The Cincinnati Bengals did everything they could do tonight to win the game…then lose the game. In the end the game was littered with injuries, stupid plays, penalties, aggressiveness, ridiculousness, fumbles, interceptions, and torrential rain. Tomlin called it a “rough and tumble game.” The Ridiculousness was on the Cincinnati Fans. As injured players were leaving the field, the fans were throwing cans, bottles, all kinds of stuff. They made Philly fans look very tame. All that matters is that the Steelers were able to walk away from tonight’s game with a victory by the final score of 18-15.
Vontaze Burfict played an impact game tonight and made plays when they needed it most. Then, when they needed him to just play, he just could not help himself. With the Bengals up 16-15, the Steelers would get the ball back after a fumble, a play after the Jones interception. And all the Bengals had to do is keep a wounded Steelers offense from driving the ball 60 yards in just under a minute and 30 seconds. And when I mean wounded, I mean wounded. Ben could not throw the ball more than about 20 vertical yards so they knew everything was going to be short. The Steelers were still able to drive to near mid field. That is when Burfict would hammer Antonio Brown and knock him out. That would give the Steelers 15 yards and would put them in field goal position. Then, during the discussion, PacMan Jones, would commit another unsportsmanlike penalty and put the Steelers in great position to kick a field goal.
Pittsburgh could not get Ben off and Boswell on fast enough. Then on the very next play, the Steelers would take the lead with Boswell’s 4th field goal of the game.
During the first three quarters, the Steelers were the better team, offensively and defensively as they controlled play by controlling the line of scrimmage. In the fourth, AJ McCarron would make plays and put his team in the position to win the game. Actually, he won them the game. Then, in a blink of an eye, and a Jeremy Hill Fumble, the Steelers were right back in it.
Big Ben would not have the deep ball as an option today as the Bengals covered it well, so he played the dink and dunk game letting his receivers make plays with their feet. They would get a nice mix of Toussaint and Jordan Todman as the Steelers would rush the ball for 167 yards for the game as it was their most consistent weapon Antonio Brown had a big play that set up a Steelers score. Martavis Bryant, who was called out by Ben after last week, came up with what was the best catch in the playoffs by far. That TD catch gave the Steelers a 15-0 lead. Pittsburgh would miss a two point conversion.
In the Fourth Quarter, Big Ben would get sacked and then carted off as he landed on his shoulder. The culprit, was Burfict. The Bengals would then score 16 straight points to put themselves in a position to get their first win in the playoffs since Boomer Esiason played.
The game was not over, as Landry Jones would be given nearly 2 minutes and 3 time outs. He came in and threw and interception to none other than Vontaze Burfict. The game was essentially over….at least that is what we thought.
Jeremy Hill was handed the ball in hopes that he would run time off the clock and try to work towards a first down. He would get stripped from Ryan Shazier, and the Steelers had life. Shazier by the way had a highly illegal hit on Bernard for the Bengals that was not flagged. That is when the Lone Ranger would ride onto the field and save the day. Actually, it was Big Ben and it happened just like this. When Tomlin asked about the discussion with Ben before he came in to the game on the last drive,”It was Dyer, Been together 9 years and we looked at each other and he said now or never.” That is all you have to say about that.
With the victory, the Steelers will limp into Denver next week with an injured quarterback, a concussed Star wide receiver, a starting 3rd and 4th string running back. Good luck with that. In the mean time, here are some observations. Actually, Brown was seen after the game in the locker room in good spirits and seemed okay, although he will be in protocol until given the okay to play. As for Ben, looks like at best he will need to play through pain. The Steelers also lost Will Johnson with a hamstring. There were others and we will give a better update when one is available.
Here are some observations:
Mike Mitchell finished the game with 2 tackles. He should have had a lot more, but he was too busy head hunting. He also had opportunities to intercept the ball, but hitting is clearly all he is interested in.
Big Ben side armed the entire drive at the end. That shows just how much of a gamer he really is and what kind of leader he is.
Antonio Brown finished with 7 catches for 119 yards and was very effective. He did not catch a TD, but he set up a very important score with his Runs After Catch.
Joey Porter, although the Steelers won because he may or may not have instigated a bit, really had no business being on the field at the end.
The Fans of Cincinnati should be ashamed of themselves. They cheered injuries, threw full bottles of soda and sports drinks on an injured player being carted off the field. They also littered the Steelers bench with stuff and hitting players.
Pacman Jones….train wreck!
Then there is Chris Collinsworth Having a little fun…
That about sums it up pic.twitter.com/iJbvL1FV9d
— Cris Collinsworth (@CollinsworthNBC) January 10, 2016