Alex Smith, Washington beat undefeated Steelers to pull Chiefs into a tie for first in AFC

Kansas City Chiefs

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – DECEMBER 07: Alex Smith #11 of the Washington Football Team looks to pass during the first quarter of their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 07, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith did well by both his current and former squads on Monday night, leading the Washington team to a 23-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, vaulting the Chiefs into a first-place tie in the AFC.

Smith led Washington on a 13-0 scoring run in the fourth quarter after the Steelers took a 17-10 lead early in the frame with a field goal by Matthew Wright.

The comeback was highlighted by a one-handed catch from Cam Sims with the game tied at 17, leading Washington to a go-ahead field goal. Washington’s defense then got an interception at the two-minute warning, adding another field goal before time ran out on the Steelers.

Both Pittsburgh and Kansas City now hold 11-1 records, and due to new playoff rules in 2020, the top seed holds extra importance because it’s the only team that will get a first-round bye.

The Chiefs clinched a playoff berth with its win Sunday night against Denver. Pittsburgh still holds the tie-breaker for the top seed because the Chiefs lost to a conference opponent in Las Vegas, but the Steelers loss puts a bye and homefield throughout the AFC portion of the postseason very much in play.

Here are Kansas City’s remaining opponents:

  • Chiefs at Dolphins — 12/13
  • Chiefs at Saints — 12/20
  • Falcons at Chiefs — 12/27
  • Chargers at Chiefs — 1/3

Here are Pittsburgh’s remaining opponents:

  • Steelers at Bills — 12/13
  • Steelers at Bengals — 12/21
  • Colts at Steelers — 12/27
  • Steelers at Browns — 1/3

Travis Kelce continues torrid streak as Chiefs keep winning

It’s a good thing that Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce doesn’t spend much time dwelling on gaudy individual statistics.

Looking at his own wouldn’t give Kelce much time for anything else.

With a game-high eight catches for 136 yards and a touchdown in their 22-16 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, the two-time All-Pro eclipsed 1,000 yards for the fifth consecutive season. He became the 26th player in NFL history with a streak that long, and the only tight end. Eight of those players are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That’s just the start: He has 1,100 yards receiving, the most for a tight end through 12 games; he had his 24th career 100-yard receiving game, the second most in franchise history; he now has 82 catches, joining Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten as the only tight ends to eclipse 80 catches in a season at least five times.

“It’s something cool to hang your hat on when your career is over, I assume. I’m just trying to win football games,” said Kelce, whose 45 career touchdown catches are tied with teammate Tyreek Hill for fifth in Chiefs history.

“All that stuff, this game — I’m not the same without 10 other guys on that football field playing their tails off and moving the ball down the field,” Kelce continued. “I’m a firm believer that individual accolades are a little overrated in this game.”

Maybe they are sometimes. But all those big achievements also are a big reason why the Chiefs are 11-1 for only the second time in franchise history, locked up a spot in the playoffs, and are zeroing in on their fifth straight AFC West championship.

“He really doesn’t care how you win football games. He just wants to win,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “He’s going to compete every single play. He’s going to block, he’s going to catch, he’s going to run every single play. When you have guys that talented, and they don’t care who gets the success, you have guys you can go out there and win with.”

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