Good grades? Check out these NFL playoff marks on KC Chiefs’ report card vs. Steelers

·3 min read
Tammy Ljungblad/tljungblad@kcstar.com

The Chiefs are officially on to the AFC Divisional Round after cruising to a 42-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday night’s opening playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium.

With a score like that, it should be clear things went the Chiefs’ way. After a sluggish start, the Chiefs bullied their way to an impressive victory, at one point scoring touchdowns on six straight possessions.

The Chiefs needed a win like this to set the table for next weekend’s showdown against the Buffalo Bills, who on Saturday routed the New England Patriots 47-17 to advance.

Before diving into next Sunday’s Chiefs-Bills game — we’ll have the upcoming week to do that — here are our grades from the Chiefs’ win over the Steelers.

KC STAR OF THE GAME

It’s hard to ignore what Patrick Mahomes did against the Steelers ... and how he did it.

With the offense sputtering and suddenly facing a 7-0 deficit, Mahomes flipped a switch and threw touchdown passes to five different teammates. And before the Steelers knew it, the Chiefs were up 35-7.

Mahomes put on a show, completing 30 of 39 passes for 404 yards and five touchdowns with one interception for a 138.2 passer rating. He also rushed for 29 yards on three carries.

REPORT CARD

Passing offense: A

See above. If the quarterback is firing on all cylinders and posts a passer rating close to 140.0 while connecting with eight pass-catchers for touchdowns — including backup guard Nick Allegretti on a trick play — how can this grade be anything but an A?

Tight end Travis Kelce snared five catches for a team-high 108 yards and a touchdown, and he even threw a touchdown pass to receiver Byron Pringle, who caught another touchdown pass from Mahomes, too.

Receiver Tyreek Hill also caught a perfectly arced touchdown pass from Mahomes and finished with five receptions for 57 yards.

Rushing offense: A

No Clyde Edwards-Helaire and a limited Darrel Williams? No problem, as far as the Chiefs were concerned.

Jerick McKinnon stepped up with 142 total yards (61 rushing) and a touchdown to pace the Chiefs’ backfield. Williams had just one carry for 4 yards.

As a team, the Chiefs pounded out 106 yards on 22 carries.

Passing defense: A

The Chiefs stymied Pittsburgh’s passing game, limiting Ben Roethlisberger to 215 yards and two late-game game touchdowns. The Chiefs also totaled two sacks and four quarterback hits on Roethlisberger.

Rushing defense: A

After allowing opponents to run freely over the past month, the Chiefs limited the Steelers to 56 yards on 20 carries, an average of just 2.8.

The Chiefs didn’t allow rookie Najee Harris to get going, holding the Steelers’ running back to 29 yards on 12 carries. Harris had rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries against the Chiefs in Week 16.

Special teams: A

Mecole Hardman totaled three punt returns for 70 yards, averaging 23.3. Pringle had two kickoff returns for 50 yards.

Butker made all six of his extra-point attempts (he didn’t attempt a field goal), while Tommy Townsend punted four times for 138 yards, landing three inside the Steelers’ 20-yard line.

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