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Analyzing the Steelers Week 12 loss to the Bengals, by the numbers

Yes, it really was as bad as it looked on Sunday.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers have had moments where they did not play very good football. Unfortunately, Sunday in Cincinnati it would be tough to define much time that did not fit into this category. The Steelers lost by 31 points as they had no answers on offense or defense throughout the game. While credit needs to be given to the Bengals for playing well, it was the Steelers getting dominated on both sides of the ball that ultimate saw the scoreboard so lopsided.

So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers loss to the Chargers.


After Ben Roethlisberger had gone five games without throwing an interception, he had two picks in this game along with a lost fumble. The Steelers were -2 with the turnover margin as Minkah Fitzpatrick got his first interception of the season. Unfortunately, the very next play was a Roethlisberger pick six surrendered to Mike Hilton.


The Steelers surrendered 198 rushing yards in the game with 120 of them coming in the first half. This is now the third-straight game in which the Steelers have surrendered more than 150 yards on the ground. The last time the Steelers surrendered 150 yards or more rushing yards in three consecutive games in the same season was in 1983.


In turn, the Steelers only rushed for 51 yards on the day. The total came on 15 carries which resulted in a 3.4 yard average. These numbers are a bit skewed as 33.3% of the yards gained came on two carries by Kalen Ballage inside of two minutes remaining.


While the game situation dictated it for most of the day, the Steelers simply couldn’t run the football. In fact, they only had one first down coming by way of the rush the entire game which came on a 13-yard carry inside of two minutes as mentioned previously. Of the Steelers 16 first downs, it was the only one that came on the ground while none came by way of penalty.


For the second straight week, the Steelers have surrendered 41 points. It was the first time the Steelers have given up 40 points in consecutive games since Week 1 and Week 2 of the 1989 season.


Although the Bengals were able to run the ball all over the Steelers, they were also very efficient in the passing game. On the day, the Bengals completed 20 of 25 passes for an 80% completion rate. Joe Burrow completed all 20 passes on 24 attempts while Brandon Allen was not successful on his one pass attempt.


The domination in the first half of this football game cannot be overlooked. The Bengals had 18 first downs to the Steelers 5 in the first half of the game and converted 4 of 5 third-down attempts. The total yards were 261 for the Bengals to only 95 for the Steelers as the Bengals had an 88% completion percentage and averaged 6.7 yards per play.


It wasn’t until there was almost 3 minutes remaining in the game when the Steelers reached their opponent’s red zone for the first time. With 3:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Steelers moved the ball to the Cincinnati 15-yard line. In the only offensive play the Steelers ran in the Bengals’ red zone for the day, it was their only touchdown as Ben Roethlisberger connected with Pat Freiermuth for the 15-yard score.


Not that it would have made that much of a difference, but this now marks the eighth-straight game the Pittsburgh Steelers have lost when Joe Haden was not in the lineup. Even if the Steelers had three Joe Haden‘s on the day, it likely would not have made the difference.


The Steelers were once again not able to add a number to their one column. Although the Steelers were not able to be victorious, the more important take away is that they were badly beaten and embarrassed for the second time this season by the Cincinnati Bengals as they were outscored 65-20.

So there are some numbers to try to help put the Steelers Week 12 loss to the Bengals in perspective. Not only was the performance not good enough to win the game, it didn’t even allow the Steelers to stay in the game in the first half. Even though it was bad, the Steelers still have six more games to play and need to pull things together moving forward.

So what numbers from Sunday’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.