By Tyler Jones
KANSAS CITY, MO- For the second-consecutive season, the Kansas City Chiefs partnered with the American Indian Community Working Group to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, which begins next Sunday. The celebration took place at Arrowhead Stadium, for the Chiefs matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Chiefs President Mark Donovan spoke about the event saying, “With their (American Indian Community Working Group) help and guidance, we are continuing to build on our goal of educating our fans and creating awareness of American Indian history and heritage within the Chiefs Kingdom.”
Along with the American Indian Community Working Group, several tribes were represented on Sunday at the event. The tribes included the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Kaw Nation, Modoc Tribe, Peoria Tribe, Quapaw Tribe, Shawnee Tribe and Wyandotte Nation.
The activities for the American Indian Heritage Month Kickoff were held both inside and outside of the stadium. Before the game, a representative from the American Indian Community Working Group was outside the stadium at the Ford Fan Experience providing information about American Indian Heritage Month and cultural awareness.
Inside the stadium, the events began with a Blessing of the Four Directions from Moses Starr Jr., a spiritual leader of the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes in Concho, Oklahoma. Starr said he was treated great at the event, and that it was his second time to get to do it.
An honor song was performed, as well as an appearance from the Buddy Bond Color Guard, who are members the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes. Tribe Spokesman Bill Tall Bear spoke about the event and said, “It brings great attention to us. We want to go on and do the Thunder (Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Team).”
The Chickasaw Nation youth Choir performed the National Anthem, which was followed by the delivery of the drum mallet. The drum mallet was presented by Bill Thorpe, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold Medalist Jim Thorpe, to the Chiefs Drum Honoree Tony Gonzales.
Thorpe is of Sac and Fox decent, and said, “Being the son of Jim Thorpe, it’s nice to carry on his legacy, and have his name remembered. It’s a lot of fun for me to participate.”
With a crowd of 76,000+, many were exposed to Native American culture for the first time on Sunday. The event was a success, but is only one step in a process to educate. Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma member and American Indian Community Working Group Liaison said, “This is an ongoing journey; and, we believe we are moving in a positive direction.”
Chiefs End Their 5-Game Losing Streak with a Win over the Steelers
KANSAS CITY, MO- Sunday afternoon’s game for Kansas City was a must-win contest. After a five-game losing skid, and losing Jamaal Charles for the rest of the year, the Chiefs needed something to salvage their season, and they did just that.
With Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick out for Pittsburgh, and Landry Jones making his first career start, the opportunity presented itself for the Chiefs to bounce back. It wasn’t pretty, but the Chiefs got the job done, 23-13 over the Steelers.
In the first quarter, the Chiefs managed to get down the field on their first possession, and capped it off with a 30 yard field goal from Santos. The Chiefs struck first, and lead 3-0 with 8:51 left in the first.
The Steelers responded with a solid drive, getting down to the six yard-line. Pittsburgh could not punch it into the end zone though, and settled for a 24 yard field goal from Boswell to tie the game at 3-3 with 1:03 left in the first.
Later on in the second quarter, the Chiefs drove down the field again. This time it was the same result though. Kansas City was stopped at the 22 yard line, and settled for a 22 yard field goal from Santos to take a 6-3 lead, with 9:00 remaining in the half.
Inside the final two minutes of the first half, Kansas City managed get to the Pittsburgh nine yard line, after five straight completions from Alex Smith. Santos would make his third field goal before half, from 27 yard out, and the Chiefs would lead 9-3 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Chiefs offense picked up some momentum from the defense. On Pittsburgh’s second possession of the second half, Eric Berry picked off Landry Jones, on a pass intended for Antonio Brown. This was Berry’s first interception of the season, as well as his first since returning from his recovery from cancer.
After the pick from Berry, Kansas City drove down the field, and capped off the 9 play, 53 yard drive with a one yard touchdown run from Charcandrick West. The touchdown put Kansas City ahead of Pittsburgh 16-3, with 4:27 remaining in the 3rd.
The Steelers responded with a touchdown of their own. Jones found Martavis Bryant open in the endzone for a 19 yard score. The play was reviewed, and the replay official confirmed the call. Pittsburgh was down 16-10 with 1:47 remaining in the third.
In the fourth quarter, the Steelers had an opportunity to take their first lead of the game, on the opening drive of the quarter. Pittsburgh drove all the down to the Kansas City 10 yard line, but on a 3rd & 7, Kansas City Linebacker Tamba Hali forced an 8 yard sack on Jones. Pittsburgh would be forced to settle for a 36 yard field goal from Boswell, which put the Steelers within 3, down 16-13 with 10:22 left.
On the next possession, Kansas City answered with some big plays in crunch time. Alex Smith from Travis Kelce open for a 26 gain on 3rd & 4. The next play, West ran up the gut for a 36 run, which put Chiefs on the Steelers 16 yard line. Kansas City capped off the drive with a 6 yard touchdown pass from Smith to Chris Conley. The Chiefs would lead 23-13 with 5:17 left.
With little time remaining, and down by 10, Jones passed the ball seven-straight time, to put the Steelers on the Kansas City 39. On first down, with 2:11 to go, Hali applied pressure on Jones, which led to a strip-sack fumble, recovered by Jaye Howard of Kansas City. The Chiefs would go on to win 23-13.
Alex Smith had a solid day for Kansas City. The Chiefs Quarterback completed 21/32 passes, threw for 251 yards and 1 touchdown. Smith spoke on the win saying, “I think that the bottom line was us staying aggressive, staying to our game plan in all facets of the game.”
In his first career start, Jones struggled for Pittsburgh. Jones completed 16/29 passes for 209 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Jones accepted his struggles saying, “I don’t think I played very well. I threw two picks, fumbled one, you can’t win when you play like that.”
Eric Berry spoke about the win and his first interception since recovering from cancer saying, “ It would have been a big play if we didn’t get the win, but getting the pick and helping the team get the win, I think that was the big part of it.
Steelers Running Back Le’veon Bell averaged 7.1 yards on the ground, with 121 yards overall, but it was not enough for the win. Bell said, “Under the circumstances, we could not run enough, so I am glad we just got out of this game.”
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin after the loss spoke and was not pleased saying he was, “Disappointed with the outcome, but knew how it unfolded. They (Chiefs) made more dynamic plays than we did.”