Entering Week 6, the Pittsburgh Steelers return to face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium was by far the marquee event of the schedule. After the Steelers survived on the road in the 2016 AFC Divisional Playoffs over the Chiefs without scoring a field goal, the rematch was a must watch event and a measuring stick for a Kansas City team that entered Sunday with an undefeated record.
In their toughest test at home this season and their biggest game since Week 1 against the Patriots, the Chiefs could not build on the momentum of their 5-0 start. Instead, it was yet another pleasant afternoon in Missouri for Mike Tomlin and a Steelers defense that appears to possess all the answers for Andy Reid and Matt Nagy’s offense.
The Steelers shut down the Chiefs to a pedestrian 28 rushing yards and 13 points in a game that has to feel like deja vu. A Pittsburgh win on the back of a strong defensive performance that allowed for the Steelers to escape Arrowhead despite an anemic showing on offense of their own.
Tomlin and Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler deserve immense credit for coming up with a defensive gameplan that is capable of stopping the Chiefs in their tracks on a now consistent basis. For the first five weeks of the season, there was no resistance given to Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill.
For the first five weeks of the season, there was no resistance given to Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill. On Sunday, Hunt and Hill were both kept under the end zone and combined for just 135 yards of total offense on 20 touches.
Those are outstanding numbers for the Steelers defense, which now has a significant performance to build off of for the rest of 2017.
Leaving Sunday, both the Steelers and the Chiefs should feel good about their status as Super Bowl contenders. The Chiefs are still 5-1 after all and are still holding the best record in the AFC even with the home loss to the Steelers in a game. A failed opportunity to
A failed opportunity to get revenge on the Steelers will hurt, but it doesn’t change the fact the Chiefs are one of the best teams in football. What Sunday’s game did was prove the mettle of the Steelers, who now can be considered as another team in the way of the New England Patriots attempt to defend its Super Bowl title.
The path to the Super Bowl out of the AFC is incredibly difficult this season and it can be assured a potential third classic between the Steelers and Chiefs at Arrowhead is likely in the cards come January. Just don’t expect many points if the third chapter in 365 days between the Steelers and Chiefs comes to fruition in the playoffs.
Now for the Week 6 Rants:
Rant 1: Austin Seferian-Jenkins scored a damn touchdown
The NFL is long known for absolutely stupid rule technicalities negating touchdowns. Dez Bryant can tell you all about the problems with the NFL’s rule book negating common sense to take points off the board.
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins became the most recent victim of the rulebook when a rather clear touchdown catch in the late stages of the New York Jets upset bid at home to the New England Patriots turned into a touchback to help seal a Pats win.
Sefarian-Jenkins caught the ball before the goal line end zone and crossed the plane, but the ball *slightly* came loose before the Jets tight end eventually collected the ball as he landed in the end zone.
Of course, that slight bobble of the football was enough for the NFL to go into NFL mode and the touchdown was taken off the board. A touchdown to bring the Jets back to within a score negated despite the fact Sefarian-Jenkins had control of the football entering and exiting the end zone.
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins powers his way into the end zone for a touchdown! Jets cut it to 24-20!
NFL refs: pic.twitter.com/SWCKXWJ6hV
— Todd Bowles SZN (@TeamThirstTrap) October 16, 2017
To make matters more laughable, the NFL is steadfast in their stance that this play was clearly not a touchdown. Using the words “clear” and “obvious” to describe turning back a play where a player entered the endzone with the football and had it in his hands as he left it.
Referee Tony Corrente said Austin Sefarian-Jenkins didn't "survive the recovery" and said one camera angle made it an obvious call pic.twitter.com/wxwDRFVOc1
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 15, 2017
You can feel there is a possibility the ball was loose at one point of the play due to the bobble. However, Sefarian-Jenkins held enough possession of the football that there was no way conclusive evidence was there to overturn this touchdown.
This was a bad call and while the Jets likely would have lost anyway, the NFL needs to fix its problem when it comes to overturning these touchdown plays. Evidence is supposed to be conclusive per the language of the rules and the definition of conclusive needs to be tightened to prevent more of these controversies.
Rant 2: Mike McCarthy is the latest coach to be a dick to media
Mike McCarthy had a bad week.
McCarthy lost his quarterback and likely the chances of his team winning the NFC North on Sunday when Anthony Barr knocked out Aaron Rodgers with a broken collarbone on the game’s opening drive.
Naturally, the loss of Rodgers for what is assumed to be the remainder of the season brought up the question of Colin Kaepernick and if he would be an option for McCarthy should he wish to add a quarterback.
McCarthy snapped on the reporter for asking the question.
Visibly upset, McCarthy asked the reporter if he listened to his previous comments and ranted about how he has invested years into third-string quarterback Joe Callahan.
Don't think Mike McCarthy has any interest in answering questions about Colin Kaepernick. pic.twitter.com/CbMrLlBS7L
— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) October 16, 2017
McCarthy has a right to feel he has invested significant time into Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan as a reason for not considering Kaepernick. But the Packers head coach comes off as a dick to the reporter and brought further attention to an insignificant storyline that would fade if not for the reaction to the question.
For the 12034453434556666565656th time, stop being rude to reporters for asking questions.
Rant 3: The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl contenders
Lost in the Week 6 shuffle due to the Thursday Night Football time slot was the Philadelphia Eagles impressive road win over the Carolina Panthers. Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz and the Eagles defense outduelling Cam Newton’s Panthers in a win that moved Philadelphia to 5-1.
The Eagles defense forced three interceptions off of Newton and Carson Wentz threw for three touchdowns in a statement win for the Eagles to take full control of the NFC East with a big win.
— Léno (@DavidLCarrion) October 13, 2017
After six games, the Eagles are tied with their former coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs for the best record in football. The wins haven’t been as impressive as the Chiefs win over the Patriots, but 5-1 is a record that commands respect and a road win over the Panthers solidifies the Eagles status as legitimate contenders.
With Aaron Rodgers out for the year, the door is firmly open for the Eagles to have their best season in the post-Reid era. The NFC is wide open for the taking and with Washington coming to the city for Monday Night Football, things are getting really interesting in Philadelphia heading into a crucial NFC East primetime game.
Week 6 Awards
Player of the Week: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Le’Veon Bell carried the Steelers offense on his shoulders in the team’s 19-13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Silencing Arrowhead Stadium with 179 yards on the ground in what was his best showing of the 2017 season and a sign that Bell is back to his perch at the top of the running back class.
Le'Veon Bell had a day! pic.twitter.com/Va3MTWGcwT
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 16, 2017
Defensive Player of the Week: Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee Titans
Wesley Woodyard was all over the field for the Tennessee Titans in the second half when they mounted their comeback over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football.
Woodyard posted six tackles and two assists for the Titans in one of the finest performances of his career. None of those tackles were more important than his 4th and 1 stop of Jacoby Brissett in the flat, which gave the Titans a win that snapped an 11 game losing streak to their AFC South rivals.
— #TitanUp (@TitanUp247) October 17, 2017
Rookie of the Week: Evan Engram, New York Giants
With the New York Giants wideout corps depleted with injuries to their top three receivers in Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard it was rookie tight end Evan Engram who answered the bell to carry the aerial workload on Sunday Night Football.
— New York Giants (@Giants) October 16, 2017
Against the staunch Broncos defense, Engram posted five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in the win over Denver. Engram’s touchdown catch to put the Giants up 10-0 set the tone at a crucial moment and played a big factor in the team’s first win of the 2017 season in a moment where the Giants needed a big game from their first-round selection.