Boswell, Defense Lead Steelers To AFC Championship Game

It wasn’t pretty, but a Pittsburgh Steelers victory rarely is.  It would take a playoff record six field goals from Chris Boswell, a stout defense, and a timely holding call on a two point conversion to earn the victory.  In the end Pittsburgh defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 and punched their ticket to a 16th AFC Championship game since 1970.

The Steelers opened the game by moving the ball down the field, but had to settle for the first Boswell field goal of the night.  Kansas City then took the ball and carved up the Pittsburgh defense on their way to Alex Smith throwing a 5yd touchdown pass to Albert Wilson.  Before the quarter ended another field goal for the black and gold made it a 7-6 game.

Boswell would account for the next three scores with field goals from 36, 45, and 43 yards out.  The Chiefs Cairo Santos added his lone field goal of the night, from 48 yards away to make the score 15-10 at the end of the third quarter.  The Boz would kick his final field goal, another 43 yarder, early in the fourth quarter to give the Steelers an 18-10 lead.

Kansas City was then able to move the ball down the field converting a key fourth down inside the five yard line that set up a 1yd touchdown run by Spencer Ware.  The Chiefs had to go for two at this point and appeared to have the game tied, but a holding call against tackle Eric Fisher nullified the attempt.  Pittsburgh then stopped the second attempt and was able to run the clock out to finish off the game.

The three B’s are what make the Steelers go and are key in how far this team goes in the playoffs.  Ben Roethlisberger ended the night 20-31 for 224yds and one interception.  Hardly the type of game any fan would expect Ben to have and have the team win.  Le’Veon Bell rushed for 170 yards on 30 carries and broke the NFL record for most rushing yards in their first two playoff games.  Antonio Brown led all receivers with 108 yards on 6 catches.  The numbers for two out of the three looked good, but the inability to find the end zone is what kept this game closer than it should have been.

While the fourth B, Boswell, saved the day on the offensive side of the ball this week, it will take the other three B’s ability to finish drives in order for them to go on the road and take down the powerhouse New England Patriots.  The defense will need to get to Tom Brady early and often, as it seems the best way to beat him is to get him frustrated.  All in all the Steelers are one of four teams left playing and it should be a good game this Sunday.

Next Game:  Sunday January 22 at New England Patriots 6:40pm on CBS