STEELERS OFF TO DENVER AFTER COLLAPSE OF BENGALS
The Bengals are the gift that keeps on giving — Imploding under pressure —
As the Steelers fell apart in the fourth quarter in blowing a 15-0 lead, Bengals – Steelers would turn into one of the most bizarre games you’ll ever see.
With the Bengals Trailing 15-0 and time running down in the third quarter, Vontaze Burfict knocked Ben Roethlisberger out of the game with a sack at Steelers five yard line and the momentum shift turned greatly into Cincinnati’s favor.
Following the Burfict sack, the Bengals would go three plays, 46 yards in 50 seconds to get back into the game on a Jeremy Hill TD run, 15-7.
The Steelers needing Landry Jones to make a just a couple plays in the fourth quarter to keep the clock moving would never transpire. The Steelers on their first possession with Jones under center went 5 plays, 22 yards and were forced to punt.
Cincinnati starting to find a comfort zone put together a 13 yard, 70 yard drive that was capped off with a Mike Nugent 36 yard field to make it a 15-10 game.
Pittsburgh’s offense would immediately stall again with a three and out that was followed by an Adam Jones 24 yard punt return to put the Bengals in great position to complete the comeback. The Bengals would strike quickly on an A.J. McCarron 25 yard TD pass to A.J. Green as the Bengals went ahead 16-15 after a failed two point conversation.
With a 1:36 left in the game the Steelers season was over as Landry Jones was intercepted by Burfict at the Pittsburgh 26 yard line.
But, stunningly the Steelers season wasn’t over just yet.
The Steelers often a terrible clock management team, had all three timeouts left so the Bengals were not in a situation to just take a knee and run the clock out, though, the Steelers win probability at that time was under 10%. It was pretty bleak.
One first down for the Bengals ices the game but the Bengals implosion was just about to begin.
Jeremy Hill on a seven yard first down run is stripped of the ball by Ryan Shazier and the Steelers recovered at the Pittsburgh 9. In an obvious situation of where the Steelers would be trying to strip the ball, Hill tried to gain an extra yard or two than going down in a major blunder.
The Steelers with life again decided ‘if we’re going to go down, we’re going down with an injured Ben Roethlisberger’ who can barely throw then put Landry Jones back out there.
Roethlisberger and his aching right shoulder returned for the last minute drive. Unable to pass with any real authority and averaging just 0.7 air yards on the drive, Roethlisberger found a way to go 5-7 for 40 yards in getting the Steelers near midfield.
But, time was running out and the Steelers still needed to come up with a big play or have the Bengals make it for them.
A high incomplete pass to Antonio Brown with 22 seconds left would change everything in the game.
Burfict came in late with a vicious hit to a defenseless Brown resulting in a 15 yard personal foul penalty that would have setup a 50 yard field goal attempt for the Steelers. It didn’t end there.
As Brown was down Adam Jones would lose his cool after getting into it with Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter when Porter illegally came onto the field as Brown was being tended to by trainers.
Jones losing his cool was a pretty big late Christmas present for the Steelers but the Steelers should have also received a 15 yard penalty as coaches are not allowed on the field, according to rule to 13.1.2. The Jones penalty made it 30 yards of personal foul penalties for Cincinnati and the Steelers didn’t bother running another play, sending Boswell out there with 14 seconds left for the game winning chip shot.
“We destructed on ourselves,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.