Kansas City Chiefs vs Pittsburgh Steelers: Final Grades and Analysis
We will be providing live game grades and updated analysis throughout the game. Be sure to keep this live report card open and follow along after each quarter as we evaluate the Chiefs as they seek their second win of the season.
Matt Cassel, C-
Overtime - C-: Cassel threw 26 passes and took care of the ball all night. Until the end, he threw an interception, which led to a game-winning field goal in overtime on the next play.
Q4 - A: Cassel did a great job on that final drive, despite not doing it sooner. Cassel played a big role in helping the Chiefs get the game-tying field goal.
Q3 - B: Still the same game for Cassel. He's been limited and has done a good job of avoiding turnovers. He's been fairly accurate today.
Q2 - B: Cassel completed 5-of-9 passes with the pass-catchers dropping a couple of passes. Cassel's been quiet today because the Chiefs want to avoid turnovers and run the ball more.
Q1 - B: Matt Cassel played pretty well in the first quarter. He wasn't active much, but the Chiefs will take what he has with no turnovers so far.
Overtime - C: Cassel was unable to help the Chiefs in overtime. He threw an interception in one of the quickest overtime periods in football.
Q4 - B-: The offense needs to hang on to the ball. Cassel's done a good job of distributing the football. Now the Chiefs offense has a second chance in overtime.
Q3 - B-: Branden Albert was hit with a holding penalty, which wiped a touchdown pass on a screen play to Dwayne Bowe. The offense has been up and down after a strong start to the game. Maybe the Steelers defense needed a quarter to figure them out.
Q2 - B: The Chiefs offense didn't do much in the second half. The running game needs to be used more in the second half. Charles and Hillis have rushed for 79 yards with an average of 4.4 yards per carry. It's Kansas City's best shot at winning with the game tied at halftime.
Q1 - A: The Chiefs have had no problems moving the football against the best defense in the NFL. They ended the first quarter inside the 10-yard line. Also, it took the offense 494 minutes and 56 seconds to play with a lead. About time.
Jamaal Charles - B: Charles got things going with an early touchdown run, which gave the Chiefs their first lead of the season.
Peyton Hillis - D: Peyton Hillis carried the ball 10 times, but mustered 30 yards on the night. Hillis had a hard time moving the football, making Charles to lone main rusher on Monday night.
Tony Moeaki - B: Tony Moeaki was targeted six times and led the team in receiving yards with 68 yards in a game where the Chiefs decided to limit the passes. Had the Chiefs decided to pass more, it would have been interesting to see how many catches and yards Moeaki would have racked up.
Dwayne Bowe - C-: Dwayne Bowe continues to show why he's not worthy of receiving the money he demanded last year. Cassel was accurate when throwing to Bowe in regulation and Bowe let a couple of balls slip in the game.
Jon Baldwin - D: Jon Baldwin caught only one pass because he's not a receiver who Cassel trusts. Baldwin also suffered an injury late in the game on a big pass from Cassel, which Baldwin almost completed.
Dexter McCluster - D: Cassel liked Dexter McCluster in the preseason and early on in the season. However, McCluster's seen the ball less and the two have not been able to connect much lately.
Eric Winston - B: Although he's had issues this year and Chiefs fans don't like him after the "cheer gate," Eric Winston managed a good game Monday night.
Jon Asamoah - B: Jon Asamoah came through early in the game with some blocks for the running game. Charles took some of his runs to the right.
Ryan Lilja - B-: Ryan Lilja has played the center position well, despite never playing it before. There were a few run stops by the Steelers defense from the middle.
Jeff Allen - C: Cassel was chased around a bit and sometimes forced to escape the pocket due to pressure from the left side. Jeff Allen is still learning as a rookie.
Branden Albert - D: A big holding penalty on Branden Albert negated a big touchdown play in a low-scoring game. Albert, a former first-round pick, can't allow that to happen.
Overtime - N/A: The defense did not step on the field in overtime.
Q4 - B: The Chiefs defense did not allow a touchdown the entire second half. Despite not getting a score
Q3 - B: The Chiefs defense has played well. With Roethlisberger out, the Chiefs are taking advantage. If dancing resulted in football success, the Chiefs would receive a higher grade.
Q2 - B-: The defense fell apart in the second half, allowing the Steelers to go on a 10-0 run to tie it up. Roethlisberger's favorite target is Heath Miller. The Chiefs have struggled covering tight ends and tonight is no different.
Q1 - A: Ben Roethlisberger has had no success moving the football on the Chiefs. The Chiefs defense also fell on top of a fumble, allowing the offense to start at the red zone. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley is not happy with the production from his offense, especially against his former team.
Ropati Pitoitua - B+: Ropati Pitoitua has not played in many games this year. In fact, he's appeared in only five games. But he's been Kansas City's most productive 3-4 defensive end.
Tyson Jackson - D: Unlike Pitoitua, fans have forgotten about Tyson Jackson. With his teammate Glenn Dorsey most likely not returning, Jackson could follow suit and tonight is another reason why. No pushes and outplayed by a backup.
Dontari Poe - C: Dontari Poe had one tackle and chased the ball handler a couple of times on the night. The Steelers running game didn't have much luck through the middle.
Justin Houston - A: Justin Houston made his presence noticed on Monday night. Roethlisberger was distressed all game long, completing only 9-of-18 passes because of the pressure applied by Houston. Houston can also dance, but unfortunately, that doesn't count for anything.
Tamba Hali - A: Tamba Hali joined Houston on the defensive pressure party. Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich both had problems in the game because of pressure and were both banged up because of the outside linebackers. Hali also had a nice play in coverage, which you rarely see from him as he blitzes most of the time.
Derrick Johnson - A: Derrick Johnson's one of the better run-stopping linebackers and he showed it on Monday night with a pair of tackles for negative yardage.
Jovan Belcher - C: Jovan Belcher had his hands on a couple of plays, but he didn't come up with any key plays to help the defense.
Brandon Flowers - B: Despite one play where Brandon Flowers allowed Mike Wallace to make an incredible catch in the end zone, Flowers had Wallace locked down for the most part.
Jalil Brown - C+: Did Stanford Routt watch? Jalil Brown did what Crennel expected out of Routt this year. Brown defended a couple of key passes on third down to help the Chiefs early on.
Eric Berry: B-: Eric Berry was up and down Monday night. He hasn't had the season he had hoped for in his return from injury. He got his hand on a couple of passes to try and limit the Steelers passing game. He also got Leftwich on a quick pressures.
Abram Elam: C: There isn't much to say about Abram Elam, other than the fact he didn't give up a big play and came up with five tackles on the night.
Special Teams, B
Overtime - N/A: The special teams unit was only on the field for a kick return and during Pittsburgh's field goal setup.
Q4 - B: Succop rebounded with a a game-tying field goal at the end and sent the game to overtime. Dustin Colquitt was also effective after being called to punt eight times in the game.
Q3 - C: For the second straight game, Succop misses a field goal. The miss came after a touchdown on offense was nullified due to a holding penalty. A miss added salt to the wound.
Q2 - B: Shaun Draughn fumbled a kick return and the special teams unit overall hasn't made any noise in the return game. Luckily for the Chiefs, Ryan Succop pulled through with a field goal to give them an early 10-0 lead.
Q1 - B: Dustin Colquitt had one punt inside the 20 and Javier Arenas hasn't made much noise. Quiet night so far from the special teams unit. But that's usually a good thing now that the Chiefs offense is on a rhythm.
Overtime - B-: The coaches can't be put at fault for Cassel's interception. But Crennel did say he'd bench anyone who turned the ball over. Cassel did turn the ball over in the end. Will Crennel start Brady Quinn or Ricky Stanzi over Cassel next week?
Q4 - B-: The Chiefs coaching staff had to be impressed with how the players performed tonight. Some credit does go to the coaches. Everyone has a lot to learn from this game.
Q3 - C: It appears the Chiefs have spent more time practicing dances than playing football. It's showing on the field. The coaches shouldn't let a 1-7 team spend a second practice dances on the field. The coaches also need to get on the offense, which has been quiet after a hot start.
Q2 - B+: Teams can't go one-dimensional, but Daboll needs to continue limiting Cassel and go run heavy tonight. At some point, Daboll has to call a trick play to throw the defense off guard to keep the Chiefs in the game, or better yet, pull away with a win on the road on prime time television when everyone least expects it.
Q1 - A: Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll finally figured out that Charles is the best player on the team, so he decided to run the ball. The coaches figured things out at the halfway point. Better to be late than never.