Kicker Chris Boswell booted an NFL playoff-record six field goals, as the Steelers held on to beat the Chiefs, 18-16, Sunday night, in a divisional round match-up at Arrowhead Stadium.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 224 yards, 108 of those to receiver Antonio Brown, who also had six catches. Meanwhile, running back Le’Veon Bell broke his own postseason record he set one week earlier against the Dolphins, by rushing for 170 yards on 30 carries.
However, despite out-gaining the Chiefs, with 389 yards to 227, and marching into Kansas City territory on numerous occasions, Pittsburgh never once reached pay-dirt and had to rely on the foot of Boswell to net all of the points it needed for victory.
After Boswell got the Steelers on the board with a 22-yard field goal early in the first quarter, Kansas City answered with a 66-yard drive and took a 7-3 lead on a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Smith to Albert Wilson.
Pittsburgh then marched 55 yards to close to within three on a second Boswell field goal. The big play on the drive was a 52-yard strike from Roethlisberger to Brown down to the Chiefs 23.
Early in the second quarter, the Steelers took a 9-7 lead on Boswell’s third kick–this time from 36 yards out.
Three plays later, Pittsburgh had the ball, thanks to an interception by linebacker Ryan Shazier at the Kansas City 44-yard line. Smith was hit by Bud Dupree just as he was about to release the football, and Shazier grabbed the pop up out of the air.
The Steelers failed to take advantage, however. After driving down to the five-yard line, a Roethlisberger pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage, and intercepted in the end zone by safety Eric Berry, who secured the football just before it hit the turf.
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Pittsburgh did add points on its next offensive possession, when Boswell connected from 48 yards away to make it 12-7, which is where things stood at the half.
Boswell added a fifth field goal early in the third quarter, to give Pittsburgh a 15-7 advantage.
Late in the third quarter, the Chiefs added three of their own, thanks to a 48-yard field goal from Cairo Saintos, and the score stood at 15-10 after three quarters.
The Steelers re-established their eight-point lead, when Boswell connected from 43 yards away, and it was 18-10 with 9:53 remaining.
The Chiefs then mounted their best drive of the night by marching 75 yards on 13 plays and closing to within two points on a one-yard touchdown run by Spencer Ware with 2:43 remaining. The Chiefs went for two and appeared to tie the game, but tackle Eric Fisher was called for holding, and the subsequent try from the 12 was no good after safety Sean Davis broke up a pass intended for receiver Jeremy Maclin.
With the Chiefs down to their last time-out, all Pittsburgh would need is a first down to run out the clock. Facing a third and three from their own 12, the Steelers picked up that first down, when Roethlisberger found Brown from a seven-yard gain with 1:53 remaining.
Pittsburgh will now travel to Gillette Stadium next Sunday to take on the Patriots at 6:40 in the AFC Championship Game, with the winner advancing to Super Bowl LI.