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A win in a tough spot

Posted Oct 11, 2017

A look back at a memorable win over the Chiefs in 1996.

Steelers 17, Kansas City Chiefs 7
October 7, 1996
Arrowhead Stadium

A win in Kansas City isn’t easy to come by for an opposing team, and the Steelers had to fight from behind to secure this one.

Marcus Allen got the Chiefs on the board first with a six-yard touchdown run, but for the most part the defense held the future Hall of Fame running back in check, allowing him just 69 yards on 18 carries.

The defense also stepped up to contain the passing game, allowing just 170 yards in the air and intercepting Steve Bono twice, once by Willie Williams and another by Randy Fuller.

“A lot of people weren’t giving us a chance,” said linebacker Levon Kirkland. “There were a lot of doubters. Our players have a lot of heart and a positive attitude. This is a tough place to play. We came in and made Arrowhead our home.”

Norm Johnson connected on field goals from 21 and 32 yards out to close the gap for the Steelers, sending them into the locker room down, 7-6, at the half.

In the second half the Steelers offense took control.

Jerome Bettis scored on a five-yard run and Mike Tomczak hit Mark Bruener for the two-point conversion to put the Steelers ahead, 14-7. Bettis finished the game with 27 carries for 103 yards and added five receptions for 40 yards.

“We knew it was going to be a dog fight,” said Bettis. “We knew we weren’t going to be able to hear the snap count. It didn’t always look pretty, but we got the job done. We knew they were going to stop the run and make Mike beat them, and he did just that.”

Tomczak had a strong day overall, completing 20 passes for 338 yards, with Charles Johnson hauling in six receptions for 125 yards.

“Mike made some great plays,” said Coach Bill Cowher. “Defense made some big plays, big stops. My hat’s off to them. Mike played one great game.”

Johnson secured the win with a 43-yard field goal, silencing the loud Arrowhead Stadium crowd with a 17-7 win.

“That was a big game,” said Cowher. “This is a tough place to come into. Those guys came in here and it was kind of a fun challenge that we had. They answered the bell every time.

“I’m going to say this, our football team played together. We overcame some things. We knew this was going to be a sixty minute game. This is the kind of game we find out about ourselves. And I liked what I saw.” 

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Listen to the original radio broadcast of this game. Steelers Time Machine debuts on SNR each Wednesday. Click here for more information.