Sat Aug 17 11:45pm ET
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) makes a touchdown catch in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels (38) runs the ball as Kansas City Chiefs defensive back D'Montre Wade (40) tries to tackle him in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) is hit as he plays against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passes in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) runs away from Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor (97) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Matthew Wright wears a "DD" sticker on the back of his helmet before a preseason NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Pittsburgh. The team will wear the stickers to honor receivers coach Darryl Drake who died last week. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
PITTSBURGH (AP) Mason Rudolph guided a long first-half touchdown drive to perhaps nudge ahead of Josh Dobbs in the race to be the backup behind Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 17-7 on Saturday night.
Rudolph finished 10 of 15 for 77 yards while Dobbs completed 6 of 11 for 95 yards with a red-zone interception on a night the Steelers (2-0) opted to keep several key starters on the sideline, from quarterback Roethlisberger to Pro Bowl offensive linemen David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey to rookie linebacker Devin Bush.
Kansas City coach Andy Reid suggested Patrick Mahomes would play most of the first half.
The reigning NFL MVP - who directed a touchdown in his lone drive in Kansas City's preseason opener last week - did little during two series of work following a thunderstorm that forced the opening kickoff to be pushed back nearly an hour.
Mahomes completed just 2 of 5 passes for 11 yards, a far cry from his previous visit to Heinz Field, when he threw for six touchdowns in a Week 2 win last September that served as a harbinger of the season to come.
Mahomes' best play during his cameo may have been his decision to slide during an 8-yard scramble, something he didn't do a week ago when he lowered his shoulder against Cincinnati rather than step out of bounds.
Chad Henne found Mecole Hardman for a 17-yard touchdown late in the first half for Kansas City (1-1), which managed a lone touchdown a week after putting up 38 against the Bengals. Hardman, a second-round pick, has two touchdowns in two weeks and his rapid emergence could give Reid another option to play with in what could be the NFL's most potent offense.
Pittsburgh chose to give the 37-year-old Roethlisberger the night off. Rudolph, a third-round pick a year ago who is hoping to supplant Dobbs as the top backup, was given the start instead. Playing with a group that included Pro Bowl running back James Conner and star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rudolph struggled early to gain some momentum.
It wasn't until Rudolph found himself playing with the reserves that he started to get going. He directed a 14-play, 89-yard drive in the second quarter, a series that ended with a 14-yard sprint to the end zone by Jaylen Samuels.
Dobbs started off brilliantly, hitting Washington for a 40-yard gain. He couldn't sustain the momentum, thanks in part to an interception in the end in which he overthrew Diontae Johnson. The ball sailed into the arms of Kansas City's Charvarius Ward to cut short a scoring chance late in the first half.
Johnson, a third-round pick, ended up scoring in the fourth quarter when he made a diving grab in the end zone on a heave from fourth-stringer Devlin Hodges.
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Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree is entering the season with a significant amount of pressure after Pittsburgh opted to pick up his fifth-year option but have not approached him about signing a long-term deal. Dupree provided a spark, sacking Mahomes and Henne and knocking down a pass.
A difficult week that began with the sudden passing of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake at age 62 ended with the Steelers making sure Drake's legacy won't be forgotten.
Coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert and their wives attended Drake's funeral in Gallatin, Tennessee. The wide receivers took the field for warmups with shirts emblazoned with the phrase ''Shut out the noise,'' the credo Drake adopted for his group for the 2019 season.
Dozens of Steelers knelt for a prayer shortly before kickoff and the team will wear ''DD'' stickers on their helmets this season and a moment of silence was held just before the national anthem.
The Chiefs didn't escape Heinz Field unscathed. Safety Tyrann Matthieu left with a shoulder injury. Wide receiver Deon Yelder went down with a knee injury and Marcus Kemp exited with a knee injury. Linebacker Breeland Speaks suffered a knee injury in the second half and did not return. Quarterback Chase Litton was taken out in the final seconds after taking a hard hit shortly after releasing a pass.
Chiefs: Host San Francisco next Saturday.
Steelers: Expect to give Roethlisberger his only reps of the preseason next Sunday when they visit Tennessee.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders pulled in 11 of his 13 targets for 98 yards and a touchdown during the Week 2 loss to the Bears. It was Sanders second game in a row in which he has scored while also accounting for both of quarterback Joe Flaccos touchdowns on the year. He will continue to have his number called by Flacco and should retain his must-start designation (in most leagues) in the weeks ahead. Keep him rolling.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay finished with 36 yards on 13 attempts to go along with four receptions (seven targets) for 30 yards. The 25-year-old continues to split carries with fellow running back Royce Freeman, who took away 11 potential carries while eating up some targets from quarterback Joe Flacco. Until either man demonstrates a stable workload moving forward, they shouldnt be considered a reliable fantasy option. Keep an eye on this situation in the weeks ahead.
Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman rushed for 54 yards on 11 carries during the loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. As usual, Freeman split carries once again with Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for 36 yards on 13 attempts, with both men also combining for nine receptions. Unless there is an injury, expect both players to contribute equally in the weeks ahead, with both retaining little fantasy value at the moment.
Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco went 35-for-50 for 292 yards and a touchdown, connecting with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders late in the fourth quarter in the loss to the Bears. The veteran, who played just nine games in 2018 while still a member of the Baltimore Ravens, is posting a 69.1 completion percentage and 91.6 passer rating, with both being career-bests in his first season in Denver. However, he retains little fantasy value outside of deeper leagues or two-quarterback formats, at least until he starts throwing a few more touchdowns.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had just four receptions for 34 yards during the Week 2 win over the Eagles. After pulling in all nine of his looks against the Vikings in Week 2, Hooper cooled off and was barely targeted on Sunday night despite quarterback Matt Ryan throwing the ball 43 times. Hooper will attempt to get back on track in Week 3 for a meeting with the Colts. He is a borderline-start.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley pulled in eight receptions (10 targets) for 105 yards and a touchdown during the Week 2 victory over the Eagles. It was yet another promising showing for the sophomore wideout as he has now recorded 12 receptions and two scores on the year. Look for him to continue to get his looks from quarterback Matt Ryan in the Falcons pass-heavy offense. He remains a must-start against the Colts in Week 3.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones pulled in just five of his 10 targets on Sunday against the Eagles, but still finished with 106 yards and two scores, including catching a 54-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter. After an uneventful Week 1 showing against the Vikings, the veteran wideout managed to get it together for a much-needed win against Philly. With three touchdowns in the books for Jones, the Falcons will meet up with the Colts on Sunday. Jones remains a must-start.
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman rushed for just 22 yards on 11 attempts during the Week 2 showdown with the Eagles, but he attempted to offset those numbers by pulling in three receptions for 42 yards. Nonetheless, it was still a relatively disappointing showing for the 27-year-old who has rushed for just 41 yards on the year. After playing only two games in 2018, Freeman hopefully shook off any remaining residual rust over the first two weeks and will attempt to get things going against the Colts on Sunday.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had an up-and-down game on Sunday night against the Eagles. Despite throwing for 320 yards and three touchdowns, the veteran also tossed three picks that nearly led to Atlantas second loss of the season. Nonetheless, Ryan was able to shine when it counted most and connected on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. With five touchdowns and five interceptions on the year, Ryan will look to get on track against the Colts in Week 3. Keep him starting.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown pulled in seven of his eight targets for 72 yards in the win over the Giants. For the second week in a row, Brown led the team in looks from quarterback Josh Allen. He should be on the radar in all fantasy leagues, regardless of format, as Brown and No. 2 wideout Cole Beasley will likely continue to gobble up most of the teams receptions. Look for him to keep it going against the Bengals in Week 3.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley hauled in all four of his targets for 83 yards during the win over the Giants on Sunday. It was another relatively productive outing for Beasley, who has served as quarterback Josh Allens No. 2 receiving option behind John Brown by compiling nine receptions (13 targets) over the first two games of the season. With Robert Foster being a non-factor so far in 2019, look for the former Cowboy to continue to get his looks in the weeks ahead.
Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore was the teams leading rusher during the Week 2 win over the Giants. While Devin Singletary got some touches, finishing with six runs for 57 yards and a touchdown, the 36-year-old also left a favorable impression by logging 19 carries for 68 yards and a score of his own. With Singletary injuring his hamstring in the fourth quarter, Gores fantasy stock could rise in the weeks ahead if the rookie isnt able to suit up. Keep an eye on this situation as Gore, along with T.J. Yeldon, could get some extra work in Week 3 against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was productive during the Week 2 win over the Giants. Allen was efficient across the board on Sunday, throwing for 253 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 21 yards and a score on seven attempts. The sophomore has been impactful during his tenure in Buffalo and became the first Bill since Jim Kelly to throw for at least 200 yards in seven straight games. If Allen is available in your league, the upside is there, especially if you are in need of a signal-caller in deep, two-quarterback formats.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf kept the good times rolling in Week 2 as he juggled and grasped his first NFL touchdown. With a beautiful pass dropped right in on his hands as he faded towards the back corner of the end zone, Metcalf made it exciting by bobbling the ball twice before securing it and getting both feet in-bounds. Metcalf has been a bit of a revelation earlier after everyone was positive he was just a workout warrior who wouldn't be able to cut it as a receiver in the league. It's certainly still early, but it looks like he might have the goods to be a solid No. 2.
Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers officially missed his first field goal attempt of the season on Sunday, but it was a 58-yarder, so no one's too upset. Myers did knock down a 46-yard kick in the second quarter, but it was negated by a penalty on Pittsburgh and later turned into a touchdown a couple plays later. Myers remained perfect on extra points, and he looks like he's still in fine form. Myers should be get plenty of field goal opportunities as the season rolls along, but for the team certainly won't be upset if he gets to pound through extra points at a nice clip too.
Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly had a big day on Sunday as he brought down a pair of touchdowns against the Steelers. The second-year player generated some excitement last season before he went down with an injury, and he's already been on a couple injury reports this year but this is his potential. Dissly's catches were both on easy straight shots right up the middle of the field, and they looked a whole lot like the types of plays fans always thought would head to Jimmy Graham when he was wearing a Seahawks jersey. If Dissly can establish himself as a solid red zone option, he could see a lot of action for Seattle. He'll need to stay healthy first though.
The Seattle Seahawks were sitting pretty with a nine-point lead and less than six minutes left in the game when running back Chris Carson dropped the ball. Literally. With everyone in the stadium knowing that Seattle was just going to run out the clock, Carson simply missed grabbing the ball on a straight handoff when it was placed right in his gut. To make matters worse, the drop happened on the team's six yard-line. Pittsburgh recovered, scored on the next play, and Seattle fans chewed their nails as the team barely hung on to the win. This was Carson's second lost fumble of the game (though it was credited to Wilson, it was completely Carson's fault), and it's his third of the year. This is not a good trend.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett got a bit of attention last week after he was only targeted twice in the squeaked out win against the Bengals, but this should clear up that concern. Unfortunately, Lockett wasn't able to reach the end zone on any of the catches, but 10 catches on 12 targets should certainly remind everyone that Lockett's still one of Wilson's most dependable and favorite targets. The addition of D.K. Metcalf has obviously gone well so far, but Lockett is still the team's safety blanket when they really need that critical first down. He should still see plenty of chances and scores this year.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 300 yards on Sunday, hitting the number for just the second time in the last two years. Wilson completed a whopping 82% of his passes, spread the ball around to eight different receivers, tacked on 22 yards rushing including a couple critical runs in the fourth quarter, and even acted as the lead blocker on a touchdown. Wilson continues to be dependable and deadly accurate, like his drop in the bucket on D.K. Metcalf's touchdown catch, and he's well on his way to another strong season. Seattle's offense is always an adventure, but Wilson looks as solid as ever at the helm.
Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny may not get a ton of playing time, but he's certainly got his teammates on his side. Penny changed direction on a run and bounced it all the way to the other side of the line halfway through the third quarter. None other than Russell Wilson himself happened to be the only possible blocker hanging on that end of the line, so Wilson laid the wood as Penny scampered through the secondary and scored from 37 yards out. Penny tallied 25 more rushing yards on nine more carries, which wasn't terribly impressive, but he'll at least show up on highlight shows for being the lucky recipient of an elite QB clearing a path for him.