The Pittsburgh Steelers were not expected to have a good 2021 season. And sure enough, after a surprise victory against the Buffalo Bills in Week One, the Steelers have shown their true colors in the past two weeks, including this afternoon’s 24-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field.
Ben Roethlisberger and the offense looked completely out of sync the entire game. The Steelers’ quarterback completed 38/58 passes for a somewhat misleading 318 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Najee Harris was by far the offensive “star” of the game, carrying the ball for 40 yards on 14 carries as well as 14 catches for 102 yards.
Pittsburgh certainly has a lot of injuries, and that unquestionably had an effect on this game, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. But the offense lost a few key parts as well. In addition to Diontae Johnson who missed the game, JuJu Smith-Shuster and Chase Claypool both left today’s game with injuries.
Cincinnati took the lead in the first quarter on a 17 yard touchdown connection between Joe Burrow and Tyler Boyd to make it 7-0. The Steelers tied the game in the second quarter when Roethlisberger hit Pat Freiermuth from 4 yards out. Shortly before halftime, however, the Bengals countered with a 34 yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase to make it a 14-7 score.
The Bengals opened the third quarter with a 10 play, 70 yard drive resulting in a 43 yard field goal. They added to their lead later in the quarter when Burrow hit Chase for the second time in the game, this time from 9 yards out to make it 24-7.
The Steelers had two long drives later in the game, but could only account for 3 points combined. A Chris Boswell missed field goal ruined any chance of a momentum swing, and despite a 26 kick late in the third quarter to make it 24-10, they couldn’t make any time of a run to make things more competitive down the stretch. The Bengals were able to make the key plays defensively down the stretch to confirm the victory.
This was unquestionably a very difficult loss for the Steelers. After a surprising win in the first week of the year, things are beginning to take shape and we can see the flaws this team has on both sides of the ball. While teams like the Bengals and Cleveland Browns are on the rise in the division, the Steelers seem to be headed in the opposite direction, and if they don’t make improves immediately, this could turn out to be a very long season for Pittsburgh football fans.
It won’t get any easier for the Steelers next week. They hit the road for a very difficult match up against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Overall Record: 1-2