The Pittsburgh Steelers handled their business against the Cincinnati Bengals in a 29-14 defeat at Heinz Field, improving their record to 5-2 but more importantly, 3-0 in the AFC North Division. It also helped that the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Minnesota Vikings, which gives the Steelers a 2-game lead in the division. They know to get a 1st round bye, it means taking command of the division first.

In this game, the Steelers excelled in all-3 phases. Offense: RB Le’Veon Bell once again ran the ball well (35 carries, 134 yards), QB Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball well (224 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTS) Defense: they sacked Bengals QB Andy Dalton 4 times and intercepted him twice (including CB Joe Haden’s first pick as a Steeler) Special Teams:  K Chris Boswell kicked 5 field goals and the unit also converted a fake punt. Impressive.

But here’s what puzzles me:  this team still can’t convert in the Red Zone. Those 2 TDs were scored in the first quarter the rest of the points came off the foot of Boswell, who has truly been a gift, but this team should have beat the Bengals 48-14 if they would’ve turned those FGs into TDs. Big Ben’s deep ball is still a bit off, but that ‘problem’ is easy to deal with in a win. The Steelers will now prepare for Sunday Night Football as they will travel to Detroit to face the 3-3 Lions.

Post-Game Notes 

TEAM

  • Pittsburgh is 5-2 (2-1 at home), 4-1 against AFC teams and 3-0 vs. AFC North opponents in 2017.

 

  • The Steelers are 59-35 in regular-season history against the Bengals (32-16 at home).

 

  • Pittsburgh improved to 21-9 in regular-season games against Cincinnati in the month of October (13-3 at home in the month).

 

  • Pittsburgh has won each of its previous 10 regular-season games against Cincinnati in the month of October.

 

  • The Steelers earned their 95th regular-season victory at Heinz Field since the stadium opened in 2001.

 

  • Pittsburgh reached 95 regular-season wins at Heinz Field in 131 games to tie as the fifth-fewest games to reach 95 wins in a stadium in NFL history:

Rk.          TEAM, STADIUM                                    GAMES TO 95 WINS

  1.          New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium                  112
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers, Three Rivers Stadium        124
  3. Dallas Cowboys, Texas Stadium                            125
  4. Oakland Raiders, Oakland Coliseum                     129

T5.           Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Field                          131

Cleveland Browns, Municipal Stadium                   131

Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium                  131

Miami Dolphins, Orange Bowl                                131

 

  • The Steelers are 449-284-2 during the regular season since 1970.

 

  • Held Cincinnati to 179 yards of offense – tied as the fourth-fewest allowed in the regular-season series.

 

  • The Steelers’ 24.0 sacks in 2017 tie as the fifth-most by the Steelers in the first seven games of a season since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.

 

  • The defense posted two interceptions in a game in 2017 for the second time (Oct. 1 at Baltimore).

 

  • The Steelers are now 33-0 when scoring at least 20 points in the first half in regular-season games at Heinz Field since the stadium opened in 2001.

 

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

  • Improved his regular-season record to 108-59 since becoming the Steelers’ head coach in 2007 (61-22 at home).

 

  • Is now 44-19 in regular-season games vs. AFC North foes (24-7 at home).

 

  • Has led the Steelers to a 3-0 record in games vs. AFC North opponents for the third time  (2007, 2008 and 2017).

 

  • Improved to 16-5 as the Steelers’ head coach in regular-season games vs. Cincinnati (8-3 at home).

 

  • Improved to 29-13 in regular-season games during the month of October (17-5 at home).

 

  • Is now 83-14 when the Steelers hold a lead at halftime.

 

QB Ben Roethlisberger

  • Completed 14-of-24 passing for 224 yards with two touchdowns for a 117.4 passer rating.

 

  • Improved to 128-62 as a starter during the regular season (71-23 at home).

 

  • Increased his Steelers franchise record for the most wins as a starting quarterback to 128 (Terry Bradshaw, 107).

 

  • His 128 wins as a starting quarterback in regular-season games are the seventh-most in NFL history.

 

  • Is now 20-7 against Cincinnati in the regular-season as a starter (9-5 at home).

               

  • Increased his NFL records for completions (539) and passing yards (6,364) in games against Cincinnati. His 36 touchdown passes are second-most (Warren Moon: 37).

 

  • Improved to 52-17 as a starter in the regular-season vs. AFC North opponents (27-7 at home).

 

  • Increased his Steelers record for passing yards to 48,559 – the ninth-most in NFL history.

 

  • Tied Aaron Rodgers (310) for the ninth-most touchdown passes in NFL history.

 

  • For the 77th time in his career during the regular season, he registered a passer rating over 100.0 as a starter. The Steelers are 69-8 in those games.

 

WR Antonio Brown

  • Led all receivers with a game-high 65 receiving yards on a team-best four receptions, including a seven-yard touchdown from QB Ben Roethlisberger in the first quarter.

 

  • Has registered at least one reception in 115 consecutive games in which he has played, including the postseason – dating back to October 3, 2010.

 

  • Has registered at least one reception in 106 consecutive regular-season games – dating back to October 3, 2010.

 

  • Is the eighth player in NFL history to tally at least 1,000 receiving yards in career games vs. Cincinnati, with 1,037.

 

  • Increased his reception total to 684 – the second-most in team history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RECEPTIONS

  1. Hines Ward, 1998-2011                              1,000
  2.         Antonio Brown, 2010-current                   684
  3. Heath Miller, 2005-15                                  592

 

  • Increased his receiving yards total 9,142 – the second-most in team history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RECEIVING YARDS

  1. Hines Ward, 1998-2011                              12,083
  2.         Antonio Brown, 2010-current                   9,142
  3. John Stallworth, 1974-87                             8,723

 

  • Increased his scrimmage yards total to 9,268 – the fourth-most in team history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     SCRIMMAGE YARDS

  1. Franco Harris, 1972-83                               14,234
  2. Hines Ward, 1998-2011                              12,511
  3. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2005                           11,377
  4.         Antonio Brown, 2010-current                   9,268
  5. John Stallworth, 1974-87                             8,834

 

  • Caught a seven-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, increasing his career touchdown reception total to 53 – the third-most touchdown receptions in Steelers history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     TOUCHDOWN CATCHES

  1. Hines Ward, 1998-2011                              85
  2. John Stallworth, 1974-87                             63
  3.         Antonio Brown, 2010-current                   53
  4. Lynn Swann, 1974-82                                 51
  5. Heath Miller, 2005-15                                 45

 

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

  • Finished with two catches for 39 yards including a 31-yard touchdown pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter, his third scoring grab of 2017.

 

  • His three touchdown catches are the most in NFL history by a player before his 21st birthday (Will turn 21 on Nov. 22).

 

RB Le’Veon Bell

  • Led all players in rushing yards (134 on 35 carries) and yards from scrimmage (192: 134 rushing / 58 receiving).

 

  • Increased his career rushing yards total to 4,729 – the fourth-most rushing yards by a Steeler in team history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RUSHING YARDS

  1. Franco Harris, 1972-83                                   11,950
  2. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2005                               10,571
  3. Willie Parker, 2004-09                                     5,378
  4. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                           4,729
  5. John Henry Johnson, 1960-65                        4,381

 

  • Increased his career rushing yards total to 4,729 – the fourth-most rushing yards by a Steeler in their first five years with the team:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RUSHING YARDS

  1. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2000                               6,713
  2. Franco Harris, 1972-76                                   5,133
  3. Willie Parker, 2004-08                                     4,989
  4. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                           4,729
  5. John Henry Johnson, 1960-64                        4,370

 

  • Posted the 17th 100-yard rushing game of his NFL career – the fifth-most 100-yard games in Steelers history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     100-YARD RUSHING GAMES

  1. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2000                               50
  2. Franco Harris, 1972-76                                   47
  3. Willie Parker, 2004-08                                     25
  4. Barry Foster, 1990-94                                     20
  1. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                       17

 

  • Eclipsed 100 rushing yards for the second time in his regular-season career against Cincinnati (185: Dec. 7, 2014).

 

  • Rushed for at least 100 yards in back-to-back games for the third time in his NFL career (179: Oct. 15, 2017 at Kansas City).

 

  • Rushed for at least 125 yards in consecutive games for the first time in his NFL career (179: Oct. 15, 2017 at Kansas City).

 

  • Is the first Steeler since 2007 (Willie Parker: Sept. 16-23) to rush for at least 125 yards in back-to-back games.

 

  • Increased his scrimmage yards total to 6,948 – the fourth-most in team history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     SCRIMMAGE YARDS

  1. Franco Harris, 1972-83                               14,234
  2. Hines Ward, 1998-2011                              12,511
  3. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2005                           11,377
  4.         Antonio Brown, 2010-current                   9,268
  5. John Stallworth, 1974-87                             8,834
  6. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                       6,948

 

  • Increased his career scrimmage yards total to 6,948 – the second-most by a Steeler in their first five years with the team:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     SCRIMMAGE YARDS

  1. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2000                           7,242
  2. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                       6,948
  1. Franco Harris, 1972-76                                   5,947
  1. Willie Parker, 2004-08                                 5,622
  2. Antonio Brown, 2010-14                              5,341

 

  • Has posted at least 100 yards from scrimmage in 35 career regular-season games, tying WR Antonio Brown for the third-most 100-scrimmage yards games in Steelers history.

 

  • Has reached 35 regular-season games with 100 scrimmage yards or more in his 54th game – tying Adrian Peterson for the fifth-fewest games to record 35 games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

 

  • Registered at least 150 yards from scrimmage for the 14th time in his NFL career during the regular-season – the most such games in Steelers history.

 

  • Increased his reception total to 260 – the second-most by a running back in Steelers history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RECEPTIONS

  1. Franco Harris, 1972-83                                   306
  2. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                           260
  3. Merril Hoge, 1987-93                                       241
  1. Ray Mathews, 1951-59                               230
  2. Lynn Chandnois, 1950-56                           162

 

  • Increased his receiving yards total to 2,219 – the third-most by a running back in Steelers history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RECEIVING YARDS

  1. Ray Mathews, 1951-59                                   3,919
  2. Franco Harris, 1972-83                                   2,284
  3. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                           2,219
  4. Merril Hoge, 1987-93                                       2,054
  1. Lynn Chandnois, 1950-56                           2,012

 

  • Eclipsed 100 yards from scrimmage (51 rushing / 58 receiving) in the first half for the seventh time in the regular season of his NFL career and in back-to-back weeks.

 

  • Totaled 55 scrimmage yards (32 rushing / 23 receiving) in the first quarter to mark the 16th time in his NFL career eclipsing 50 total yards in the opening quarter of a game and for the fourth time in 2017.

 

  • Gained 42 yards on a reception in the second quarter – the fifth 40-yard reception of his NFL career and first since Dec. 14, 2014 at Atlanta.

In other NFL Scores: In addition to the Ravens losing to Vikings 24-16, Cleveland fell to 0-7 after losing to Tennessee 12-9. Buffalo beat Tampa Bay 30-27, Chicago beat Carolina 17-3, New Orleans beat Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay 26-17, Jacksonville destroyed Indianapolis 27-0, The surprising LA Rams blanked Arizona 33-0, Miami beat the NY Jets 31-28, Dallas Manhandled San Francisco 40-10, Seattle beat the NY Giants 24-7, and in the Sunday Night Game, New England beat Atlanta 23-7 in a rematch of last season’s Super Bowl.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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