Steelers Rout Bengals for First Win of the Season
[Pittsburgh,Pa] The Pittsburgh Steelers knew that an 0-4 start would be unacceptable, especially in an AFC North Division where the best teams (Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens) are only 2-2. They accepted the responsibility that their Monday Night Football matchup against the 0-3 Bengals was a must-win with an all hands-on deck perspective.
Mission accomplished. The Steelers win 27-3 for their first victory of the 2019 NFL Season. And, the first NFL victory for Mason Rudolph, who started his 2nd game since replacing Ben Roethlisberger.
“Man, it feels really good to handle our business, and we do so tonight. Really just with an outstanding effort in all three phases. It needs to be a springboard for us as we move forward.” Said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who is now 6-0 in Monday Night Football contests “It was significant tonight on a lot of fronts, obviously, particularly because it’s AFC North football. But we don’t have a lot of time to pat ourselves on the back, man.”
In front of a Heinz Field crowd of 57,959 and in front of a National Television Audience, the young Steelers quarterback went 24/28 for 229 yards and 2 touchdown passes. One to James Conner on a 21-yard pitch-and-rumble and the other to rookie Diontae Johnson who was wide- open on his 43-yard score, his second in 2 weeks. Even though the running game only produced 66 yards, the Steelers had a better game plan in which 2 of their back got significant carries. Conner led with 42 yards, Jaylen Samuels with 26, which included a 2-yard score from the Wildcat formation.
“Can’t say enough about Mason.” Said Tomlin. We gave him a game ball in there for his first home start and win. So, I thought that was appropriate.”
Conner also led in receiving with 83 yards, followed by Johnson with 77 yards and Samuels with 57.
But the key factor to Monday’s win was the defense as they were Steel Curtain like as they held the Bengals to only 3 points and sacked Andy Dalton 8 times, with Cam Heyward leading the way with 2.5. TJ Watt had 1.5 including a fumble recovery that was caused by Bud Dupree when he strip/sacked Dalton. Rookie Devin Bush, Javon Hargrave and Tyson Alualu also had a sack apiece. Mark Barron led the Steelers with 11 total tackles and had an end-zone interception that stalled a Bengals drive. Bush had 9 tackles and Heyward 6.
“You know, we’ve just got to get things in situations where it shows up.” Said Tomlin on his defense. “You know, when you’re not converting third downs or you’re behind in a game, it’s less impactful. I think it showed up tonight. It’s been there all season, but it showed up tonight.”
Chris Boswell also had another solid night as he made field goals from 29 and 49. He is now 7-7 in field goals so far.
The Steelers must now prepare themselves for another AFC North opponent in the Ravens, who started the season 2-0, but are now 2-2. They welcome the Ravens to Heinz Field Sunday at 1pm.
“We just need to learn from this.” Said Tomlin. Learn from the positive experiences like we have from some of the negative ones and keep getting better. I think that’s just the nature of this thing.”
Notes: The Steelers officially enshrined Hines Ward, Bill Cowher, Larry Brown and Elbie Nickel into their Hall of Honor at halftime during Monday’s game.
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