PITTSBURGH (AP) – Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns passes for the fifth time in his career and the Pittsburgh Steelers throttled the Kansas City Chiefs 43-14 on Sunday night.
A week after suffering the franchise’s worst loss in 27 years, the Steelers (3-1) responded by overwhelming the erratic Chiefs (2-2).
Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown – wearing cleats featuring the profile of golf great and western Pennsylvania native Arnold Palmer – for a pair of scores.
Roethlisberger also found Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jesse James for touchdowns as the Steelers emphatically rebounded from a 31-point meltdown in Philadelphia. The quarterback finished 22 of 27 for 300 yards and a rating of 152.5, just shy of a perfect 158.3 rating.
Le’Veon Bell ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 34 yards in his return from a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Bell’s return brought Pittsburgh’s high-powered offense back to full strength for the first time this year, though he spent most of the first half watching Roethlisberger go to work.
The Steelers scored a franchise-record 22 points in the first quarter as their defense forced a pair of turnovers Roethlisberger quickly converted into touchdowns. Pittsburgh reached the end zone three times in a span of six offensive snaps in the quarter and added a two-point conversion on top of it while the Chiefs floundered in the rain.
Smith was 30 of 50 for 287 yards and two inconsequential fourth-quarter touchdowns after things were well out of hand. Spencer Ware ran for 82 yards but also fumbled in the first quarter that kick-started Pittsburgh’s record-setting run. The Chiefs allowed four sacks to a team that came in with an NFL-worst one on the season and could do little right.
Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles ran one time for 6 yards in his first game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last October. It was perhaps the lone bright spot in a loss that played in stark contrast to a romp over the New York Jets last week in which the Chiefs forced eight turnovers.
They didn’t force one against the Steelers and instead watched Pittsburgh cross the goal line six times. Pittsburgh’s 43 points were the most allowed by Kansas City in a regular season game since Andy Reid took over in 2013.
Chiefs: Running back Knile Davis was evaluated for a concussion
Steelers: Right tackle Marcus Gilbert went down with a left ankle injury late in the first half and did not return. Linebacker Anthony Chickillo (knee) and Jarvis Jones (ankle) and Heyward-Bey (shoulder) all left in the second half and did not return.
Chiefs: are off next week before traveling to take on the suddenly dangerous Oakland Raiders on Oct. 16. Kansas City is 5-1 against the Raiders under Reid.
Steelers: Begin a three-game swing against AFC East teams next Sunday when they host the New York Jets.
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)