Chiefs vs. Steelers: 10 Stats to Know

Here are 10 things to keep in mind during Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Steelers

The Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) travel to Heinz Field take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) on Sunday Night Football.

These two teams are coming off polar opposite performances last week, as the Chiefs handily defeated the New York Jets, 24-3, at Arrowhead Stadium, while the Steelers lost on the road to their in-state rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, 34-3.

It was Pittsburgh's worst loss in 27 years, but it has been noted that over the past four 20-plus point defeats under head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have come back to win the next week.

The Chiefs are hoping to take a winning record into their bye week and the Steelers are hoping to rebound from what Tomlin called, "a significant step backwards," last week. 

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Here are 10 stats to know heading into Sunday's game: 1.       Chiefs defense has been strong inside the red zone

Through the first three games of the season, the Chiefs defense is allowing touchdowns to opposing teams once they get inside the red zone (20 yard line) just 23.1 percent of the time, which leads the NFL.

The Chiefs defense also has more interceptions in the end zone this year (4) than 10 NFL teams have total takeaways. 2.       Defense has a good streak going

The Chiefs are 12-1 in the regular season since these two teams met last year, and the defense has allowed just 13 points per game during that span. 3.       Alex Smith starts a milestone game on national television

Smith, who is in his fourth year with the Chiefs, will start his 50th career game for the Chiefs on Sunday against the Steelers. He's one of only six quarterbacks in franchise history to start that many games for the team.

Smith, who currently has 49 starts, already has more wins (32) than any other quarterback in franchise history in his first 50 games, and he has the best quarterback rating (92.6), completion percentage (63.9 percent) and fewest interceptions (21) by almost double than every other quarterback on that list.

4.       Steelers offensive struggles last week

They Steelers were held to just 251 total yards of offense last week against the Eagles, which is the fewest they've had in three years.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked four times and heading into Sunday's game, starting guard Ramon Foster—one of their leaders along that line with 90 starts for them over the past eight years—is questionable heading into this game. 

If Foster can't play, former Kansas State offensive lineman B.J. Finney might be in line for the first start of his career. 5.       Steelers defense excelling on third down

Through the first three games of the season, the Steelers defense ranks No. 4 in the NFL in allowing opposing teams to convert on third down (30.6 percent).

Since Chiefs coach Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City four years ago, the Chiefs are 21-3 when having a better third-down conversion percentage than their opponent, and 13-0 in games in which they have a better third-down percentage AND win the turnover battle. 6.       Eagles found success in the screen game last week

It was one of the bigger storylines coming out of Pittsburgh's 34-3 loss to the Eagles last week: the Eagles screen game was a big reason they had so much success.

Rookie quarterback phenom Carson Wentz threw for more than 300 yards in that game, but only four of his passes travelled more than 8 yards down the field in the air from the line of scrimmage.

The Steelers have given up 559 yards after the catch this season, which is the most for any team (NFL average is 346). On the other hand, the Chiefs offense ranks No. 5 in the NFL with 53.7 percent of their yards passing coming via yards after the catch.

It's a big part of the Chiefs offense, and YAC has been a big issue for the Steelers so far this season as they rank second-to-last in the NFL in allowing 332 yards passing overall per game.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who Reid is obviously familiar with, said after the game they wanted to take advantage of a "fast flow defense and speed defense" with misdirection.

The Chiefs run a lot of misdirection with multiple players, including speedy rookie Tyreek Hill. 

Whether it's the screen game or different route combinations across the field, the Chiefs offense gives you a lot to prepare for each week as a defense.

7.       Chiefs defense leads league in turnovers

The defense has forced 10 turnovers in total, which also leads the league, and that's obviously helped by its eight-turnover performance last week against the Jets.

8.       Spencer Ware still standing out

After three games, Spencer Ware leads all NFL running backs with 387 yards from scrimmage.

Ware has carried the ball 41 times for 202 yards and a touchdown, adding 10 catches for 185 yards in the passing game as well. 9.       Marcus Peters' ridiculous pace

Through the first 19 regular-season games of his career, Peters has already nabbed 12 interceptions.

At this rate, Peters would break the NFL's all-time record of 81 career interceptions, which was set by former Washington Redskins (1964-67) and Minnesota Vikings (1968-79) Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Krause during his 16-year NFL career.

If he stays on this current pace, which would be ridiculous, Peters would have the all-time record in his eighth season and before he turned 31 years old.

It's way too early for that kind of talk, but it just goes to show how special the first part of Peters' career has actually been. 10.   Offensive and defensive side-by-side comparisons

Defense

Chiefs

Steelers

Net Yards Per Game

348.0 (11th)

407.3 (27th)

Yards Per Play

5.12 (11th)

6.47 (29th)

Points Per Game

16.3 (6th)

22.0 (14th)

Net Rushing Yards Per Game

123.0 (T-24th)

75.3 (4th)

Net Passing Yards Per Game

225.0 (16th)

332.0 (31st)

Intercepted by/Yards

8/102

2/0

Sacks For/Yards

3/-24 (T-28th)

1/0 (32nd)

Opponent Fumbles/Lost

3/2

4/2

Third down Pct.

40.9% (14th)

30.6% (4th)

Red Zone TD Pct.

23.1% (1st)

33.3% (5th)

Takeaways

10 (1st)

4 (T-15th)

Offense

Chiefs

Steelers

Net Yards Per Game

332.3 (23rd)

354.0 (T-21st)

Yards Per Play

5.19 (25th)

5.31 (22nd)

Points Per Game

23.0 (17th)

21.7 (19th)

Possession Average

28:02 (28th)

30:26 (15th)

Net Rushing Yards Per Game

91.3 (21st)

100.0 (18th)

Net Passing Yards Per Game

241.0 (22nd)

254.0 (14th)

Had Intercepted/Yards

1/0

4/28

Sacks Allowed/Yards

9/-63.0 (T-26th)

6/-54.0 (T-11th)

Fumbles/Lost

4/4

5/1

Third down Pct.

34.9% (23rd)

47.6% (8th)

Red Zone TD Pct.

50.0% (T-22nd)

71.4% (5th)

Giveaways

5 (T-16th)

5 (T-16th)

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