yards in the game.
Once the Chiefs offense got going into the second quarter, Chiefs Kingdom experienced an all-time Patrick Mahomes performance. The quarterback totaled over 400 passing yards and five touchdowns for the fourth time in his career, more than any other quarterback in history. The 26-year-old had two reliable options to pass to against All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Running Back Jerick McKinnon
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire battling a shoulder injury, the running backs have stepped up. Backup running back Darrel Williams combined for over 1,000 scrimmage yards during the regular season. But a toe injury left McKinnon an opportunity.
McKinnon rushed for 61 yards on a limited 12 carries, along with second on the team in receiving yards with 81 yards. A sneaky Patrick Mahomes shuffle pass in the second quarter to give the Chiefs offense a sign of things to come after their first score. A speedy runner in the backfield that has McKinnon’s hands and route-running ability can become a problem. Look for him to possibly take over this unit as the playoffs continue if injuries linger.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has taken an approach to the running back position that is rare. Rather than drag one through the whole offense, he’s been able to utilize Edwards-Helaire, Williams, McKinnon, and Derrick Gore.
Tight End Travis Kelce
Big moments happened for Kelce in the Steelers matchup. Kelce threw a touchdown pass for the first time in his professional career in the fourth quarter.
Kelce’s mother Donna Kelce made the trip to Kansas City after watching Eagles center Jason Kelce against the Buccaneers earlier that day. The two shared a great childhood memory, where Travis promised his mother he would accomplish an NFL touchdown pass.
Kelce caught and ran in a 48-yard touchdown pass with seconds remaining in the first half, capping off a 21-7 quarter. The 32-year-old tight end continues to find ways to propel this offense in the winning direction.
Defensive Tackle Tershawn Wharton
Wharton helped tremendously in the pass rush and limiting the Steelers’ run game. Steelers running back Najee Harris was limited to 29 yards on his 12 carries and was a non-factor throughout the game. Wharton started one lone game this season but made his presence felt to open the Chiefs 2022 playoff run.
Wharton sacked Roethlisberger once of the two times he was brought down. Wharton also batted a pass down and allowed for the other Chiefs defensive linemen to give Big Ben and Harris problems all game. Players like Wharton and Alex Okafor will be crucial to help alleviate pressure off pass rushers, Frank Clark and Chris Jones. Making it easier for any of them to positively impact the game on any given play.