Both teams lost high-profile playmakers during the offseason. The Chiefs are still searching for a replacement for dynamic running back Kareem Hunt and their fortunes took a turn for the better a few weeks ago when the NFL announced that wide receiver Tyreek Hill would not be facing discipline after he violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is dealing with the loss of two of the game’s biggest stars: Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. These next two games should help give fans an idea of who will step in to fill the void for their respective teams. Will the Steelers be able to top the Chiefs at home in Week 2 of the 2019 preseason on Saturday evening?
Mahomes perfect in preseason opener
The Chiefs opened the 2019 preseason with a commanding 38-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Patrick Mahomes was perfect in his lone series of the day, completing 4-for-4 passes for 66 yards before giving way to the Chiefs’ stable of backup quarterbacks. Mahomes will presumably get more action over the next two weeks, but head coach Andy Reid will need to get more from backups Chase Litton and rookie Kyle Shurmur if they are going to have a repeat performance. Shurmur finished just 6-for-15 for 77 yards and had an interception called back due to pass interference. Meanwhile, Litton was 11-for-15 with 122 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on the day.
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are back 🎯
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 11, 2019
Kansas City also got positive contributions from rookie running back Darwin Thompson, who could emerge as a player to watch in their backfield this season. Thompson displayed a low center of gravity, which should help him remain effective between the tackles at the NFL-level. He also showed improved vision and decision-making ability, which was a major question mark for him on Draft day.
The biggest story of the day was the Chiefs’ defense, which held the Bengals to just 274 total yards. Kansas City was able to consistently generate pressure on the quarterback, forcing the Bengals into several penalties in an attempt to negate their furious pass-rush.
Steelers adjusting to life without Brown, Bell
The Steelers are still adjusting to life without star wide receiver Antonio Brown, but their decision to trade the perennial Pro Bowl playmaker is starting to look better by the day. Brown was shipped off to Oakland for a less-than-impressive haul that brought back third and fifth-round draft picks. You have to wonder what they would get in return now, after the enigmatic wide receiver threatened to retire over a helmet dispute and endured “frostbite” when he underwent cryotherapy treatment without proper footwear.
James Washington 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/9ltceznMJn
— Boone Pickens State © (@BPSTATE_) August 9, 2019
Brown’s replacements have also been performing well thus far, helping ease the blow of losing one of the game’s top playmakers. James Washington, who is battling to replace Brown on the depth chart, caught four passes four 84 yards and a score in Pittsburgh’s Week 1 win over Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh might also have another rookie sensation on the horizon in third-round selection Diontae Johnson, who was off to a strong start in training camp before being slowed by an injury in recent weeks. Johnny Holton and Tevin Jones also made a case for a roster spot with strong performances in Week 1, proving yet again that the Steelers can find talent at wide receiver in the middle-to-late rounds of the NFL Draft. After all, Brown was a sixth-round selection in 2010.
On defense, rookie linebacker Devin Bush stole the show in Week 1 and Steelers fans are already salivating over the rookie’s potential as part of a stout front-seven. Bush showed the speed and strength that made him a first-round talent, but also displayed an uncanny ability to dissect plays and make an impact in the passing game as well.
Another big takeaway from the Steelers Week 1 performance was the play of rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph, who looked the part of a future starting quarterback, completing 5-of-8 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns in his first taste of NFL action.
On Sunday, Pittsburgh wide receivers coach Darryl Drake died at 62. Drake replaced the retired Richard Mann in 2018.
“We are at a loss for words following Darryl Drake’s passing this morning,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II. “Darryl had such an impact on the players he coached and everyone he worked with throughout his entire career. He was a passionate coach and had a tremendous spirit toward life, his family, his faith, and the game of football. Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife, Sheila, his three daughters, his grandchildren, and entire family during this difficult time.”
- Chiefs are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
- Steelers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games.