If I had just woken up from a three-year coma on Sunday afternoon around 5 p.m., and someone described to me the Steelers’ last four wins over the Bengals in Cincinnati without telling me they occurred in Cincinnati, I would have just assumed the games were played at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field
All the nonsense in the final moments that ultimately led to a win in the wild and wacky wildcard game in January of 2016. Comeback regular season victories in 2016 and 2017 after being down by two and three scores, respectively. And, finally, the dramatic way in-which Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown teamed-up to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat in the final seconds of Pittsburgh’s 28-21 win over the Bengals this past Sunday afternoon.
It all just seems like the most delicious home cooking a team could possibly enjoy—tasty entrees that could only be served with a knife, a fork and 68,000 Terrible Towels twirling in unison.
Only, those aforementioned victories were in-fact achieved at Paul Brown Stadium in-front of mostly partisan Bengals’ crowds.
Be honest, whether you were a Steelers fan or a Bengals fan, were you really all that surprised as you watched Brown race towards the end zone for the winning touchdown in the waning moments of this past Sunday’s game?
I raised my arms and encouraged Antonio to “Go!” But, afterwards, I didn’t necessarily feel the urge to give the Steelers’ latest chapter of Paul Brown Stadium magic an interesting name like “The Immaculate Reception,” “The Tackle” or “The Helmet Catch,” and then iron that name onto a bunch of t-shirts and sell them in the Strip District.
It was actually an outcome I expected to see.
The Steelers are now 21-3 all-time at Paul Brown Stadium, a record that would seem more fitting had it been compiled at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium. Included in that record are two playoff victories and a regular season triumph in-which the already eliminated Steelers knocked the Bengals out of playoff-contention on December 31, 2006.
Since 2013, the Bengals have won two AFC North titles and have qualified for the postseason three times. Yet, they haven’t defeated Pittsburgh at their own stadium since Week 2 of the 2013 campaign.
Again, it’s just insane dominance by one really good team at another fairly good team’s place.
Given the nature of divisional rivalries, playing at an opponent’s stadium should be a huge disadvantage, something to dread. But the Steelers don’t seem to fear playing at Paul Brown Stadium. In-fact, they never buckle in the face of any sort of adversity their orange and black-clad hosts serve up.
Why is that?
Are the Steelers really the NFL’s darlings, as many Bengals fans insist? Does the Irish Rooney family have a super-lucky four-leaf clover buried somewhere in the bowels of Paul Brown Stadium?
Maybe it’s best not to try and figure it out. Just be thankful the Steelers are one of the few NFL teams who get to play nine home games every season.