Kansas City Chiefs

AFC: Steelers hand Chiefs first loss of season, 19-13

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AFC: Steelers hand Chiefs first loss of season, 19-13

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Le'Veon Bell ran for 179 yards and a touchdown, Antonio Brown made an acrobatic touchdown catch in the fourth quarter and the Pittsburgh Steelers held on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 19-13 on Sunday.

The Chiefs (5-1) still had a chance after Brown's 51-yard reception made it 19-10, moving quickly downfield and getting a 33-yard field goal from Harrison Butker.

And when their defense forced a quick three-and-out, Tyreek Hill's 32-yard punt return gave them the ball with 1:48 to go.

But after the Steelers (4-2) gave up a first down, James Harrison sacked Alex Smith on third-and-10, and the quarterback's incomplete pass on fourth down left the NFL with no unbeaten teams.

Ben Roethlisberger was 17 of 25 for 252 yards for Pittsburgh, bouncing back from his abysmal five-interception performance against Jacksonville last week.

His favorite target was Brown, who a few weeks ago was flipping over water coolers on the sideline but spent Sunday slinging high-fives.

He finished with eight catches for 155 yards, often beating All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters.

The game in many ways resembled January's divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, when Bell churned for 170 yards rushing and the Steelers' defense shut down the Chiefs in an 18-16 victory.

Their defensive dominance was even more impressive considering the circumstances: The Steelers had allowed more than 200 yards rushing twice in the past three weeks, while Kareem Hunt ran for 107 yards and the Chiefs piled up 450 yards in a shootout victory last Sunday in Houston.

Kansas City rolled into the game averaging 414.2 yards and 32.8 points, but the Steelers shut down NFL rushing leader Hunt, who gained just 21 yards on nine carries. They also spent the afternoon with their paws on Smith's jersey, holding the league's top-rated passer to 246 yards and a touchdown.

Still, Smith nearly rallied the Chiefs in the second half, hitting De'Anthony Thomas down the sideline for a 57-yard fourth-quarter touchdown that got Kansas City within 12-10.

But the Steelers answered with Bell, whose hard running got them near midfield. And when they faced third-and-2, former Chiefs coach and Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley dialed up a pass down the sideline to Brown, who caught the tipped ball and ran it 51 yards for the score.

It was Brown's 52nd touchdown reception, passing Lynn Swann for third-most in franchise history.

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Texans' title chances take devastating hit: Watt, Mercilus out for year

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Texans' title chances take devastating hit: Watt, Mercilus out for year

The Texans suffered a pair of devastating injuries on Sunday night that could wind up ruining their chances at contending in the AFC.

During a 42-34 loss to the Chiefs, J.J. Watt suffered a season-ending tibial plateau fracture in the first quarter. He left the game and was eventually taken to the hospital. Whitney Mercilus was injured earlier in the first quarter, suffering a torn pectoral muscle that ended his season.

"I think that is tough, but at the end of the day that is not an excuse," Texans coach Bill O’Brien said after the game. "We have to do better in all three phases. Look, I thought we competed until the end and the next guys are going to have to step up and play. 

"We have to do a good job of coaching and scheming, but that is the National Football League. Guys get hurt and the next guy in the team meeting room at that position needs to step up."

The reality is, though -- and this isn't news to O'Brien -- "the next guys" in this case are not going to be the game-changers that Watt and Mercilus have been. 

Watt is arguably the best defensive player of this generation, having won three Defensive Player of the Year awards (2012, 2014, 2015). Mercilus was a Second-Team All-Pro last season and made up a three-headed pass-rushing monster in Houston alongside Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. 

Having both Watt and Mercilus in the mix with Clowney and linebacker Bernardrick McKinney is what made the Texans defense one of the most dangerous units in the league. Before the Patriots and Texans matched up in Week 3, we took a deep dive into why the sheer number of pass-rushers Houston possessed was such a problem

"I mean, they have too many good players so it’s hard to help," Bill Belichick said before the game. "If you help one, then you’re light on the others. If you help one of the others, then it’s tough. That’s what makes them so good, is they get a lot of those matchups and you can’t help. 

"Like I said, too many guys so the guys that get singled are productive and they make plays. They make plays for a loss. They make plays in the running game. They make plays in the passing game and they make plays in pursuit."

With Watt and Mercilus unavailable, the Texans will lean heavily on Clowney and McKinney to provide pressure while defensive lineman Christian Covington and linebacker Brennan Scarlett, in all likelihood, see more playing time. 

Houston made it to the Divisional Round without Watt last season, and they gave the Patriots offense fits at Gillette Stadium. But to make any noise in January without both Watt and Mercilus, the Texans will need rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson -- one of the best stories in the league through five weeks -- to continue to surpass expectations by leaps and bounds. And even that may not be enough.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Undefeated Chiefs beat Texans, 42-34

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SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Undefeated Chiefs beat Texans, 42-34

HOUSTON - Alex Smith threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns to help the Kansas City Chiefs remain undefeated with a 42-34 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday night in a game where J.J. Watt broke his left leg.

Deshaun Watson's 48-yard touchdown pass got the Texans within six early in the fourth quarter before Smith extended the lead for Kansas City (5-0) to 32-20 on a 10-yard pass to De'Anthony Thomas with about 9 minutes left. Tyreek Hill padded the lead when he returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown.

Watson threw for 261 yards and five touchdowns, but the Texans (2-3) failed to recreate the magic they found last week when they scored a franchise-record 57 points in a victory over Tennessee.

Watt, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, was injured in the first quarter and the team announced that he sustained a tibial plateau fracture, but didn't provide any details on how long he'll be out. The defensive end returned this season after missing the last 13 games last year after his second back surgery.

The Texans cut their deficit when Watson threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Fuller in the third quarter. But the 2-point conversion failed, leaving them down 23-13.

Kansas City's Charcandrick West caught two touchdown passes and Travis Kelce had eight receptions for 98 yards in the first half, but didn't return after halftime and the team said he was being evaluated for a concussion.

The Chiefs were up by six when Smith found West on an 8-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-0 in the second quarter. Houston rookie D'Onta Foreman fumbled two plays later to give Kansas City the ball right back and the Chiefs tacked on a field goal.

Foreman stepped out of one tackle before plowing over Marcus Peters as he tried to tackle him before two other Chiefs finally brought him down after a 25-yard gain that got Houston to the 10 on the Texans' next drive. The Texans cut it to 16-7 when Watson found DeAndre Hopkins in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown pass with about two minutes left in the first half.

Smith then connected with West again, this time on a 4-yard TD pass to put the Chiefs up 23-7 at halftime.

The Chiefs led 3-0 early after a 35-yard field goal by Harrison Butker on their first drive. Watt was injured on the play before the field goal and fell to the ground while being blocked. Watt remained on his hands and knees for a couple of minutes while trainers checked on him.

They flipped him onto his back and were looking at his left leg. He was then helped to his feet and looked to be in a lot of pain and didn't appear to be able to put any weight on the leg as he was helped off the field by two Texans officials. He remained on the sideline under a tent for a few minutes before being taken to the locker room on a cart and then taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Butker added another field goal early in the second quarter to make it 6-0.

Kansas City rookie Kareem Hunt had 29 carries for 107 yards to give him four 100-yard rushing games this season.

Hopkins had four receptions for 52 yards with three touchdowns after catching two late scoring passes when the game was out of reach.

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