This Sunday was a big AFC North division game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the Steelers coming in at 2-2-1 against the leading 4-1 Bengals, there was a lot at stake. Ultimately, Pittsburgh prevailed with a last second touchdown to Antonio Brown, again beating the Bengals in fourth quarter crunch time.
Sunday’s game was a rollercoaster ride for both teams. The Steelers came out and struggled with the run game in the first quarter. James Conner only had 34 yards rushing, most of which came at the end of the quarter. Not only did the Steelers have offensive issues in the first quarter, their defense also allowed the Bengals to strike first, giving the Steelers something about which to worry. However, the Steelers were quick to find their stride, thanks to the tight ends.
Vance McDonald had another killer game, with 68 yards in seven receptions, with several of them having an impressive effort after the catch. Jesse James and Xavier Grimble had a combined total of another 61 yards, giving the tight ends a total of 129 yards. Add that with James Conner and Juju Smith-Schuster’s 111 yards each and Antonio Brown’s 105 yards, the offense had an explosive game.
Ben Roethlisberger and the offensive line worked so well together to make the plays happen that they needed to. In the first five weeks, the Steelers had ten turnovers — six interceptions and four fumbles. However, in Week 6, they didn’t turn the ball over once. Roethlisberger looked composed, and level-headed most of the time, with a 100.7 passer rating. He also avoided being sacked and had tons of time in the pocket, showing just how strong that offensive line can be.
The Steelers and the Bengals have a long and healthy rivalry. But the Steelers seem to be dominating that as of late. After Sunday’s win, the Steelers push their win streak against the Bengals to seven games. And several of those games, the Bengals were leading in the fourth quarter but somehow gave it up in the last few minutes. Much of those losses have to do with penalties, which are an issue on both sides of this rivalry, and that’s not something we missed in this game. There were several costly penalties from both teams and there were a few big hits and some taunting and fighting, which just seems like every other game between these two.
These two teams will meet again in Week 17, and the way these teams’ seasons appear to be going, this game promises to be another important, bloody, and all-out entertaining game. The Steelers are moving up in the division and Cincinnati is holding ground at the top. We may likely see a battle for the North at the end of the season. Either the win streak will continue, or the Bengals will finally figure out how to tame the Steelers.