The tone of Antonio Brown's voice sounded like December even if the calendar says August.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver was long gone by the time guys just hoping to survive the first round of roster cuts finished off Kansas City's 26-20 overtime win on Saturday night. It didn't matter.
Three weeks into the preseason and the Steelers still have a bagel next to their name in the standings. Even on a night they didn't trail until the final play, the result in an otherwise meaningless game is a problem.
"It wasn't good enough," said Brown, who caught three passes for 61 yards. "We've got a lot of work to do."
So do the Chiefs, but things were more decidedly upbeat on a night coach Andy Reid loosened the reins and let quarterback Alex Smith go to work.
Using the no-huddle offense to generate some rhythm — and allowed some freedom by Reid to call what he likes — Smith gave Kansas City's blah preseason a much-needed dash of adrenaline. A pair of scoring drives came late in the first half against the defense that finished tops in the league a year ago.
"I obviously have a lot of trust in him," Reid said. "He didn't do anything that was disappointing, that's for sure."
Here are five things we learned about the Chiefs and Steelers:
1. THERE'S LIFE IN ALEX SMITH'S LEGS (AND ARM): Banished from San Francisco after the precocious rise of Colin Kapernick, the former No. 1 pick started to show he's getting the hang of Reid's West Coast offense.
Working quickly and efficiently, Smith completed 17 of 24 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. He even led the Chiefs in rushing after a 38-yard sprint in the second quarter.
Smith also absorbed a pair of late hits. The first was a somewhat gentle push by Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen at the end of Smith's long run. The other was a punishing shot to the chest from safety Troy Polamalu, who didn't have time to let up after Smith decided to run instead of pass.
1. THERE'S LIFE IN FELIX JONES' LEGS, TOO: Acquired by the Steelers in a trade with Philadelphia on Friday, the well-traveled running back didn't get in so much as a practice with his new team before Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin threw Jones into the mix. Jones returned two kickoffs for 51 yards and rushed for 29 yards on eight carries.
With co-starters Le'Veon Bell (foot) and Isaac Redman (stinger) aching and third-down specialist LaRod Stephens-Howling also nursing a minor knee injury, Jones could quickly work his way into significant playing time.
"I felt like the coaches were just trying to see where I was at right now and I felt good at it," Jones said. "I felt comfortable and I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to do.
1. JARVIS JONES SCARES TEAMS, INCLUDING HIS OWN: The rookie outside linebacker continued to make splash plays. He picked off Kansas City's Chase Daniel in the fourth quarter and returned it 22 yards. The 17th overall pick in the draft landed awkwardly on his chest and shoulder after being tackled. Though Jones walked to the sideline, he was taken to the hospital after the game as a precaution with an undisclosed chest injury.
The setback marred an otherwise stellar night from Jones. The interception marked the third straight game Jones has been involved in a turnover. He recovered a fumble in the preseason opener against the New York Giants and forced a fumble last week against Washington.
1. KNILE DAVIS CAN SCOOT: The rookie third-round running back might be making it tough for Kansas City's Dexter McCluster to keep his job as the team's primary kick returner. Davis hauled in a kickoff a couple of feet in front of the end line in the third quarter, slipped a tackle at the Kansas City 20 and raced down the sideline for a 109-yard touchdown. Davis had a 79-yard kickoff return earlier in the preseason.
"I'm just really glad those guys picked up their blocks and I was able to make something happen and keep us in the game," Davis said.
1. DANNY SMITH IS GOING TO SCREAM: The Steelers brought in the hyperkinetic Smith in the offseason to rejuvenate the special teams. It hasn't quite happened yet.
The raspy-voiced coordinator watched Pittsburgh endure two more gaffes in a sloppy exhibition season. In addition to the 109-yard return by Davis, Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham saw his 52-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter get swatted to the turf. The miscue comes two weeks after the New York Giants blocked a punt in the preseason opener.
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