The Pittsburgh Steelers entered their Week 12 matchup vs. the Cincinnati Bengals with a 5-5 record, and when they were facing the 0-10 Bengals it seemed as if this game would be over before it even started. But after the Steelers fell flat vs. the Cleveland Browns in Week 11, all bets were off for this AFC North contest.
Pittsburgh won the opening coin toss and elected to defer their possession to the start of the second half. After both teams had to punt on their first possessions, the Steelers were the team to put together a drive and get into the red-zone for the first time. However, facing a third and goal situation, Mason Rudolph’s pass was tipped and intercepted.
The interception marked the 17th straight game the Steelers have committed a turnover in a game, and took at least three points off the scoreboard.
Pittsburgh’s defense didn’t surrender points off the turnover, and gave the ball right back to the offense with good field position. For the first time, Rudolph and company were able to move the ball and put points on the board with a time-consuming drive aided by a big pass play to newcomer Deon Cain down the sideline. However, the red-zone offensive woes continued and the offense had to settle for a 26-yard Chris Boswell field goal.
With the score 3-0, the Bengals got the ball back with 3:21 left in the first half and it took them little time to put some points on the board. It was all Tyler Boyd on the drive as he had a huge catch over Terrell Edmunds, and then a touchdown reception over Joe Haden to give the Bengals a 7-3 lead.
With 1:51 left in the half, and all three timeouts remaining, Rudolph and the Pittsburgh offense failed to move the ball into even field goal range. After punting the ball away the score remained 7-3 heading into halftime.
Both teams exchanged three-and-out possessions to start the second half, but on Pittsburgh’s second possession of the half the Steelers turned to Devlin Hodges to take over at quarterback for the rest of the way.
The result? After a nice first down strike to Jaylen Samuels, Hodges hit James Washington for a 79 yards and the touchdown.
Chris Boswell’s extra point made the score 10-7 with 11:10 remaining in the third quarter.
When it looked like the Steelers’ defense was going to be able to put the clamps on the Bengals, Joe Mixon got going and was able to carry the Bengals’ offense into the red-zone. However, once entering the red-zone the Bengals moved the wrong way and had to settle for a Randy Bullock field goal to tie the game, 10-10.
To start the fourth quarter the Pittsburgh offense got the football with a chance to take the lead. Aided by several defensive penalties, Hodges made enough plays to get the Steelers into field goal range. Chris Boswell took care of the rest with a 47-yard field goal to make the score 13-10 with 11:59 left in regulation.
On the Bengals’ next possession it was more Joe Mixon which got the team into striking distance, at least for a field goal. When Finley hit Boyd, it looked as if he would put the Bengals in the red-zone, but Devin Bush caused a fumble which was recovered by Minkah Fitzpatrick.
While the Steelers didn’t turn the extra possession didn’t equate in points, it took time off the clock and flipped the field. With 5:32 left in regulation the Bengals got the ball on their own 7 yard line, the Cincinnati offense used just 12 seconds off the clock before punting the ball back to Pittsburgh.
The following Steelers’ drive was a whole lot of Benny Snell running the football. In fact, it was the first time in a long time the Steelers were able to hand the ball to a back and let them grind out the clock, and first downs. Nonetheless, it was another red-zone trip which ended in a Chris Boswell chip shot to make the score 16-10.
With 3:10 left in regulation, Finley dropped back to pass, but Bud Dupree registered the defensive trifecta by having a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. It gave the Steelers the ball in the red-zone and all but sealed the win for the visiting team.
A Benny Snell first down brought out the victory formation.
The win moves the Steelers record to 6-5 on the season as they head back to Heinz Field for a huge game against the Cleveland Browns in Week 13. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news on the Mason Rudolph/Devlin Hodges decision, injuries and more!