Steelers keep Chiefs in check in 17-7 victory

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.

Not quite.

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.

THIS BUD'S FOR YOU?

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.

HONORING DRAKE

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.

TRAINER'S ROOM

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.

UP NEXT

Chiefs: Host San Francisco next Saturday.

Steelers: Expect to give Roethlisberger his only reps of the preseason next Sunday when they visit Tennessee.

Player Notes
Dallas Goedert Sep 27 1:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert has been helped to the locker room with an apparent left foot injury in Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. With the Eagles already light on pass catchers and already relying on two-tight-end sets to make their offense work, it'll be important to watch to see how serious this issue is and if Goedert is able to return to the field in Week 3.

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Jordan Reed Sep 27 1:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end Jordan Reed fell awkwardly in the back of the end zone in the first half of Sunday's game against the New York Jets. It appeared that Reed suffered a left ankle injury. The MetLife Stadium turf took a toll on the 49ers last week when they faced the Jets, and it appears the trend is continuing. If Reed ends up missing time, expect Ross Dwelley to work as the primary backup tight end to George Kittle, who isn't playing in this week's game after he was hurt at this stadium last week.

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Rashard Higgins Sep 27 12:30pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins won't be active in Week 3 against the Washington Football Team. Considering he took just vie offensive snaps in Week 2, this move shouldn't come as a big surprise. Higgins was getting some preseason hype, but it's time to pull the ripcord if you're still rostering him in redraft leagues. KhaDarel Hodge has solidified a role as the No. 3 receiver in Cleveland, and we'll see a little more of JoJo Natson today, though not enough to make any kind of fantasy movement happen.

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Cam Akers Sep 27 12:20pm ET

Los Angeles Rams rookie running back Cam Akers (ribs) is out for Sunday's contest against the Buffalo Bills. Without Akers, expect Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. to split carries, with the advantage likely going to Henderson. Brown is a touchdown-dependent fantasy play, while Henderson has the potential to be a solid RB3. Both guys have their upside limited due to a tough matchup with the Buffalo Bills Defense.

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Tajae Sharpe Sep 27 12:20pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Tajae Sharpe is a healthy scratch on Sunday against his former team, the Tennessee Titans. Considering Sharpe had taken just 16 offensive snaps this season, this doesn't move the needle at all. Wide receiver Chad Beebe will play for the first time this year, but like Sharpe would have been, Beebe isn't a fantasy option this week. The Vikings offense doesn't have the upside to support their fringe receivers as fantasy plays.

From RotoBaller

Josh Jacobs Sep 27 12:10pm ET

No surprise here, as all reports indicated both would play, but it's now official: Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (hip) and tight end Darren Waller (knee) are both playing against the Patriots. Both players are must-play options in season-long leagues, with Waller being a TE1 option and Jacobs being a strong RB2 play. Don't be concerned about how the injury issues will impact their performance today. The bigger issue is the Patriots Defense and a game script that might be bad for Jacobs.

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Darren Waller Sep 27 12:03pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Waller has 18 receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown through his first two games this season and has developed into QB Derek Carr's favorite target. His steady role in the Las Vegas offense makes him a viable starting option in all fantasy formats.

From TheHuddle

John Ross Sep 27 12:03pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Higgins is off to a slow start this season with only 35 receiving yards but should be more involved in the passing game this week. He has a chance to have success against the Philadelphia Eagles and could be a flex option in deeper leagues. Tate may see a handful of targets but can be avoided in most leagues. Fantasy players should keep an eye on Ross' status to see when he will return to the lineup.

From TheHuddle

John Ross Sep 27 12:00pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross III is a healthy scratch in Week 3 against the Eagles. After being targeted five times in Week 1 and playing 84 percent of the team's snaps, he saw that snap share fall to 30 percent last week. Now, the Bengals won't have Ross on the field this week. It sounds like this team is already wanting to see how rookie Tee Higgins and other players look. This isn't the first time that the Bengals have made a wide receiver a surprise inactive this year, and Ross could very well suit up next week, but his fantasy outlook moving forward becomes very cloudy. You can probably drop him in most season-long redraft leagues.

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Devonta Freeman Sep 27 12:00pm ET

New York Giants running back Devonta Freeman was just signed this week, but he'll officially be active for Sunday's meeting with a banged-up 49ers Defense. Freeman's a risky fantasy option for this week as he works his way into being part of a new team, but at some point this season, Freeman's going to be the lead back in the Meadowlands. For this week, he's a deep-league flex option with a fairly low floor.

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Dee Ford Sep 27 11:53am ET

The San Francisco 49ers have declared CB Ahkello Witherspoon, DL Dee Ford, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, LB Dre Greenlaw, TE George Kittle, OG Tom Compton and RB Raheem Mostert inactive for Week 3.

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Sep 27 11:53am ET

The Chicago Bears have declared OT Arlington Hambright, DL Daniel McCullers, LB Trevis Gipson, CB Duke Shelley and WR Riley Ridley inactive for Week 3.

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Adrian Colbert Sep 27 11:53am ET

The New York Giants have declared S Adrian Colbert, DT R.J. McIntosh, TE Eric Tomlinson, CB Brandon Z. Williams, OT Jackson Barton and LB T.J. Brunson inactive for Week 3.

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Duke Johnson Sep 27 11:50am ET

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N'Keal Harry Sep 27 11:50am ET

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Tajae Sharpe Sep 27 11:43am ET

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Alex Smith Sep 27 11:43am ET

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Geno Atkins Sep 27 11:43am ET

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Julio Jones Sep 27 11:40am ET

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Tyrod Taylor Sep 27 11:40am ET

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