Given the injuries the Pittsburgh Steelers have sustained this season, it really is incredible that we, as fans, are even mentioning the word playoffs in 2019. Yet, entering this afternoon’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers could once again hold the final playoff spot with a win on the road.
Mason Rudolph has had a few bright moments this season, but for the most part, he has struggled in his relief of Ben Roethlisberger. This afternoon, after a half and one possession, Mike Tomlin decided to make the move and bench Rudolph for Devlin Hodges. The undrafted quarterback rallied the Steelers past the winless Bengals for a 16-10 victory.
This game featured two struggling offenses. Both have been riddled with injuries, and for a quarter and a half, it seemed as if neither team would find the endzone. But after the Steelers took a 3-0 lead on a 26 yard field goal by Chris Boswell, the Bengals responded with two huge passes on their next drive from Ryan Finley to Tyler Boyd, resulting in a 7-3 lead for the home team at halftime.
Hodges hit James Washington in the third quarter for 79 yards to put the Steelers in front, 10-7. Cincinnati tied the game with a field goal, and the Steelers and Bengals were in a dogfight entering the final quarter.
The Steelers, though significantly undermanned, are still the better team, and they prevailed down the stretch to keep their postseason hopes alive for the moment. The defense shut the Bengals down, and the offense did enough to muster two field goals by Boswell, one from 47 yards and the other from 26 yards, which ended up being the difference in the game.
This was an ugly win, but it was a necessary one to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The Steelers are at 6-5 on the season, and hold the final spot in the AFC posteason if the season were to end today. Pittsburgh will now face the suddenly very hot Cleveland Browns next week at Heinz Field.