Any formula for the Steelers to go into Arrowhead Stadium for that Wild Card Round Game on Sunday night and escape with an upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs was going to have to include some takeaways that led to a plus in turnover ratio and a defensive touchdown or a special teams touchdown to counteract one of the most dynamic offenses in the National Football League.
For a while there, the Steelers were getting what they needed, and for a while there, T.J. Watt seemed to be delivering what they needed single-handedly.
In the first quarter – on Kansas City's third offensive possession – Watt broke off his pass rush and got into Patrick Mahomes' throwing lane and got his hands on the ball, which bounced into the air where it was intercepted by Devin Bush. Early in the second quarter, Watt again was in the middle of the action, and so when Cam Heyward forced a fumble by Darrel Williams he was there to scoop the loose ball and sprint 26 yards for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead.
When the game was over, and the Steelers season had ended with a 42-21 loss to the Chiefs in the Wild Card Round, Watt had contributed three tackles, a sack, three hits on Patrick Mahomes, a pass defensed that turned into Bush's interception, and a fumble recovery that turned into his team's first touchdown. Watt is the Steelers Digest Player of the Week.
Also considered were Cam Heyward, who finished with four tackles and the forced fumble that resulted in Watt's scoop-and-score; Terrell Edmunds, who led the team with six unassisted tackles; Ben Roethlisberger who completed 29-of-44 (65.9 percent) for 215 yards, with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a rating of 92.5 in what everyone assumes was his final NFL game; and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who battled back from a shoulder injury that required surgery and got himself on the field for the playoffs to try to help the team.