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
Josh Jacobs Sep 16 4:50pm ET

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said that wide receiver Tyrell Williams (hip) is dealing with a hip pointer and rookie running back Josh Jacobs (groin) has a groin issue. It remains to be seen if either player is in danger of missing Week 3 at the Vikings, but their practices statuses this week will give us a better indication. Williams has been the team's top receiver through two games, has 14 targets and has scored in both weeks, although he could struggle against Minnesota cornerback Xavier Rhodes if he's not 100 percent healthy. Jacobs is the workhorse in the Raiders backfield, but he was held to only 12 attempts in the blowout loss to Kansas City in Week 2 and has just one target in the passing game in two contests. Consider Jacobs a low-end RB2 in a tough matchup if he plays in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Sep 16 4:50pm ET

The Buffalo Bills are "still gathering information" on rookie running back Devin Singletary (hamstring), and he's listed as day-to-day for now. He might miss some practice time this week, but as of now his injury doesn't seem very serious. Singletary has been more impressive than veteran Frank Gore through two games, but Gore carried the ball 19 times to Singletary's six rushes, and Gore also caught two passes. The rookie should see more run as the season goes on, but for now he's just an RB3/flex with upside if he plays in Week 3 against the Bengals. If he doesn't play this Sunday, T.J. Yeldon would have a bigger role behind Gore.

From RotoBaller

Marcus Mariota Sep 16 4:43pm ET

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota (quadriceps) did not participate in practice Monday, Sept. 16. The Titans did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will know more about Mariota's status over the next few days. He has thrown for 402 yards and four touchdowns in the first two games but will be facing a solid Jacksonville Jaguars defense this week and could be benched if players have better options.

From TheHuddle

David Johnson Sep 16 4:40pm ET

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that running back David Johnson (wrist) is fine to play in Week 3 against the Panthers. Because Johnson was forced to leave the Week 2 game against the Ravens with his injury, he only carried the ball seven times for 14 yards and caught his only target in the passing game for no gain. He somewhat salvaged his day with a rushing score, but it was a disappointing week for Johnson's owners nonetheless. Johnson remains a focal point in an offense that hasn't struggled to move the ball through two games, though, and he should be a strong RB1 this weekend against a Carolina defense that has had problems slowing down the run so far.

From RotoBaller

Tyrell Williams Sep 16 4:33pm ET

Oakland Raiders WR Tyrell Williams (hip) is dealing with a hip pointer, according to head coach Jon Gruden.

Fantasy Spin: Williams did see a drop in his production in Week 2 after a strong opener but was able to catch a touchdown pass for the second straight week. He will be facing a solid Minnesota Vikings defense this week but could still be a No. 3 receiver or flex option.

From TheHuddle

Chris Conley Sep 16 4:23pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Chris Conley (hip) was limited during practice Monday, Sept. 16. The Jaguars did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.

Fantasy Spin: Conley is off to a solid start to the season with 170 yards and one touchdown. He has caught 10 of his 12 targets this season and appears to have a good connection with Gardner Minshew. Fantasy players in deeper leagues could consider Conley as a possible flex option.

From TheHuddle

A.J. Bouye Sep 16 4:23pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Josh Oliver (hamstring) and LB D.J. Alexander (hamstring) did not participate in practice Monday, Sept. 16. CB A.J. Bouye (hip), CB Joshua Robinson (foot), S Ronnie Harrison (ankle) and DE Yannick Ngakoue (hamstring) were limited during practice. OT Cam Robinson (knee) and OT Cedric Ogbuehi (hamstring) fully participated in practice. The Jaguars did not hold a practice Monday, so these are estimations.

From TheHuddle

Drew Stanton Sep 16 4:23pm ET

Cleveland Browns QB Drew Stanton (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Sept. 16.

From TheHuddle

DeVante Parker Sep 16 4:20pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker tied for the team-lead with his seven targets in a 43-0 loss to the Patriots on Sunday but the perennial breakout candidate was unable to haul in even a single catch. Some concessions can be made given that Parker drew primary coverage from shutdown corner Stephon Gilmore but getting blanked is still unacceptable from a fantasy perspective. With the hapless Miami Dolphins going on the road to face the Dallas Cowboys and Ryan Fitzpatrick still leading the impotent offense, there are no good reasons to start Parker in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Chark Sep 16 4:13pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark (ankle) was limited during practice Monday, Sept. 16. The Jaguars did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.

Fantasy Spin: Chark was targeted nine times in the Week 2 game and appears to have good chemistry with Gardner Minshew. He has scored a touchdown in each of the first two games and could be a flex option in some deeper leagues if he plays.

From TheHuddle

Marqise Lee Sep 16 4:13pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (knee) was limited during practice Monday, Sept. 16. The Jaguars did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.

Fantasy Spin: Lee did not play in Week 2, so his status for Week 3 is still to be determined. Fantasy players likely will be able to find better options to use and can keep Lee on the bench.

From TheHuddle

Ryan Fitzpatrick Sep 16 3:23pm ET

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start for Week 3 versus the Dallas Cowboys, although head coach Brian Flores made it clear to the media Monday, Sept. 16, that the team is 'evaluating all positions.'

Fantasy Spin: Nothing much to see here. The Dolphins have been horrendous thus far, averaging five points and 192 yards of offense. It doesn't seem like it will take much longer before Miami pulls the plug here, but the question is whether Josh Rosen will be given much of a chance to prove himself behind the same poor offensive line. Pretty much any Dolphin player is not worth using in fantasy at the moment.

From TheHuddle

Michael Gallup Sep 16 3:03pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (knee) is expected to miss two to four weeks with a torn meniscus in his knee, according to the Dallas Morning News' Calvin Watkins via a source. Gallup is not believed to have suffered any structural damage to his knee, however.

Fantasy Spin: It's a bit of a blow to the Cowboys in that Gallup was really beginning to thrive as the vertical threat in Kellen Moore's offense, but the good news is he could be back as soon as Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers. Devin Smith makes for a strong fill-in in fantasy and reality in the interim, while Amari Cooper and perhaps even Jason Witten could see one to two more targets while Gallup is recovering.

From TheHuddle

Michael Gallup Sep 16 3:00pm ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (knee) will undergo arthroscopic surgery to trim the meniscus in his knee and will miss two to four weeks, according to sources. Gallup should be able to return relatively soon since no structural damage was found besides the meniscus tear. This is a tough one for his fantasy owners, as Gallup was off to a great start to his sophomore season, catching 13 passes (15 targets) for 226 yards in the first two weeks. The 23-year-old should remain stashed everywhere while he's out. Devin Smith, who caught three passes for 74 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown, should be inserted into three-wide sets. However, before this Sunday Smith hadn't scored since 2015. Randall Cobb and Amari Cooper should benefit the most from more targets with Gallup sidelined.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Sep 16 2:53pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (knee) is not expected to miss much - if any - time with the knee injury that sidelined him late in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, multiple teammates believe the injury is not serious, and Conner appeared to be moving fine walking around the locker room after the game.

Fantasy Spin: While this isn't exactly getting clearance from a doctor, this news combined with the fact he is expected to do his usual Monday radio interview are good signs all is well. It hasn't been a good start to the season for Conner, but the Steelers may need to rely on him more now than ever with Ben Roethlisberger done for the year. Jaylen Samuels would get the start if Conner misses a game, but it looks like fantasy owners of Conner may have lucked out here.

From TheHuddle

Willie Snead Sep 16 2:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Sneadcaught his only target for five yards in Sunday's win against the Cardinals. Through the first two weeks of the season, Snead has three receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown. Snead is the third receiving option on the depth chart but has one more catch and 30 more yards than second option Miles Boykin heading into Week 3. Snead should be left off fantasy rosters for now.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Fitzpatrick Sep 16 2:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick remains the team's starter heading into Week 3 against the Cowboys, according to head coach Brian Flores. There has been zero Fitzmagic in Miami in two games to begin the 2019 season, and the 36-year-old veteran was 11-for-21 for 89 yards and three interceptions, including two pick-sixes, in the 43-0 beatdown by the Patriots in Week 2. Fitzpatrick was benched for backup Josh Rosen for the second straight week in the fourth quarter, and he has completed half of his 50 attempts for one touchdown and four picks through two games. Fitzpatrick shouldn't even be a consideration in fantasy going up against an improved Dallas defense this weekend. It probably won't be long before Rosen is starting games for this rebuilding franchise.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Sep 16 2:40pm ET

Multiple teammates believe that Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner's (knee) injury is not serious, but Jaylen Samuels is prepared to start in Week 3 against the 49ers on the road if necessary. Conner walked through the locker room following the Week 2 loss to the Seahawks and appeared to be moving fine. Keep a close eye on Conner's practice status this week, although he could be questionable either way for an afternoon game this Sunday in San Francisco. All skill players for Pittsburgh need to be downgraded with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) out for the year, but Samuels could have RB2 upside in Week 3 if Conner doesn't play. Samuels will be a popular waiver wire addition this week, especially for those that own Conner.

From RotoBaller

Gus Edwards Sep 16 2:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards rushed for 11 yards on three carries in Sunday's win against the Cardinals. Quarterback Lamar Jackson led the team with 120 rushing yards on 16 carries and starting running back Mark Ingram led the backfield with 47 yards on 13 carries. No one from the Ravens backfield rotation got in the end zone Sunday. At this point in the season, it's hard to see Edwards have any relevance for your starting lineup as the second option in Baltimore, but he could prove to be a valuable bench-stash handcuff to Ingram in the event that Ingram goes down. Ingram exited the game briefly Sunday with an apparent back injury but returned shortly after.

From RotoBaller

Corey Clement Sep 16 2:13pm ET

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles RB Corey Clement (shoulder) is expected to miss one to two weeks after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons.

From TheHuddle