Final

Chiefs 7

(2-3, 1-2 away)

Steelers 45

(2-3, 2-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, October 15, 2006

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA 

1 2 3 4 T
KC 0 0 7 07
PIT 14 17 0 1445

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 238 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: W. Parker (PIT) - 21 CAR, 109 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: S. Parker (KC) - 5 REC, 72 YDS

They're back: Steel Curtain drops on Kansas City

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger couldn't have played any worse for a month. The NFL now must be wondering how much better the Super Bowl champions can be after a convincing all-is-well performance.

The Steelers revived everything they displayed in winning the championship as Roethlisberger threw his first two touchdown passes since the AFC Championship Game in a 45-7 rout of the Chiefs on Sunday.

Smith: Steelers answer critics
It's easy to forget because of all he's accomplished so early in his career, but Ben Roethlisberger is still only 24 years old. Just a kid. Still learning what it takes to be a pro quarterback. Lately he's been learning how to handle adversity in the form of a losing streak, something he hadn't experienced a lot after winning 27 of his first 31 starts. After a 45-7 rout of the Chiefs Sunday, yeah, you might say Big Ben and the Steelers are back. For more from Michael Smith, click here.

Despite not starting three injured regulars -- one of whom, guard Kendall Simmons, fell asleep with an ice pack on his leg and suffered frostbite -- the Steelers never resembled the team that could barely gain a first down in a 9-0 loss to Jacksonville, or ran only 18 plays in the second half of last week's 23-13 loss at San Diego.

Maybe it was watching AFC North leaders Baltimore (4-2) and Cincinnati (3-2) lose earlier in the afternoon, tightening up the division race. But the Steelers (2-3) played with the confidence and composure they lacked while losing three in a row.

"We started fast -- we started real fast," said coach Bill Cowher, who admittedly didn't see this coming during a week in which his team had some "soul searching to do."

"They had to start showing they were that Super Bowl team again," Chiefs defensive end Tamba Hali said. "That's how they played."

Roethlisberger was among the NFL's lowest-rated quarterbacks with no touchdown passes and seven interceptions, while Kansas City's Damon Huard was highly rated with five touchdowns and no interceptions. All that changed in a momentum-shifting few hours in which Roethlisberger could again do little wrong and Huard, a longtime backup, could do little right while completing only 16 of 32 passes for 162 yards and an interception.

"I tried throwing to the guys in the black shirts rather than the guys in the white shirts," Roethlisberger said.

Roethlisberger had no touchdown passes and nine interceptions in his last four starts, counting the Super Bowl. Questions were raised if he was fully healed from his violent June motorcycle crash and his appendectomy last month.

But he was as sharp and polished as in the playoffs, going 16-of-19 for 238 yards and TDs of 47 yards to Nate Washington and 13 yards to Hines Ward. He constantly exploited the Chiefs' not-too-successful man coverage as the Steelers outgained the Chiefs 372-47 while opening a 31-0 lead at halftime. They ended with a 457-213 edge in yardage.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
The Pittsburgh Steelers were a desperate football team and they channeled that desperation in the right direction as they trounced the Kansas City Chiefs. Ben Roethlisberger got in a nice rhythm early and by the time it was said and done, he announced that he is officially back. The passing game eventually opened up the run game as Pittsburgh basically did whatever it wanted against a Kansas City defense that whiffed on tackle after tackle. For the Chiefs, Larry Johnson was a non-factor. That forced them to become one-dimensional and any time you take that route against Pittsburgh, it is going to be a long day.

"They were saying he can't throw and there was all that motorcycle jazz. But he played awesome, he played the way Ben can play," defensive end Brett Keisel said.

Roethlisberger got the Steelers going on the third play of the game, hitting rookie Santonio Holmes for 50 yards after defender Ty Law slipped. Holmes would have scored if he hadn't fallen in the open field, but Willie Parker scored several plays later from the 3.

"I looked Ty Law in the eye before the play and said, 'I've got to make a play right here,' " Holmes said.

Roethlisberger found a wide-open Washington for a touchdown on Pittsburgh's next possession, and the Chiefs (2-3) couldn't come back from this 14-0 deficit like they did last week in rallying to beat Arizona 23-20. Not with Parker running for 109 yards while repeatedly finding the big holes and running lanes that last year's AFC rushing leader, Larry Johnson, couldn't locate.

"We got beat, we got embarrassed and we got to learn from it," coach Herm Edwards said. "We've got to regroup."

Johnson followed a 36-yard effort against Arizona with 26 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. Johnson stood out only once, in the unaccustomed role of tackler.

He ran down Troy Polamalu on a 49-yard interception return in the third quarter by grabbing the All-Pro safety by his long hair. Johnson whipped Polamalu to the ground out of bounds along the Chiefs' sideline, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and touching off a brief skirmish.

"The dude had hair, what was I going to do?" said Johnson, whose neck was injured last week by Arizona defensive back Antrel Rolle's horsecollar tackle. "That was the only thing I could get my hands on."

Polamalu said, "It doesn't matter to me if he tackles me by my hair or my ankles."

Game notes


The Steelers have never started 1-4 since Cowher was hired in 1992. ... Second-year LB Rian Wallace, playing because of injuries to Joey Porter and James Harrison, had a 30-yard interception return TD. ... Former Pro Bowl LB Chad Brown, signed last week, had his 31st career sack with the Steelers in his first game for them in nine years. ... The Chiefs hadn't played in Pittsburgh since 1989. ... A team that opened 1-3 has made the NFL playoffs 13 times in the last 16 years.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
KC
PIT
1st Downs1423
Passing 1st downs
1112
Rushing 1st downs
110
1st downs from penalties
21
3rd down efficiency
5-148-13
4th down efficiency
0-11-1
Total Plays5963
Total Yards213457
Yards per play3.67.3
Total Drives1214
Passing175238
Comp-Att
19-3917-20
Yards per pass
4.411.3
Interceptions thrown
30
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-101-6
Rushing38219
Rushing Attempts
1942
Yards per rush
2.05.2
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-24-6
Penalties6-505-41
Turnovers31
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
30
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession25:2934:31

Passing Leaders

KCC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Huard16/321625.1010-0
Croyle3/7233.3021-10
PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethlisberger16/1923812.5201-6
Batch1/166.0000-0

Rushing Leaders

KCCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson15261.718
Ross382.704
PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Parker211095.2225
Davenport12786.5148

Receiving Leaders

KCRECYDSAVGTDLG
Parker57214.4021
Kennison35719.0025
PITRECYDSAVGTDLG
Washington36822.7147
Ward55911.8128

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERKCPIT
pitTD11:20Willie Parker, 3 yd run (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 73 yds, 4:15
07
pitTD0:58Nate Washington, 47 yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 58 yds, 0:45
014
SECOND QUARTERKCPIT
pitTD9:38Willie Parker, 8 yd run (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 5:15
021
pitTD6:27Hines Ward, 13 yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 65 yds, 1:32
028
pitFG0:02Jeff Reed 32 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 76 yds, 4:12
031
THIRD QUARTERKCPIT
kcTD6:05Larry Johnson, 2 yd run (Lawrence Tynes kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yds, 4:21
731
FOURTH QUARTERKCPIT
pitTD12:46Najeh Davenport, 1 yd run (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 62 yds, 8:20
738
pitTD3:44Rian Wallace, 30 yd interception return (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 30 yds, 0:00
745