Don't blame Andy Reid for Steelers' chagrin

If you find yourself upset at Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid this evening, here's some free advice:

Get over it.

Reid didn't do anything to impact the AFC playoff race other than fail to extend an already fortunate turn of events for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who ultimately were eliminated from contention by the Chiefs' 27-24 overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs' backups gave the Chargers all they could handle, and if the Steelers are angry about missing the playoffs, they should focus on their 2-6 start rather than Reid's decision to do what is best for his team.

To review, Reid replaced 19 of 22 starters -- including quarterback Alex Smith and running back Jamaal Charles -- because the Chiefs clinched a playoff spot two weeks ago and their seeding wouldn't be impacted by the outcome of Sunday's game. The Chiefs had the upper hand for most of the contest, as it turned out, and led 24-14 early in the fourth quarter. They had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but place-kicker Ryan Succop -- one of a handful of Chiefs regulars who were in their normal roles -- missed a 41-yard field goal attempt with four seconds remaining.

For starters, let's not pretend that the Chiefs would have been anywhere close to clear favorites if they had played their regulars. The Chargers have now won five of their past six games, including a 41-38 victory against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, and had much more to play for.

The Steelers, meanwhile, entered Sunday needing four games to go a certain way. Generally speaking, that's considered a longshot -- and the Steelers were close. They took care of their own business by beating the Cleveland Browns, 20-7. Then the Steelers received help from the New York Jets, who won on the road against the Miami Dolphins, and the Cincinnati Bengals, who beat the Baltimore Ravens.

The final piece of the puzzle would have been for the Chiefs to beat the Chargers. That would have given the Steelers the tiebreaker for the No. 6 seed. It's true the Steelers reversed the start of their season, winning six of their final eight games, and they would have been a tough out in the playoffs.

But they play 16 games for a reason. That minor fact -- and not Andy Reid's decision-making -- is responsible for the Steelers missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.