Steelers nip Chiefs

KANSAS CITY (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger joked the broken thumb on his throwing hand was “still attached” after Sunday night’s game against Kansas City.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are still tied for lead in the AFC North because of it.

Roethlisberger threw a short touchdown pass to Weslye Saunders in the first half, and the Steelers took advantage of four turnovers by Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palker in a 13-9 victory that allowed them to keep pace with Baltimore atop their loaded division.

He finished 21-of-31 for 193 yards and an interception for the Steelers (8-3), whose defense lost All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu to a head injury in the first quarter yet still kept the bumbling Chiefs (4-7) from scoring a touchdown.

Kansas City hasn’t reached the end zone since playing Denver three weeks ago, a span of 45 offensive drives — including the final one Sunday night.

The Chiefs moved across midfield to the Pittsburgh 37 when Palko dropped back to pass. He was looking for Dwayne Bowe but threw it high and behind him, and Keenan Lewis hauled in the interception with 29 seconds left to seal the outcome.

Palko, making his second consecutive start in place of the injured Matt Cassel, also fumbled a snap and threw interceptions to Ike Taylor and Ryan Mundy on consecutive plays in the first half.

He fared little better than he did last week against New England, when he tossed three picks in his first NFL start. Palko finished 18-of-28 for 167 yards in what was likely his last chance.

The Chiefs claimed former Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton off waivers Wednesday with the intention of having him compete with Palko for the starting job. Orton didn’t arrive in town until Friday, though, and he was inactive Sunday night after participating in only one practice.

“He’ll have a much better chance this week to compete, and like I said, Tyler is the starter, but whatever position we say, if someone gives us a better chance to win, that’s the guideline we generally follow,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said.

Kansas City led 3-0 in the second quarter when Palko’s first interception, which Taylor returned to the Chiefs 8, resulted in a 21-yard field goal by the Steelers’ Shaun Suisham.

The second pick was returned by Mundy, who had taken over at safety for Polamalu, to the Kansas City 24. The defense appeared to hold Pittsburgh when Tamba Hali sacked Roethlisberger on third-and-7, but safety Jon McGraw was called for defensive holding to give the Steelers a first down.

Three plays later, Roethlisberger found Saunders in the back of the end zone.

Ryan Succop added a 49-yard field goal later in the second quarter for Kansas City, his second of the game, but Suisham answered with his own 49-yarder on the final play of the first half.

Succop added a 40-yard field goal with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter.

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