Todd Blackledge, Kansas City's second-year quarterback making his first pro start, passed for one touchdown and ran for one today in guiding the Chiefs over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 37-27.
Blackledge, the former Penn State athlete whose father, Ron, is the Steelers' offensive line coach, completed 19 of 36 passes for 170 yards and no interceptions. David Woodley, the offseason acquisition from the Miami Dolphins starting for the Steelers, was 11 of 17 for 225 yards before a concussion ended his day in the third quarter.
John Stallworth became the Steelers' all-time leader in receiving yards while catching eight passes for a career-high game total of 167 yards.
Theotis Brown scored two second-quarter touchdowns on short runs and Nick Lowery kicked field goals of 37, 47 and 37 yards to help in the Chiefs' second season-opening upset at Three Rivers Stadium in four seasons.
The rookie-laden Steelers contributed to today's loss with four turnovers that the Chiefs converted into four scores.
Blackledge, the replacement for injured Bill Kenney, scored the Chiefs' first touchdown on a one-yard plunge. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 105 yards, including a 22-yard score to Stephone Paige, in a 13-point third quarter that put the game out of Pittsburgh's reach.
In the first half, Woodley threw an interception and lost a fumble, both miscues leading to Kansas City touchdowns. But he also connected with the Steelers' top draft choice, Louis Lipps, for the longest pass of his career, an 80-yard scoring play, and threw 29 yards to Stallworth in the closing seconds of the half to pull Pittsburgh within 24-17.
Lipps also scored the Steelers' last touchdown on a 21-yard pass from Mark Malone. Gary Anderson kicked field goals of 30 and 47 yards but missed a 48-yarder late in the second quarter.
Malone completed 11 of 24 passes for 233 yards, but his intercepted pass and his fumble led to field goals by Lowery.
Despite Malone's big passing total, the Steelers had trouble scoring under his direction. On one series, Malone moved the Steelers from their 20 to the Kansas City seven, where they gave up the ball on downs.
Anderson's miss was his first in 18 field goal tries at Three Rivers. But the Steelers got another opportunity in the last 58 seconds of the half. From their 35, Woodley and Stallworth combined on successive pass plays of 20, 16 and 29 yards for a touchdown 33 seconds before intermission.
Blackledge has played before tough crowds, but never until now when his own mother and father were rooting against him.
"I'm just happy that we were able to win in my first game and that my family could see it," said Blackledge, a Steelers fan as a youth. "I know my family is happy for me. When the game started, my mind was on the game. I think that's what made my dad proud, that I hung in there the whole game."