Steelers boot Chiefs from playoffs

Updated: 

The Pittsburgh Steelers held on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 in the NFL playoffs.

While the Steelers offence never found the end zone on Sunday, Pittsburgh's defence limited the Chiefs to 227 yards of total offence at Arrowhead Stadium.

The victory sends the Steelers to next Sunday's AFC championship game at the New England Patriots.

Doing all of the scoring for the Steelers was kicker Chris Boswell, who set an NFL single-game playoff record with six field goals. 

"It sounds even better coming off of a win," Boswell told NBC Sports. "Record or no record, as long as we got the win, that's all that matters to me."

Boswell is not quite ready to include himself among Pittsburgh's great "Killer Bs" with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown.

"I don't even think I belong in that picture," he quipped.

 

TIE DENIED

The Chiefs rallied late with a chance to tie, getting within two points on Spencer Ware's one-yard run with 2:43 remaining. Kansas City thought they had tied it up on a two-point conversion pass to tight end Demetrius Harris, but tackle Eric Fisher was called for holding to negate the play. Alex Smith's pass from the 12-yard line on the next two-point try was incomplete.

The Steelers just needed to pick up a first down on the ensuing series to be able to run out the clock and did so when Roethlisberger completed a seven-yard pass to Brown on a third-and-three with 1:51 remaining.

 

RING THE BELL

While the Steelers offence did not find the end zone, it is not like it was stagnant. Running back Bell broke his own Steelers postseason rushing record with 170 yards, eclipsing the 167 yards he had last week against the Dolphins. 

"Those guys up front did a great job," Bell told NBC Sports. "I've got to give a lot of credit to the offensive line."

While Bell racked up the yards, the Chiefs could not get anything going on the ground. The Steelers held the Chiefs to 61 rushing yards, which played into Pittsburgh's game plan of keeping the Chiefs one-dimensional. Kansas City QB Alex Smith finished 20 of 34 for 172 yards with a touchdown and interception. 

"We wanted to come in, first and foremost, stop the run," said linebacker James Harrison, who had six tackles, including three for loss, and a sack. 

 

CHIEFS MISTAKE

The Chiefs had earlier opportunities, but self-inflicted mistakes hurt them. None was most costly than Travis Kelce's personal foul that killed a promising drive. Instead of being in place for a possible touchdown while trailing 15-7 late in the third quarter, Kelce's late shove of Ross Cockrell led to Kansas City settling for a Cairo Santos field goal. 

 

CHAMPIONSHIP DEFENCE

As well as the Steelers defence played against Smith and Co., it will need to be even better next week against the Patriots. The Steelers also cannot afford to settle for field goals, like they did at Arrowhead. But if Bell can keep running it like he has been, the Steelers might be able to keep the Patriots offence on the sideline. 

They say defence wins championships and the Steelers played championship defence on Sunday as the Steel Curtain fell on Kansas City.