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What was the game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Bengals?

The Steelers were still in the game in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t take advantage of opportunities.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers once again fell in defeat for the seventh time in the 2022 season. Even though the offense scored 30 points, it was failing to put up points when they needed which made things get away from them in the fourth quarter. As for the defense, surrendering over 400 yards and giving up 37 points is not a recipe for winning games.

But what was the biggest moment that sent the Steelers down the path to the loss?

With each win for the Steelers this season being where we hand out a game ball and look at the top individual performance, each loss we will take a look at what we will call the “game-changing moment” of the game. What was the individual play or a set of plays that ended up being the biggest contribution to the loss? While it does not necessarily come down to just one thing that keeps a team from winning, it also doesn’t mean that all the moments share equal blame.

For the Week 8 loss, the biggest game-changing moment was determined to be A.J. Brown’s first touchdown reception. After the Steelers opened the game on a three-play drive that netted -7 yards, the Philadelphia Eagles went on a nine-play drive which covered 68 yards and ultimately ended with 39-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Hurts to A.J. Brown. Although it looked as if Minkah Fitzpatrick would possibly be able to come down with the interception, he mistimed the play and the Eagles took a 7–0 lead and forced the Steelers offense to have to play from behind.

I will reiterate for everyone of the rules that it is individual plays or series of plays that will be highlighted from this game (and the coin toss officially occurs before the game). Although it could be applicable, it will not be total performances as they are more in line for Jeff Hartman’s Winners and Losers article.

So here are the nominations in chronological order:

The 3 & outs to start the 2nd half

The Steelers had a fantastic end of the first half when they scored 10 points in the final two minutes to take a three point lead and were set to receive the second half kickoff. Unfortunately, their first drive resulted in only one yard on three plays and ended in a punt. Even after giving the ball back to the Bengals, who gained 16 yards on the first play, the Steelers drove the Bengals back and forced them to punt . But things did not improve much for the Steelers offense as they gained only six yards on three plays and had back-to-back three and outs. Even though their streak of three and outs wasn’t over, these were two possessions the Steelers had a chance to extend their lead and in ultimately ended up being their last possessions in which they held the lead at all.

Settling for the field goal

Trailing by four points in the third quarter, T.J. Watt came up with an interception of Joe Burrow and set the Steelers offense up at the Bengals 21-yard line. With a chance to grab the lead back, the Steelers once again could not gain a first down and ended up settling for a 34-yard field goal and still trailed by a point.

The flea flicker sequence

On the second play of the fourth quarter on third and four from their own 28, the Steelers crossed midfield with a 33-yard pass to George Pickens with their first first down of the half. After the completion, the Steelers rushed to the line and quickly ran a play. The play ended up being a flea flicker which looked discombobulated from the start. Luckily Kenny Pickett was able to throw the ball away and not take a loss. The Steelers then ran for a 2-yard loss on second down and quickly had Kenny Pickett in a situation where he needed to convert a third and 12 in order to continue the drive and work their way into field goal range. Instead, they ended up taking a sack at midfield and punting the ball away again.

Squandering the drive that started in Bengals territory

The Steelers pinned the Bengals deep at their own 10 yard line with over 12 minutes left in the game and trailing by four points. After playing Renegade and getting a false start to begin the drive, the Bengals managed to gain 2 yards and punt of the ball to the Steelers at the Cincinnati 47-yard line. Set up on a short field, Najee Harris ran for 13 yards on the first play setting the Steelers up on the edge of field goal range. That was where everything fell apart. The Steelers were called for an offensive hold on first down. On the next play, Najee Harris missed the handoff and Kenny Pickett ended up throwing a 7-yard pass to George Pickens only to have pretty much the entire offensive line down field because it was supposed to be a run. Facing a first and 25 at the Bengals 49 yard line, the next two plays saw inaccurate check-down passes which fell incomplete. On third and 25, the Steelers ran a draw play for 7 yards and punted the ball back to the Bengals.

The 93-yard TD drive

Despite the offense squandering away opportunities, the defense had their own part in things as the Bengals followed up the Steelers missed opportunity on a short field with an eight play, 93 yard touchdown drive to take an 11-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

So what do you think? What was the biggest moment that had the most effect on the Steelers loss this week? Make sure you vote in the poll as this is how the winner (which is ultimately the loser) will be determined. And of course, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.


What was the biggest game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Bengals in Week 11?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    The 3 & outs to start the 2nd half
    (135 votes)
  • 9%
    Settling for the field goal
    (49 votes)
  • 10%
    The flea flicker sequence
    (50 votes)
  • 31%
    Squandering the drive that started in Bengals territory
    (155 votes)
  • 21%
    The 93-yard TD drive
    (109 votes)
498 votes total Vote Now