Le’Veon Bell’s Rushing Led to 6 Field Goal Attempts
Before the 2016-2017 season started, many people wondered if wide receiver Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers was the best overall player in football. But just a few months later, it might be Brown’s own teammate –Le’Veon Bell — who could, or should, be considered the very best player in the game. This close game between the Steelers and Chiefs 18-16 would not have been settled without Le’Veon Bell.
Bell followed up his incredible 167-yard performance against the Miami Dolphins during Wild Card weekend buy running for 170 yards on 30 carries in the Steelers 18-16 win against the Kansas City Chiefs. It was the third straight week that Bell had run for more than 100 yards in a game, and the seventh time in eight games dating back into the regular season.
The Steelers became the first team to win a playoff game without scoring a touchdown in 10 years, thanks in large part to Bell’s ability to keep putting them in range for kicker Chris Boswell to connect on any one of his six field goal attempts. Bell had 99 yards rushing at halftime in the Steelers win over the Dolphins, and followed it up with 98 of his 170 yards rushing coming by halftime against the Chiefs.
Close Game Between Steelers – Chiefs 18-16
The Steelers actually found themselves down 7-6 after the first quarter, after Pittsburgh kicked a pair of field goals sandwiched around Alex Smith’s five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Albert Wilson, capping off a six-play, 55-yard drive by the Chiefs. But, from that point on, Kansas City wouldn’t have a drive spanning more than 30 yards until almost halfway through the fourth quarter.
Conversely, Pittsburgh never punted the ball in the first half of the game. Four of their six drives in the first half ended with field goals, and one of them ended via a kneel-down by Roethlisberger with three seconds left in the first half. Roethlisberger did throw an interception just past halfway through the second quarter, with the Steelers deep in the red zone, on the Chiefs’ five-yard line.
Kansas City was able to keep Pittsburgh out of the end zone for most of the game, even though the Steelers defense did an excellent job of stifling the Kansas City Chiefs offense all game long. They still had a shot to send the game into overtime when they got the ball back trailing 18-10 with just under 10 minutes to play.
They finally got their offense going, driving 75 yards on 13 plays, and capping off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run by running back Spencer Ware. That cut the Steelers lead to 18-16. The Chiefs tried to go for the two-point conversion, but they were pushed back 10 yards during said attempt when left tackle Eric Fisher was called for a holding penalty. The Chiefs were ultimately unsuccessful with the conversion, and the score remained 18-16 until it went final.
Pittsburgh’s win meant their postseason march would continue on, with their next stop being Foxborough, Massachusetts, to take on the New England Patriots. Since 2001, the Patriots and Steelers have combined to win nine AFC titles. But, New England is 16-3 in the postseason at home since 2001, and the Steelers have a 3-9 overall against the Patriots in that same span of time. The Patriots are heavily favored for this coming match up.