The Pittsburgh Steelers entered their Week 11 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals coming off their third win of the season by beating the New Orleans Saints. At home for the second week in a row, the Bengals and Steelers would wrap up their regular season series, with the Steelers looking to sweep the AFC representative in the Super Bowl last year.
The Steelers won the opening coin toss, and elected to defer to the second half. Joe Burrow and company took over for the opening possession of the game, and a false start penalty doomed the drive which resulted in a three-and-out.
Following a three-and-out themselves, Pressley Harvin III was called onto early duty before giving Burrow his second possession of the game. Starting with good field position, a 21-yard pass to Hayden Hurts moved the Bengals into field goal range. From there, it equated in a 3-0 lead after Evan McPherson nailed a 45-yard field goal with 8:54 left in the opening quarter.
The Steelers started their second possession with great field position after Steven Sims gave the offense the ball at the 35-yard line. From there, it was Kenny Pickett orchestrating a nice drive with strikes to George Pickens and Jaylen Warren to get the offense on the cusp of field goal range. The drive stalled and resulted in a Matthew Wright 42-yard kick to tie the game 3-3 with 4:37 left in the opening frame.
On Cincinnati’s next possession, they started to use the Steelers’ defensive aggressiveness against them. Several draws and screen gashed the Pittsburgh defense, and the biggest play was the last play of the drive, a screen to Samaje Perine which went 29-yards for the first touchdown of the game. The McPherson extra point was good, making the score 10-3 with 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Steelers started the second quarter with great field position after Steven Sims set them up at the 44-yard line. The Pittsburgh offense did what they’ve done this year, and that is grind out the clock and move methodically down the field. Following a Kenny Pickett run for a first down, a 19-yard second down run by Najee Harris went the distance for the Steelers’ first touchdown of the game.
The Wright extra point was good, making the score 10-10 with 12:58 left in the half.
The tie game didn’t last long as the Bengals moved quickly down the field and capped off their drive the same way they did their previous scoring drive, with a Perine receiving touchdown. McPherson’s extra point was good, giving Cincinnati a 17-10 lead with 6:38 left in the second quarter.
Receiving the football the start the third quarter, the Steelers offense could put together a scoring drive and compound it with getting the ball first in the second half. Sims set up the offense at the 35-yard line, and the offense went to work on the Cincinnati defense.
Thanks to two defensive penalties in Cincinnati’s secondary, the Steelers drive moved quickly into Bengals territory. On the cusp of the red-zone, Pickett threw a beautiful pass to George Pickens for the Steelers touchdown.
Matthew Wright’s extra point was good, tying the game 17-17 with 1:48 left in the half.
Trying to add to their point total before halftime, Burrow had a pass deflected at the line of scrimmage by Robert Spillane, and was intercepted by Levi Wallace. With 31 seconds left in the half, the Steelers had all three timeouts remaining.
Pickett and company moved the ball quickly down the field, and set up Matthew Wright for a 30-yard field goal. The kick was good, making the score 20-17 heading into halftime.
The Steelers received the football to start the third quarter, but were unable to even muster a first down before giving the ball right back to Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense. Luckily for the Steelers, the Bengals’ next drive didn’t result in points after a sack by Alex Highsmith stalled the drive.
Another Steelers 3-and-out gave the Bengals their second possession of the third quarter, and Joe Burrow started to warm up at just the right time. A Burrow pass to Tee Higgins set up the Bengals in a 1st and goal situation, and a pass to Trenton Irwin gave the Bengals the lead. The McPherson extra point made the score 24-20 with 7:02 left in the third quarter.
Yet another Steelers 3-and-out saw Harvin punt the ball back to the Bengals. On Burrow’s first pass attempt, T.J. Watt timed it perfectly and intercepted the pass.
It set up the Steelers in prime position offensively, but all they could do was set up Matthew Wright for a field goal, making the score 24-23 with 4:28 left in the third quarter.
Cincinnati’s offense was still able to consistently move the football, but thanks to a sack by Cam Heyward on a critical 3rd and 10, it set up a 54-yard field goal attempt for McPherson. The Bengals’ placekicker nailed the kick, giving Cincinnati a 27-23 lead with 31 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.
In the final frame, the Steelers started with the football, and up until this drive failed to gain a first down once. On 3rd and 7, Pickett hit George Pickens down the sideline for a huge gain, and the first down. They followed that play up with a botched flea flicker, a negative run by Najee Harris and a sack. The end result was another punt.
Following Renegade, the Bengals had more negative yards than positive yards before punting the ball back to Pittsburgh after just three plays. Starting with the ball on the 48-yard line, it looked as if the offense would be set up for success. Nonetheless, following a 13-yard run on first down, the offense started moving the wrong way. Penalties and negative plays resulted in another Harvin punt with 9:33 left in regulation.
Burrow and the Bengals wasted little time moving the ball deep into Pittsburgh territory. Two plays, to be exact. Once they hit a first-and-goal situation, it was a familiar play and result. A swing pass to Perine for another, his third, touchdown. The extra point made the score 34-23 with 4:30 left in the 4th quarter.
The Steelers failed to get a first down, and turned the ball over on downs with 3:35 left in the game. The Bengals turned that into another field goal to make the score 37-23 with 3:18 left in the game.
In garbage time, Pickett moved the ball into Cincinnati territory, and the drive was capped off by a Najee Harris touchdown run. The extra point made the score 37-30, but the ensuing onside kick failed. The final score would read 37-30.
The loss moves the Steelers record to 3-7 on the season as they now prepare for a Monday Night Football matchup with the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team.