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Rudolph, Steelers Handle Bengals With Ease

This is the season for giving, and for the past three weeks the Pittsburgh Steelers have been giving fans lumps of coal.  Heading into their final home game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals Pittsburgh had a new QB under center, Mason Rudolph.  Rudolph would have a career game in leading the Steelers to a 34-11 victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The first half was all Pittsburgh and it started when Rudolph threw an 86-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens, who had a phenomenal game after being called out for his lack of blocking the previous week.  Early in the second quarter Calvin Austin III would rush for a 7-yard touchdown to put the home team up two scores.  At the 7:13 mark of the quarter Najee Harris would find pay dirt from three yards out.  The final points of the half came on a 50-yard field goal from Chris Boswell.

Cincinnati collected their only touchdown of the evening in the third quarter when Jake Browning connected with Tee Higgins for an 80-yard score.  The Steelers answered quickly when Rudolph and Pickens connected again, this time for a 66-yard touchdown.  The Bengals added three more points before the quarter ended on a 35-yard field goal from Evan McPherson.  Boswell would put the final three points on the board halfway through the fourth quarter on a 30-yard field goal.

Everything that went wrong for Pittsburgh the last three weeks seemed to go right today.  The offense was clicking and the defense overcame a depleted secondary to force three turnovers.  Rudolph would throw for 290 yards on 17-27 passing with two touchdowns.  Pickens would haul in both of those scoring passes to go with 195 yard receiving on four catches.  Harris would be the leading rusher with 78 yards on 19 carries with the one touchdown.

Patrick Peterson, Eric Rowe, and Alex Highsmith would each snag an interception from Browing, with Highsmith collecting a sack.  T.J. Watt and Myles Jack would also have a sack, while Mykal Walker led the way with eight tackles.  The Steelers will hit the road next week to take on the Seattle Seahawks.  Even if Kenny Pickett is cleared to play in that game, I think Rudolph earned the opportunity for another start with his performance against Cincinnati.

Overall Record:  8-7

Zane Heiple

Zane is Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands and a weekly contributor for Armchair Report on NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA related topics. He's also the smartest man in the world. Just ask him.