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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals Winners and Losers AFC Wild Card game

After every game there are players who deserve the label of a 'Winner', and others who are dubbed 'Losers'. BTSC gives you the winners and losers after the Steelers vs. Bengals playoffs.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After every NFL contest, there are players who deserve to be recognized for their tremendous efforts in the team's most recent victory. At the same time, there are players who deserve to be called out for playing "below the line". These players are labeled as 'Winners' and 'Losers'. See who BTSC has as 'Winners' and 'Losers' after the Pittsburgh Steelers crazy and wild AFC Wild Card victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.


Ryan Shazier: Nine tackles, four assists and two red-zone forced fumbles that led to turnovers. Ryan Shazier was out there with an "S" on his chest flying all over the field making plays left and right. He had multiple passes defensed, but he also had the biggest plays of the game. His first forced fumble was from the MOST CRUSHING HIT that revived all reputations of the hardest hitting team in the league. Then, just when you think every thing is over, Landry Jones throws an interception, but no, Shazier stands and strips Jeremy Hill to keep Pittsburgh alive. I love Ryan Shazier.

Martavis Bryant: When the team needed him to rise to the task, Bryant did just that. While he only had five catches for 29 yards, he also ran a reverse for 44 yards and had the greatest touchdown catch of the season. After a week when Ben Roethlisberger said Bryant needed to toughen up because of his poor play from the last two games, he did just that with one of the most amazing catches I have ever seen. Great job, young man.

Fitzgerald ToussaintJordan Todman: The two fourth string running backs had a great performance in a playoff game with only six days of practice. Todman led the team with 65 yards on 11 carries, while Toussaint took 17 carries for 58 yards as well as four catches for 60 yards. You could not ask more from two guys who are the backups to the backups in the big stage of the NFL playoffs.

Chris Boswell: This man has been a moneymaker all season long, and he continued to be just that tonight. Four for four tonight with the game winning kick and the Steelers needed every single one.  I'm sorry Suisham, Boswell is the man in Pittsburgh.

Defense: Isn't it ironic that the unit which had been a problem all season long ends up being the hero in the playoffs? This unit came out and forced four fumbles, recovering three, recording an interception and playing out their minds. Even when they gave up a late touchdown to AJ Green, a situation that usually means it's on the offense to win the game, they responded to a Landry Jones' interception with the ultimate turnover to get the team a chance to win.

Ben Roethlisberger: Though he did not really have a good game statsitically and did not seem to read the defense well, he comes out the game a hero. Why? Because when he was sent out the game and had trash thrown at him from Bengals fans, it looked like he was done. But yet again, he returned to the field for one final drive to lead his troops down the field for a game winning field goal drive.

Antonio Brown: He's a bad man! Seven catches for 119 yards and some of the biggest offensive plays of the evening. His fourth down completion being one of the biggest plays coming late in the game.

Mike Tomlin: Coach is on this list for many reasons, not just for the team's first postseason win since the 2011 AFC Championship game, but also because of how he kept his team together in the craziest of games. You never saw the team lose its control in the biggest moments. Even when the game was seemingly over, they were prepared to fight to the bitter end and gut out a huge win. This team knows how to win and much credit must be given to the head coach.


NFL Officiating: This is not just the referees, but the people that decided to put the head of officiating in this game. This is the same head official that allowed for the horribly officiated game that was the most recent matchup between these two teams. Then even beyond those decisions, the calls were abysmal on the field throughout the game. Much like last time, you can point to many points in the game when the officials seemed to get the calls all wrong. You could also point to multiple points when they seemed to allow everything to escalate in the wrong direction by not calling penalties on players for late hits and unnecessary acts that do nothing but endanger other players. This game was insane for many reasons, but some of them was directly from the way the game was managed from the NFL referees.

Cincinnati Bengals: How can I count the ways? The continued drought of playoff victories, the insane dumb antics, or just how they lost this game? All of them contribute to why the Bengals are losers. I have supported Marvin Lewis for how he had coached the Bengals to being a competitive team again, but his organization fell apart at the seams today. Vontaze Burfict was reported as "out of control" by sideline reporters even while he was not in the game. You would think that somehow the team would have learned its lessons after being village idiots in their most recent loss to the Steelers; instead of that, they come into the game and continue to be instigators and make crucial mistakes that continue to keep their organization in the bottom of the NFL. If the fumble that was the ice cream to their sunday, the two personal penalties at the end of the Steelers' drive were the sprinkles and cherry. This organization has a lot to answer to from top to bottom, and I am not sure if we will ever get them.

Cincinnati Fans: Throwing trash at an injured player while he is on the cart headed to the locker room is something that is completely disgusting and unacceptable. While not every Bengals fan are the multiple people who littered the field during and after the game, it showed a horrible display of their fanbase that has nothing but pain and suffering at the way their season has ended.