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Steelers Wide Receivers Drop the Ball in Playoff Loss to the Chiefs

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Steelers’ offense sputtered in their 42-21 defeat in Kansas City on Sunday night. While there were plenty of causes for the Steelers’ loss overall, the wide receivers may have been up at the top of that list. Only James Washington can truly say he had a good game, as the receiver made two acrobatic grabs, including a pretty touchdown.

Marred by drops and inconsistent play, Diontae Johnson could never fully get it going. On top of it all, Chase Claypool never seemed to make a big catch. JuJu Smith-Schuster played his heart out but ultimately did not look completely healthy. Johnson, in particular, dropped two would-be first downs to extend drives. It was a performance that was not going to go unnoticed by Mike Tomlin.

“You think? Yes,” Tomlin said when asked if his receivers left plays on the field.

The drops are something big to label as a what-if for this offense. If they had caught those balls, maybe the offense would have more than two first downs in the first two quarters alone. To say the least, that simply is not sustainable against a team like the Chiefs.

“Every mistake is magnified,” Ben Roethlisberger said going into the game. “Even a third-down drop can be magnified. Because the other team you’re playing is a really good football team. … I’ve been in a lot of these game where the team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to win.”

That obviously was not the Steelers, who will now have to evaluate their receiver room with Smith-Schuster and Washington free agents this offseason and Johnson becoming a free agent following the 2022 season. It should be no surprise to see them sign someone in the room with so many question marks overall.

Alan Saunders provided reporting from Kansas City.

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