The Steelers got off to a fast start as the Bengals reverted back to their Bungal-selves and went bumblin and fumblin through the first quarter. The Steelers took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, and led 27-7 at the half. The Steelers would end up holding on and win the game by the finals score of 30-20.
Tonight, it was all about the Bengals being really bad and the Steelers capitalizing on that. It started off with the Steelers taking over on the Cincinnati 1 yard line after a muffed punt. Le’Veon Bell would run it in for a 7-0 lead. Later in the Quarter, the Steelers would score again as Antonio Brown would catch a 12 yard pass that would cap off an 8 play 47 yard drive. On the Bengals next possession, they would be forced to punt and Antonio Brown would return the punt for a 21-0 lead. The first quarter could not end quick enough for the Bengals today.
In the second quarter, after the Steelers added a field goal by Shawn Suisham, the Bengals would finally get on the board and score a touchdown to make it a 24-7 lead. Before the end of the half, the Steelers would add another field goal as they would not find the end zone again for the remainder of the game.
In the third quarter, the Steelers would add yet another field goal to extend the lead to 30-7. The Bengals would score another touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter capping off a 7 minute drive to make it 30-14. After watching the comebacks in the afternoon games, I began to get nervous. This defense has given up an avalanche of points all season long.
With 10 minutes left in the game, the Bengals energy level began to raise as the Steelers momentum started to slip into the cold December night. With three or four passes in a row, they moved the ball from their 30 to the Steelers 30. The Bengals would continue to move the chains alternating the run and pass very well. And at 5:46 of the fourth, on fourth down and long, Dalton would throw a touchdown pass to cut the lead to 10 points. The two point conversion was no good.
The Bengals defense would get the ball back for it’s offense just a a minute or so later, but Dalton’s gang would not be able to do anything with the ball. The final score tonight was 30-20 and the AFC is looking bad coming down the stretch. Mediocre at best as it’s elite teams have all lost in the past week or two.
The Steelers are still mathematically in the playoff race as the win gets them to 6-8. The fact that they are still mathematically in it tells you just how bad this conference is.
During the game, Cincinnati Punter left the game with a fractured jaw as a Steeler hit him in the jaw on what looked to be a crack back tackle. And yes those are illegal so expect to see at least an investigation that could lead to a fine. James Harrison also left with a concussion as the Steelers were playing inspired in the first half.
Big Ben would go 20-25 for 191 yards including a touchdown and his first interception in four games. Bell would finish with 57 yards rushing and 50 receiving. Antonio Brown would finish with 67 yards receiving and a touchdown. He would also return a punt for a touchdown.
Pittsburgh will now travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers at historic Lambeau Field.