GAME BALL GOES TO: CB KEENAN LEWIS
In a game in which the offense and defense took turns allowing the Chiefs to hang in the game, it was up to Lewis to put an end to what was looking to be another long drive that could have cost the Steelers the game. Lewis' leaping interception at the Steelers 14 and subsequent 9-yard return with 28 seconds remaining was the third interception and fourth takeaway of the game for a defense that had just six takeaways in the first 10 games. Chiefs QB Tyler Palko finished with a passer rating of 40.9.
X's AND O's
Are reports of Hines Ward's demise premature? After not starting and playing sparingly a game earlier against the Bengals, Ward started and played in some of the two-wide receiver sets against the Chiefs. Ward even caught four passes, tying for the team high, though they totaled only 21 yards. But in most three-wide receiver formations, the Steelers used Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, who returned after missing two games because of a torn meniscus in his knee.THE COUNTDOWN
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1 THREE BAD PLAYS. After taking a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, the Chiefs committed turnovers on three consecutive plays, beginning with a fumbled snap by QB Tyler Palko that DE Brett Keisel recovered at the Chiefs 38. But the biggest mistake was one play after the Steelers tied the score at 3-3, thanks to an Ike Taylor interception on first down. Palko threw a pick right to S Ryan Mundy at the Chiefs 24, setting up the only touchdown. "The fumbled snap was a killer," Chiefs coach Todd Haley said.
2 GOOD ASSIST. The Chiefs had a hand in the Steelers' only touchdown, getting called for two defensive holding penalties on the drive. The most significant came when S Jon McGraw was penalized on third-and-6 at the Chiefs 20, wiping out a sack by OLB Tamba Hali.
3 OH, EMMANUEL. Playing for the first time since surgery to repair a torn meniscus, Emmanuel Sanders had back-to-back catches for 13 and 12 yards near the end of the first half, the latter off of a deflection. It allowed Shaun Suisham to kick a 49-yard field goal as time expired.
4 IKE ... FINALLY. Even though the ball was thrown right to him, Ike Taylor's first interception of the season and 29-yard return to the Chiefs 7 set up the first score, even though it meant having to settle for a 21-yard field goal that tied the score at 3-3 early in the second quarter.
5 BAD TONE-SETTER. After dictating the tempo with opening-drive TDs in five of the previous six games, the Steelers appeared on the verge of doing it again until Mewelde Moore fumbled at the Chiefs 2 after a 6-yard gain, allowing the Chiefs to recover in the end zone.
"Any time you turn the ball over four times and you're responsible for it, it stings a lot. Our offensive line did a good job. ... We were in that game late. Those are all on me. I'm not giving them a chance to win right now. That has to stop." -- Tyler Palko, Chiefs quarterback
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
Late in the third quarter, facing fourth-and-4 at the Chiefs 39, Ben Roethlisberger charged to the line of scrimmage as though he were going to run a play. His hope was that he might be able to lure the Chiefs into jumping offside. But instead of letting the play clock run out and taking what would have been an insignificant delay-of-game penalty, Roethlisberger called a timeout -- thereby wasting what could have been a valuable timeout in a close game. The decision looked even more curious when Jeremy Kapinos punted into the end zone.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Takeaways the defense had in a span of three quarters, dating to the fourth quarter of the Bengals game, after having just four in the first 39 quarters of the season. Four of the five were INTs, including picks by CB Ike Taylor and S Ryan Mundy in the first half vs. Chiefs.
CINCINNATI BENGALS, 1 P.M. : The Steelers (8-3) return home to play the Bengals (7-4). The Steelers won the first meeting Nov. 13 in Paul Brown Stadium and are 12-5 vs. the Bengals since Marvin Lewis became their head coach.