Steelers stop Chiefs
The Pittsburgh Steelers escaped with a victory. The health of their franchise quarterback is another matter entirely.
The Steelers edged the woeful Kansas City Chiefs 16-13 in overtime on Monday night but lost Ben Roethlisberger for most of the second half – and perhaps a lot longer – with a right shoulder injury.
Roethlisberger left early in the third quarter after getting slammed to the turf by Kansas City linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Coach Mike Tomlin said he was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
The Steelers (6-3) went on to their fourth consecutive victory. Shaun Suisham kicked a 23-yard field goal 51 seconds into the extra period, one play after Lawrence Timmons intercepted Kansas City’s Matt Cassel and returned it to the 5.
Jamaal Charles ran for 100 yards and a score for the Chiefs (1-8), who have lost six straight.
In the final 2 minutes, Cassel led Kansas City 52 yards, converting a fourth-and-15 in the process, to set up a tying 46-yard field goal by Ryan Succop as time expired.
Roethlisberger is in the midst of a career year but struggled through a so-so first half and was 9 of 18 for 84 yards and a touchdown when Hali came down on top of him while taking a sack on Pittsburgh’s first possession of the second half.
Byron Leftwich, playing for the first time in two years, was rusty in relief. He completed 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards, though he did produce a scoring drive early in the third quarter that gave the Steelers a 13-10 lead.
Cassel completed 11 of 26 passes for 154 yards for Kansas City. Pittsburgh came in riding a three-game winning streak that erased the sour taste of a 2-3 start, and the Steelers insisted all week they wouldn’t look past the Chiefs toward a the coming showdown against rival Baltimore on Sunday.
With Charles gashing Pittsburgh’s defensive line and Cassel avoiding mistakes, Kansas City raced in front 10-0. Cassel hit Tony Moeaki for 38 yards on the Chiefs’ second drive, setting up a 12-yard touchdown run by Charles to give Kansas City its first lead since a 7-3 victory over Denver in the 2011 regular-season finale.
The lead grew to 10-0 after an Isaac Redman fumble deep in Pittsburgh territory led to a 22-yard field goal by Succop.
But like any brief flirtation with success for Kansas City, it didn’t last.
QBs leaving concussed
With so much attention paid to replacement refs and bounty ruling appeals this season, concussions have been an issue that’s slipped a bit under the radar lately. But it’s hard to ignore this: 25 percent of Sunday’s NFL games saw a starting QB leave with a concussion.
Two were Chicago’s Jay Cutler and San Francisco’s Alex Smith, whose teams play each other next Monday. Both stayed in Sunday’s games for several plays after what appeared to be head-rattling hits. Smith even threw a TD pass while playing with blurred vision before he departed, according to coach Jim Harbaugh.
Vick has concussion
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid said Michael Vick suffered a “pretty significant” concussion and was told to stay home and rest.
Reid says he could not immediately rule out Vick for Sunday’s game at Washington. Reid, though, made it sound likely that rookie Nick Foles will start.
Browns president Mike Holmgren is on his way out at the end of the season. He just hasn’t decided where he’s going or what he wants to do.
Hoping to squelch a weekend report that he would be interested in coaching the Dallas Cowboys if Jason Garrett gets fired, Holmgren, who may leave the Browns before this season ends, went out of his way to make it known he isn’t angling for any job.
Returning to a defense that didn’t seem to miss him much, Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams is willing to do anything – even play special teams – to get back on the field after missing the first nine games of the season because of suspensions.
The Broncos are expected to put him on the active roster this week. Coach John Fox said Williams’ role will be determined after coaches see him practice.
Around the league
Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey said running back Fred Jackson has been diagnosed with a concussion and has been ruled out from playing against Miami on Thursday. … An MRI on Broncos defensive lineman Elvis Dumervil’s left shoulder showed no tear. … The Atlanta Falcons have released defensive end Ray Edwards. … The Kansas City Chiefs have placed defensive end Glenn Dorsey on injured reserve with a calf injury and added defensive back Neiko Thorpe to the 53-man roster.