Steelers beat Bengals 36-10; improve to 9-0

[Pittsburgh,PA] During this historic winning streak, the Pittsburgh Steelers have found many ways to win. The past 3 weeks, they won by outlasting the opponent (Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, and Dallas Cowboys) on the final play of the game. Last Sunday , the Black and Gold opted for less drama as they dispatched the Cincinnati Bengals 36-10.

 


“Man, we’re really proud of these guys today, just because it was a challenging week.”Said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. “It wasn’t a very fluid week for us in terms of COVID-19 in the manner in which we had to. We had a number of significant guys that weren’t allowed to come to work. We were working remotely from a meeting standpoint, didn’t have a lot of exposure to our guys. So, there was a lot of anxiety about just feeling good about the prep. It’s good to kind of face that and persevere and come and have that type of performance.”

One of the players that didn’t practice because of COVID-19 protocol was Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But he showed that he wasn’t fazed as he once again led his team as he passed for 333 yards and 4 TDs and the defense kept Bengals QB Joe Burrow and the offense out of the endzone in the second half. Linebacker TJ Watt sacked the Bengals rookie twice, fellow Linebackers Bud Dupree and Robert Spillaine each had one apiece as the defense continued to show why they are the NFL’s #1-ranked defense.

 

“I like what we did on 3rd down.” Said Tomlin when asked about his defense. “I wouldn’t call the rest the most complete, whatever you referred to it as. Third down was complete. We were really good on possession downs, and that defined the day for the group.”

With the win, the Steelers improve to 9-0, extending their best start in franchise history. A lot of the national sports media thought this would be the ‘trap game’ that the Steelers would face and result in their first loss of the season, but to paraphrase Mark Twain, those reports were greatly exaggerated as the Steelers had other ideas.

It wasn’t easy as the Bengals made the Steelers work for it as the home team was only able to generate 6 points off the foot of Kicker  Chris Boswell early in the first quarter, but Big Ben was finally able to get a TD when he found Wide Receiver Diontae Johnson (6 receptions, 116 yards) for the 12- yard TD pass and a 12-0 lead (2-point conversion attempt failed)

But we know that lead was not enough as Burrow and the Bengals challenged the Steelers defense in the first half with passes to WR Tee Higgins (7 receptions, 116 yards), who exploited the defensive backs with short and long catches. The two would connect for a 2-yard TD, closing the Steelers lead to 12-7. But the Steelers would extend their lead off a 9-yard TD pass from Big Ben and JuJu Smith-Shuster (9 receptions, 77 yards) and Boswell’s 3rd FG of the game as the half ended.

In the 2nd half, it was all Steelers as they were finally able to score more TDs as Big Ben found rookie WR Chase Claypool in the 3rd and 4th quarters to ice the game for the Steelers. Claypool would finish the game with 4 receptions for 56 yards.

In addition to Boswell’s 3 FGs, the Steelers special teams also got splash plays from Running Back Benny Snell as he recovered Bengal Return specialist Alex Erickson’s 1st quarter punt return and return specialist Ray-Ray McCleod as his 42-yard 3rd quarter return paved the way for a Steelers TD.

For the Bengals, Burrow passed for 213 yards and a TD, RB Samaje Perrine rushed for 48 yards (139 as a team) and in addition to Higgins 115 yards, fellow WR Tyler Boyd caught 6 passes for 41 yards.

However, it wasn’t a good day for the Steelers running game as only rushed for 44 total yards (36 from RB James Conner), but the Steelers will tell you, it doesn’t matter how you get it, a win’s a win.

So now the Steelers will travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars (1-8) who lost to the Green Bay Packers (7-2) 24-20 and a win there would put the Steelers at 10-0 and perhaps some media comparisons to the 1972 Dolphins. But the Steelers are not concerned about those details, they are just focused one taking it one week at a time with one goal in mind-winning.

“A lot of positivity, a lot of things to build upon as we move forward and get ready for our next test, which is on the road to J-ville.” Said Tomlin.

(Photo Courtesy of Pittsburgh Steelers Twitter)

Notes: Newly acquired LB Avery Williamson saw his first action vs. the Bengals and nearly had a sack on Bengals QB Burrow. The former NY Jet finished the game with a tackle and an assist.

Please e-mail Ray at rayporterjr72@gmail.com

Follow him @RP2872_Jr on Twitter

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