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Chiefs vs. Steelers: 10 Observations

The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-12 Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field

After the loss, the Chiefs will need outside help if they're going to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Here are a few things that stood out about Sunday's game:

1. Chiefs offense struggles inside red zone early

The Chiefs offense went 0-3 in the red zone in the first half, settling for two field goals and then was stopped on a fourth-down attempt late in the first half.

On two of those drives, the Chiefs got inside the Steelers 10-yard line (8, 4), but still weren't able to get a touchdown.

The Chiefs trailed 10-6 at halftime.


2. Going for it on fourth down

With under a minute to play in the first half and trailing 10-6, Chiefs coach Andy Reid elected to try a fourth-and-1 rushing attempt from the Steelers 12-yard line.

It was right after a De'Anthony Thomas reception, which was initially ruled as a first down, was brought back a yard after the referees reviewed the play.

The Jamaal Charles run was stuffed for no gain at the line of scrimmage.

3. Justin Houston picks up 18th sack of the season

Houston came into Sunday's game tied for the NFL lead with 17 sacks (Elvis Dumervil – Baltimore Ravens).

He picked up one sack and is now just two sacks shy of tying former Chiefs great Derrick Thomas for most sacks in a season (20) in franchise history.


4. Big third-and-long completion

The Chiefs' first offensive drive of the game ended with a Cairo Santos 35-yard field goal, but it was the 19-yard pass-and-catch from quarterback Alex Smith to receiver Albert Wilson on third-and-16 from the KC 40-yard line that allowed the score to happen.

Wilson finished the first half with five catches for 87 yards.

5. Faked the field goal

Early in the second quarter and with the game tied 3-3, the Chiefs faced a fourth-and-5 from the 12-yard line.

The Chiefs lined up for the field goal attempt and that's when Chiefs punter and holder Dustin Colquitt shovel-passed the ball to Travis Kelce, who ran six yards for a first down on the fake field goal.

The Chiefs offense wasn't able to convert the additional opportunities into seven points, ultimately settling for the 25-yard field goal.

6. Chiefs defense stood tall in first half

The Steelers offense came into Sunday's game averaging 424 yards per game, which led the NFL.

In the first half, the Chiefs held running back Le'Veon Bell, who came into Sunday's ranked second in the NFL with 1,278 yards, to just 21 yards on eight carries.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 10 of 15 for 131 yards in the first half.

7. Steelers convert turnover into seven points

After a review wasn't overturned on a Jamaal Charles alleged fumble midway through the third quarter, the Steelers answered by driving down the field and getting seven points.

It was a 10-play, 75-yard drive that extended the Steelers lead to 17-6.

That drive ended with an Antonio Brown 3-yard touchdown reception.

Kansas City Chiefs vs the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 21, 2014

8. Pressure on Alex Smith and the passing game

Alex Smith spent much of Sunday's game with pressure around him by the Steelers defense.

He was sacked six times in the game and finished 30 of 44 for 300 yards.

9. Taunting call gave Chiefs another chance in fourth quarter

Early in the fourth quarter after a failed third-down attempt by the Chiefs offense, Steelers defensive back William Gay was flagged 15 yards for taunting, giving the Chiefs some life as they trailed 17-6.

The Chiefs offense had to settle for a 43-yard field goal by Cairo Santos after the penalty, and were down 17-9 with just over ten minutes remaining in the game.

10. Chiefs struggle to establish running game

Many factors led to the Chiefs finishing the game with just 12 points, but the inability to consistently run the football was a problem for most of the day.

Jamaal Charles finished the game with nine carries for just 29 yards.

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