The Cincinnati Bengals went to Pittsburgh with the hopes of gaining momentum and leaving 3-3. Those hopes were dashed after the Bengals lost 29-14 to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon.
There’s a lot to unwrap from Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. Here are some key points from Sunday’s game.
A decent start and a weak finish
The Steelers got on the board first in this game. Thanks to an Antonio Brown touchdown in the first drive of the game. Even though the Bengals didn’t score on their first drive. The Bengals were able to capitalize on the next one; keeping the game manageable. The defense kicked into gear, leading the Bengals into halftime down just 20-14.
The second half was brutal for the Bengals offense. With the Bengals failing to score a single point in that half. Meanwhile, all the Steelers could muster in the second half were field goals. The Bengals though were kept out of field goal range throughout the second half. Leaving the Bengals in a position where they were unable to make a comeback.
Where was A.J. Green?
A.J. Green did not have a good game on Sunday. Surprising, since he’s the Bengals most effective wide receiver. None of the Bengals two touchdowns came from Green. One came from Brandon LaFell, tying the game at seven all. His was the first touchdown by a Bengals receiver other than A.J. Green this season.
The Bengals second touchdown came courtesy of Tyler Kroft. As the Bengals tight end continues a breakout season. The most visible moment for A.J. Green was the result of an interception. The Steelers Joe Haden got an interception literally off of Green’s back. It was one of the two interceptions Andy Dalton gave up on Sunday.
The Bengals had several chances to keep themselves in the game. This was a big problem for the Bengals in the second half. The Bengals got the ball to start that half. It was an opportune moment to score some points, even potentially take the lead. The Bengals made nothing from it and were ultimately forced to punt.
The pattern continued on through the rest of the game. This pattern hurt the Bengals chances to win a winnable game. The Bengals defense did an effective job of not making the game a blowout. Ultimately the offense was not able to capitalize on those defensive efforts. The Bengals failure to capitalize on offense continues to be a frustrating trait for them.
This was the Bengals chance to reverse course and they blew it.
There were a few things that made Sunday’s loss disappointing from a Bengals perspective. The most notable was their squandering of an opportunity to change the dynamic of their season. The Bengals blew their chance of being 3-3 and grabbing second place in the AFC North. One can only imagine the boost of confidence that would’ve produced. Especially getting that boost at the Steelers expense.
Now the 2-4 Bengals will return to Cincinnati to face the Indianapolis Colts. One of a few teams in truly worse shape than the Bengals are. Instead of an opportunity to get above a .500 record; the Bengals will be looking to save face next Sunday.