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Sunday Night wrap-up: Steelers make it rain on the Chiefs

Ben Roethlisberger threw three of his five touchdowns in the first quarter and the rout was on as the Steelers defeated the Chiefs, 44-13.

Andy Reid can blame this one on Carson Wentz.

The Chiefs had to have known the Steelers were going to be angry, but it’s hard to imagine how quickly this thing went one direction and stayed pointing that way.

A week after being humiliated by the Eagles 34-3, the Steelers gave it back to the Chiefs, cruising to a 43-14 win. A pair of early turnovers led to a 22-0 deficit after the first quarter, and then the rain started, and then it just got worse for Kansas City.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin emphasized that this week was about redemption, and his offense did its job quickly and efficiently.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 22-of-27 for 300 yards and five touchdowns, and that picture over there is pretty much the only time the Chiefs stopped him from doing anything.

The return of running back Le’Veon Bell from suspension was important but ultimately anticlimactic, as he had 18 carries for 144 yards, which would have been more noticeable any other night. Because the way the Steelers were throwing it around in the first half, they could have had Frenchy Fuqua in the backfield.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. The Steelers wanting to break out of some bad habits after an ugly loss was fine.

But at a certain point, the prudent play for Tomlin was to get some of his starters off the field.

Roethlisberger still being on the field in the fourth quarter of this one could have become a disaster, on a night when other guys were getting hurt.

Starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones were injured and didn’t return, and the conditions may not have had anything to do with that. But not having backup quarterback Landry Jones out there taking snaps seems an unnecessary risk.

2. The Chiefs have a bye week, which will give Jamaal Charles a chance to come back a little bit healthier when it actually matters.

Charles, in his first game active after last year’s torn ACL, had two carries for 7 yards.

The Chiefs might have wanted to use him a bit more. But once it was clear which direction this game was going, there was no point risking one of their most valuable players on a muddy track, though they had to give him some snaps late when Knile Davis was getting checked by trainers.

3. Speaking of guys they obviously missed, the Chiefs defense clearly can’t wait to get Justin Houston back.

The Chiefs are hoping he can come back in November, which would be a huge boost for them.

While the need for a guy who once had 22.0 sacks in a season is obvious, the Chiefs could use someone other than cornerback Marcus Peters who can make a play. And on a night when Peters and the rest of the defensive backs were getting torched, having someone who can force the issue from the front seven would have helped.

4. It’s hard to put too fine a point on the particulars of any game that starts avalanching the way this one did.

But defensive end Cameron Heyward set a tone early in the game with a sack and batting a pass which led to an interception, and that was a boost of confidence for a side picked apart by a rookie last week.

Heyward has seen plenty of changes to the cast around him, but remains one of the steadiest players on a defense that hasn’t always been steady.

5. The one true shame about the downpour and the lopsided score is that most of the fans didn’t hang around to see former Steelers outside linebacker Kevin Greene receive his Hall of Fame ring at halftime.

Greene had 35.5 of his 160.0 career sacks in three seasons with the Steelers (1993-95). And though he was actually more productive in three seasons in Carolina (41.5 in 1996-97 and 1999), Greene always identified most closely with his stint in Pittsburgh.

That’s where he began to work with longtime coordinator Dom Capers, who presented him at the Hall induction in August. Capers was quick to bring Greene with him to Carolina when he got a head coaching job, and also helped the sack master get into coaching in Green Bay.