Steelers Upset by Bengals 27-17; fall to 11-3
Cincinnati OH-In normal times of the National Football League, an 11-3 record is a superior one. But in those cases, it’s usually a team improving to that record. There’s not many times when 11- 3 is a sign of struggle, except when you fall to that record after starting 11-0.
.@_BigBen7 spoke to the media about the game against Cincinnati, Benny Snell Jr., and more.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 23, 2020
Such was the case with the Pittsburgh Steelers who haven’t been the same after beating AFC North Division Rival Baltimore 3 weeks ago. After losing to Washington and Buffalo, it was assumed that they would have no issues with the 2-10-1 last place Cincinnati Bengals in a Nationally-Televised Monday Night Matchup. After all, the Steelers were favored by 15 points.
As it is often said, that is why you play the game.
The Bengals did the unexpected and beat the Steelers 27-27 at First Energy Stadium. It’s the Bengals first win against the Steelers since Week 8 of the 2015 season (16-10) and it’s also the Steelers first Divisional loss and 2nd AFC loss which now drops them to the 3rd seed (if the season ended today) behind 13-2 Kansas City and 11-3 Buffalo (who has the tiebreaker over the Steelers) earlier in the season, the Steelers were winning these games, now they’re losing them.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 22, 2020
“I’ll start by expressing sadness at the loss of Kevin Greene, not only a Steeler great but an NFL Football great.” Said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin “Our condolences go out to Tara and his family. Even from a distance, we are with you in this difficult time. In regards to the game, you know, just not good enough for us. The score speaks for itself, man. We turned the ball over in the early portions of the game. You can’t do that versus anybody. We gave them a short field three times in the first half or so.”
Most of the damage was done in the first half as the Steelers looked like their minds were still back in Pittsburgh. The offense looking very lethargic, QB Ben Roethlisberger having his worst first half in his career in which he only passed for 15 yards and even more critical, the office committing 3 turnovers (2 fumbles and an interception)
And what did the Bengals do? They turned those 3 turnovers into 17 points, good for a 17-0 halftime lead. 3rd-string QB Ryan Finley looked like Ken Anderson out there as he effectively drove the ball against the Steelers #1 ranked defense. Although he only passed for 89 yards, he rushed for 47 and completely baffled the Steelers on a 23-yard TD run. The Bengals other TDs came from RB Giovani Bernard (25 carries, 83 yards) who ran one in and caught a TD pass.
Meanwhile, Roethlisberger looked like every Steelers QB that underachieved behind center in that first half. Miscommunication with the WRs and no running game put the Steelers in a hole that was hard to rebound from.
But in the second half, the Steelers began to look like the team that started 11-0. They quickly scored 10 unanswered points to close the Bengals lead to 17-10, but they began to revert to the team that didn’t take advantage of opportunities. After failing to convert a 3rd and 1, the punted
the ball back to a Bengals team who found their 1st half mojo and extended their lead to 24-10 off Finley’s TD run. Roethlisberger (20/38, 170 yards, TD, Interception) would lead his team to another score when RB Benny Snell (18 carries, 84 yards, TD) would score from a yard out, but it was truly too little, too late for the Steelers as the Bengals put the finishing touch on the upset.
TD Diontae!! pic.twitter.com/SoZlhdQQ7W
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 22, 2020
WR Diontae Johnson (8 rec, 59 yards) scored the Steelers other TD after he caught a 23-yard pass from Roethlisberger that began their comeback. Rookie WR Chase Claypool had a key 37- yard catch-and-run on that drive.
Many feel like the Steelers situation is about to get worse as they return home vs the 10-4 Indianapolis Colts, but it’s also believed that the Steelers may have received the jolt that they need after scoring 17 second half points. They just need to display that for an entire game.
“We’re not a good football group right now. We understand the consequences that come with that. We are working on a short week. We have to be better than what we’ve been. That’s just the reality of it.”-Said Tomlin.
This is so upsetting! I always loved it when Kevin came around the Southside or Latrobe. A football player in the truest sense of the word and he was real. RIP brother! #untilwemeetagain https://t.co/tczikXM629
— Chris Hoke (@hokiebro76) December 21, 2020
Notes: The NFL world was stunned and saddened as it was announced that former Hall of Fame Steelers LB Kevin Greene passed away at 58 on Monday. Greene played for the Steelers from 1993-95 and was a member of their ’95 Super Bowl team. “We lost an amazing player and person this morning with the passing of Kevin Greene. His sudden death is a shock to us all as he was a close friend and teammate to so many people in the Steelers family.”- Statement from Steelers President Art Rooney II. 5 Steelers were named to the Pro Bowl Monday: “LB TJ Watt, S Minkah Fitzpatrick, DE Cam Heyward, C Maurkise Pouncey and G David DeCastro.
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