Cincinnati 18 – Pittsburgh 12
The Cincinnati Bengals came into Pittsburgh and won a game that many didn’t think was possible. The Steelers appeared to be peaking and have been nearly unbeatable at Heinz Field.
Mike Tomlin said it best following the game that the Steelers “are still a developing team”.
On Sunday afternoon Cincinnati beat the Steelers in the trenches and clearly showed that they are for real.
The Bengals improved to 7-2 on the season and 5-0 in the division. They control their own destiny in the AFC North but it’s not time to panic in Pittsburgh.
The vibe after the game is that the Bengals were the more physical team and the Bengals made key stops in the red zone. The Steelers were in the redzone four times and had zero touchdowns.
That was the story of the game for the Steelers. The offense was out of sync and there were a number of uncharacteristic miscues.
*A game ball for the Bengals goes to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmerman. The Bengals pressured Ben Roethlisberger all afternoon, recording four sacks and Zimmerman used a number of first down blitzes to catch the Steelers off-guard.
The Steelers were out-schemed by Zimmerman.
Roethlisberger was 20 of 40 for only 174 yards and one interception. He never found a rhythm with his receivers as the Steelers were 2-for-11 on third downs
While the passing game had an off-day, Rashard Mendenhall was limited to 36 yards on 13 carries. Pittsburgh just couldn’t create any running lanes.
*In a game where an offensive touchdown was not scored, special teams would haunt the Steelers again.
Bengals running game Bernard Scott returned a 96 yard kickoff return for a touchdown in what would be the only touchdown of the game.
The Steelers had one of the top coverage units in 2008 and they are missing two key components from that unit; Carey Davis who is sidelined with a hamstring injury and Anthony Madison who was a special teams standout for the Steelers.
Madison was cut in training camp after losing his roster spot to Keiwan Ratliff who has been a major disappointment and was inactive today.
Madison though is no longer a option for the Steelers. He was released by the Browns last week but was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts this week.
*The Steelers defense had a very good effort, limiting the Bengals to 218 yards and four field goals but the Bengals made some key plays late in the game to run down the clock.
Wakeup call for Pittsburgh?
*Being swept by the Bengals should be a wakeup call for the Steelers who would love another shot at Cincinnati.
I’d give my left arm to play them again,” Steelers safety Ryan Clark said after the game.
At 6-3, Pittsburgh is still in very good position to earn a playoff berth and despite being swept by the Bengals, the AFC North is clearly not out of reach. The Bengals and Steelers each have seven games remaining.
A lot of football to be played as Cincinnati still has to play San Diego and Minnesota but Pittsburgh’s hopes of winning the division may come down to a pivotal week 12 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore.
*The major concern for Pittsburgh after the game was Troy Polamalu who only played one series after tweaking his injured knee.
During warmups, Polamalu did not look right. He was not moving around well and came on the field about 10 minutes late.
Polamalu will have an MRI on Monday according to Mike Tomlin.