Tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals had major playoff implications for both teams, and while it was a close game that went down to the wire, dirty plays and injuries once again took to the forefront in front of a national audience.
After falling behind by 17 points, the Steelers rallied in the second half to win 23-20.
Before the game could barely begin, the Steelers were dealt a major blow as Ryan Shazier went down with what appeared to be a serious injury. There was no further word on the extent of the injury, but he was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital.
The Steelers got off to a sluggish start tonight on both sides of the ball and the Bengals took advantage of it. A 35 yard field goal by Randy Bullock gave the Bengals an early 3-0 lead, and they were off to the races from there. Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green in the end zone from eight yards out to make it 10-0 after the first quarter.
Cincinnati marched down the field again in the second quarter, ending with another score from Dalton to Green, this time from 15 yards out, to make it a commanding 17-0 lead. Pittsburgh was able to move down the field in the final moments to snag a 30 yard field goal from Chris Boswell. But the Bengals still held a shocking 17-3 lead at halftime.
As expected, Pittsburgh did make a run, and it started almost immediately in the third quarter. After the Bengals went 3 and out and punted, the Steelers moved down the field on a 9 play, 78 yard drive, capped off by a 35 yard touchdown from Ben Roethlisberger to Le’Veon Bell to cut the lead to 17-10. Cincinnati answered with a 41 yard field goal by Bullock to make it 20-10, but Boswell answered with a 37 yard field goal to once again make it a one-score game midway through the fourth quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Bengals lost their best defensive player, Vontaze Burfict, on a dirty blind side block by Ju Ju Smith-Schuster. Burfict, like Shazier, had to be carted off the field.
The Steelers continued their drive after the injury, completing the comeback with a touchdown connection between Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, tying the game 20-20 with just under four minutes remaining.
After the Bengals went 3 and out and punted, the Steelers got the ball back with 2 minutes 42 seconds remaining in the game. As expected, the Steelers moved down the field effectively and efficiently, setting the table for a game-winning 38 yard field goal by Boswell.
This was another game in which the Steelers did not play very good football, but they were still able to come away with a victory. It is becoming a trend for this team to fail to put together a full 60 minutes of football. Right now, they are able to win these games based on their talent, but going forward into the postseason, they need to put together consistent football if they wish to achieve their goal of reaching another Super Bowl.
Overall Record: 10-2
Next Game: Sunday December 10 vs. Baltimore Ravens 8:30 NBC