I sure hope by now everyone’s hair and fingernails grew back from pulling it and chewing it off earlier this year!
That’s precisely what the Pittsburgh Divisional Round playoff game did to quite a bit of Steelers Nation. There was excitement, anticipation, frustration, and everything in-between during this game, which will be best known for the Steelers lack of being able to score a touchdown. Fans were already on edge, knowing that the team has had its struggles on the road throughout Mike Tomlin’s tenure as head coach. Playing at Arrowhead Stadium, in a game which was delayed by pending weather from its original 1 pm start to a primetime kickoff, made everyone concerned.
In fact, the later start time became more of an issue following the game, where Coach Tomlin’s words were captured for the world to hear by a controversial Antonio Brown Facebook Live video. However, it appeared with each failure to score a touchdown, which resulted in a Chris Boswell field goal, that the Chiefs were still in the game.
Boswell affectionately became known as the fourth “Killer B” in this game; a nickname bestowed upon Steelers star players Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell sharing a common initial. The kicker kicked, and kicked, and kicked his way into NFL history by booting a total of six field goals through the uprights: a postseason record.
The rest of the game was securely placed on the shoulders of the Steelers defense, who did their best to contain any threat of Alex Smith‘s offense from taking Pittsburgh out of the playoffs in much the same way Peyton Manning had during the same round a season earlier. Kansas City became the first team to score an opening-drive touchdown on Pittsburgh’s defense all year. But the Steelers clamped down with Bud Dupree providing pressure, and Ryan Shazier picking off a pass in another consecutive game (video below).
Roethlisberger had a pass batted in the air, and taken away on the ensuring drive, keeping the Steelers out of the end zone and off of the scoreboard. The game remained close, but Pittsburgh’s defense forced another turnover, this time scooping up a fumble by Chiefs RB Charchandrick West. Chris Boswell would kick his record sixth field goal of the evening, putting the Steelers up eight points.
The defense then sputtered, allowing the Chiefs to score a touchdown: all that Kansas City had to do was execute a two-point conversion and the game would be tied.
The Steelers would get the ball back with 2:38 left on the clock, and masterfully move the ball enough yards to keep it ticking. A clutch Antonio Brown third down catch secured the team’s first AFC Championship appearance since the 2010 season.
Plays of the Game
The Steelers were clutching to a two-point in the second quarter and were in need of a big defensive play… when they got one from a pair of their young stars, Bud Dupree and Ryan Shazier.
Dupree comes off of the edge to hit Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith as he attempts to throw a pass. The lame duck throw sends the ball skyward, as Shazier makes the centerfield catch for the interception.