Week 2 of the NFL preseason continues Saturday with five more games on the schedule. Among those is one that could potentially feature two playoff teams from the AFC in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs. Some of the featured storylines heading into this game include Patrick Mahomes’ quest to be back-to-back MVP, the Steelers’ backup quarterback competition, and the Steelers’ backfield with James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, and Benny Snell.
Kansas City clobbered the Bengals in the first week of the preseason in a 38-17 game. Mahomes played sparingly, but made the most of it, completing all four of his passes for 66 yards. Assumed backup Chad Henne completed two of his four throws for 26 yards. A little further down the depth chart was Chase Litton going 11 for 15 for 122 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick. The Chiefs also had Kyle Shurmur going 6 of 15 for 77 yards and a score.
On the ground it was the Josh Caldwell show, racking up 59 yards on only four carries and a score. Blake Bell led the team in receiving with 37 yards. Second-round pick Mecole Hardman had two catches for 31 yards and a score. All in all, a whopping 16 players had a catch in the game. The much-criticized Chiefs defense played well, recording three sacks and two interceptions.
Pittsburgh eked out a Week 1 victory in a 30-28 barnburner against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play, nor will he in Week 2, so Josh Dobbs got the start. Dobbs went 5 for 8 with 85 yards and recorded 44 yards on the ground on two carries. Mason Rudolph also completed five of his eight passes for 91 yards but had two touchdowns. Rudolph’s performance was good enough to get the start for Week 2, a good sign for him in the midst of this heated backup QB competition.
Fourth-round pick Benny Snell didn’t have the best day, getting only 26 yards on 13 carries. 2018 second-round pick James Washington had a great day, with four catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers defense held at the end, denying a Tampa Bay two-point conversion attempt and recovering the ensuing onside kick with no time left to ice the game.
Coach Mike Tomlin has been pretty quiet about injuries so far. Multiple players didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice, and their status for the game is uncertain. Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Joe Haden, and Devin Bush all missed practice and are presumably questionable for the game. As noted before, Roethlisberger will also not play.
Sammy Watkins and Frank Clark returned to practice on Wednesday for the Chiefs after missing a day with illness and should be ready to go for this game. WR Gehrig Dieter, WR Davon Grayson, TE John Lovett, and CB Michael Hunter have all been ruled out by coach Andy Reid.
Being the second preseason game, it would be safe to assume we should see at least a quarter of Patrick Mahomes. And even when he comes out, Chase Litton played really well last week. The weapons around the QBs, Kelce, Hardman, and Watkins, to name a few, should be enough to get the job done. Especially with the Chiefs defense looking much improved from last season. Take the Chiefs to win this one.