Steelers Roll Over Elvis, KC


Once again, it was the story of the unsung Steelers.

Oh yes, Jerome Bettis

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  • and Kordell Stewart on offense and Levon Kirkland and Carnell Lake on defense did their part as Pittsburgh beat Kansas City 20-13 Monday night. But Lance Brown, Fred McAfee, Hines Ward and Josh Miller did just as much.

    Bettis rumbled for 119 yards on 33 carries and Stewart threw a 5-yard TD pass to Charles Johnson with 10:05 left in the game for the winning score.

    But just as Pittsburgh seems to replace fre agent defectors by turning hitherto little-known players into stars, on this night they won because they got contributions from the little guys.

    It began on Kansas City's first possession.

    After Miller dropped a punt dead on the Kansas City 1-yard-line, Brown blocked a punt that McAfee fell on for a touchdown.

    "What more can you say about our kicking game," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said of Miller, who averaged 46 yards on six punts. "Our kicking game has made big plays time in and time out."

    McAfee added 36 yards rushing on a late first-half drive that resulted in a field goal.

    "For the first time I thought that showed some confidence from our team," Cowher said. "It was something to build on for the second half."

    And Ward, a running back-wide receiver-quarterback in college at Georgia acted like the new "Slash" the Steelers hope he is by taking a handoff from Stewart and throwing back to him for 17 yards on a third-quarter drive that led to one of Norm Johnson's two field goals.

    The win left Pittsburgh (5-2) in a tie with Jacksonville for first place in the AFC Central, while Kansas City (4-3) fell three games behind Denver and a game behind Oakland in the AFC West.

    The Chiefs certainly didn't help themselves.

    "The outcome of the game was driven by our penalties and our turnovers," Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "Pittsburgh played well, but the outcome of the game was the result of our mistakes."

    On their second possession, fullback Tony Richardson, wide open in the end zone, fell as Elvis Grbac threw what appeared to be a TD pass and the Chiefs had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Pete Stoyanovich.

    Then, on the opening kickoff of the second half, Ted Popson was called for holding on what would have been a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. And later, after the Steelers had gone ahead 20-13, what might have been a 43-yard TD pass from Grbac to Andre Rison hit the receiver on the helmet and bounced away.

    The Chiefs got the ball back with a minute left, but Grbac fumbled on the first play when he was sacked Jason Gildon.

    Miller set up Pittsburgh's early touchdown, punting the ball 47 yads to the Chiefs' 1 where it rolled dead. The Chiefs gained only one yard in three shots and on fourth down, Louie Aguiar was only able to go 12 yards deep to punt.

    Aguiar, who had never had a punt blocked in 587 previous attempts as a pro, never had a chance. Brown broke through and blocked it and McAfee fell on it among a swarm of Steelers that gave Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

    The Chiefs moved well between the 20s on their next two drives, but had to settle for field goals of 20 and 28 yards by Stoyanovich.

    The Steelers added a 34-yarder by Johnson to make it 10-6 at halftime after a 65-yard drive on which McAfee ran three times for 36 yards. Johnson's 22-yarder with 5:30 left in the third quarter made it 13-6.

    But on the first play after the kickoff, Grbac and Derrick Alexander combined on a 65-yard pass play that put the ball on the Pittsburgh 13. Five plays later, Grbac found Rison from the 2 for the TD that tied it at 13.

    But the Steelers came right back, going 60 yards in 14 plays that included a key 10-yard third-down pass from Stewart to another unsung Steeler, David Dunn.

    Stewart completed the drive by finding Johnson all alone in the right corner of the end zone on a third-and-goal.

    So the Steelers ended up in good position.

    The Chiefs?

    "I'm not conceding everything," Schottenheimer said. "Where you are after seven games is not what it's about. We've been 13-3 two of the last three seasons and we were sent home."

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