The Pittsburgh Steelers came out strong in the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals, but had a string of problems in the final 30 minutes. It was a tale of two halves for the Steelers offense, and the defense had problems in the passing games all night.
So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers loss to the Bengals.
Just like the previous week, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the turnover battle as they intercepted Joe Burrow twice while playing a clean game. While this number goes a long way, it wasn’t enough for Steelers. In the first half the Levi Wallace interception was possibly a six-point swing as the Steelers did not give up a field goal at the end of the first half and instead got one for themselves. The three points off the other takeaway was quite disappointing as the Steelers didn’t take advantage of great field position and settled for a field goal without a first down. Although the Steelers need to continue to win this battle each game, sometimes it just isn’t enough.
71% vs. 30%
It definitely was a tale of two halves for the Steelers on Sunday against the Bengals. Looking at their third-down conversion, the Steelers were 5 of 7 in the first half for a 71% conversion rate. But in the second half, the Steelers were only 3 of 10 for 30% with no third-down conversions in the third quarter as they didn’t even have a first down. Additionally, the Steelers were 0 for 1 on fourth-down conversion in the second half.
The biggest problem with the Steelers defense throughout the game was the number of chunk plays they surrendered. In the passing game, Steelers gave up seven plays of 20 yards or more. Of those seven receptions, they went to six different players.
8 for 70
After only having three accepted penalties the previous week, two of which came on special teams, the Steelers had eight penalties for 70 yards against the Bengals. Not only were the penalties costly, they came at very inopportune times. In the first quarter, a 15-yard facemask penalty by Robert Spillane turned a third-down stop into a first down and ultimately a touchdown. The Steelers also had back-to-back penalties when they were on the edge of field goal range and ended up punting.
One issue which has plagued the Steelers in the past is surrendering points at the end of the first half. Managing things properly this week, the Steelers scored 10 points in the final two minutes of the first half against the Bengals and also received the second half kickoff. The Steelers scored a touchdown with 1:52 left in the first half. As the Bengals crossed midfield with just over 30 seconds to go, Levi Wallace came up with an interception after the ball was tipped by Robert Spillane. The Steelers then moved the ball 44 yards in four plays and ended the half with a 30-yard field goal.
Although it wasn’t nearly to the level it was the previous week, the Pittsburgh Steelers once again did a nice job of shutting down the Bengals rushing attack. In all, Cincinnati ran for 62 yards on 24 attempts for a 2.6 yards per carry average. Even though Joe Mixon left the game with a concussion, he was not effective at running the ball before he exited as he had 20 yards on seven carries.
7 for 94
Even though the Steelers were able to bottle up the Bengals rushing attack, their usage of running backs in the passing game was a whole different story. Between Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, the Bengals running backs had 7 receptions for 94 yards with three plays over 20 yards.
9 for 148
Even more than the running backs, it was wide receiver Tee Higgins who torched the Steelers for 148 yards on nine receptions. Higgins had a long reception of 33 yards and ultimately had 44 yards after the catch in the game.
What ultimately doomed the Steelers offense in the game was having six drives with which they did not achieve a first down. Starting the game with the three and out on the first possession, the other five drives all came in the second half. Three of them were of the three and out variety while one was a drive which started at the Bengals 21 yard line and ended in a field goal. The other drive was late in the game where the Steelers went for it on fourth down and did not convert.
It’s what I end with every week as it’s the most important number of them all. Steelers did not add another total to their win column but instead added one to their losses.
So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 11 loss in perspective. While the Steelers did some nice things, particularly in the first half, they failed to play complimentary football in the second half.
So what numbers from Sunday’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.