The Pittsburgh Steelers used their trademark stifling defense to shut out Cincinnati in quarters three and four en route to a 29-14 win on Sunday. The Cincinnati offense must have caught the plane home at halftime (more on that in a minute). On the other side of the ball, the Bengals D allowed 251 first-half yards. And the only time they laid a finger on QB Ben Roethlisberger was during the post-game handshakes. The loss is now the fifth straight to the guys from Steel City and puts a major roadblock in Cincinnati’s 2017 postseason hopes.
HOW THINGS WENT
Early on, it looked like a contest that would make the CBS ratings people happy. The score was tied at 14 halfway through the second quarter. Quarterback Andy Dalton completed some football-through-the-peach-basket throws to A.J. Green and Joe Mixon had some nice runs. But just after the two-minute warning, Pittsburgh’s steel-chain-and-lock on the Bengals’ offense became evident.
(This next part is painful to read … you’ve been warned)
The Cincinnati Bengals had 19 yards of total offense in their final eight drives of the game. Seriously. You could play Madden NFL 18 with all of the offensive players’ skill levels set to three, and they’d still gain more yards than Cincinnati did in the second half. Pittsburgh collected four sacks on Dalton in a five-snap span and caved in the offensive line. From there, it was all downhill.
CINCINNATI BENGALS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Punter Kevin Huber (let that sink in – the punter is our PotG). He averaged 50 yards a kick and had two of them downed inside the 20.
WHAT THIS MEANS GOING FORWARD
The Cincinnati Bengals’ momentum has done a 180 from the 180 we mentioned two weeks ago. They are now 2-4 with losses to their two biggest division rivals. There’s still a lot of football left to play, but the window of opportunity for a playoff berth isn’t exactly staying open.