The Pittsburgh Steelers began the 2022 NFL season on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pittsburgh began the season with many questions. Those being how would life be without Ben Roethlisberger and how would this make shift offense line hold up over the course of a seventeen-game schedule. After one week, I think it is safe to say that reviews are mixed. Especially after two injuries to key players could cloud the remainder of this team’s season.
The Steelers biggest source of offense today was their defense. The first of five turnovers, all involving Joe Burrow, came when Minkah Fitzpatrick got things started on an interception that he would return 31yds for a touchdown early in the first quarter. Cincinnati got three of those points back on an Evan McPherson 59yd field goal five minutes later. Chris Boswell collected the final three points of the quarter with a 20yd field goal with just a little over two minutes remaining.
With 8:50 left in the first half, Pittsburgh would score their first offensive touchdown of the season. Mitch Trubisky would connect with Najee Harris on a 1yd touchdown pass to put the Steelers up fourteen. McPherson used his leg to hit a 26yd field coal for the Bengals to cut the lead to eleven heading into the half.
The only points of the third quarter came on a 2yd touchdown pass from Burrow to Tyler Boyd. Cincinnati now trailed by just three points as this game went into the fourth quarter. Boswell increased the Steelers lead to six when he kicked a 48yd field goal. With just four seconds left in the game Burrow threw a 6yd touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase. A blocked field goal by Fitzpatrick meant this game was going to overtime.
Overtime was a back-and-forth affair with both teams missing field goals that could have sent their team home victors. In the end it would be a 53yd field goal from Boswell that would give Pittsburgh a 23-20 win to open the season. The Bengals troubles with the kicking game late in the game came from an injury to their long snapper.
Injuries didn’t just effect Cincinnati today, the Steelers saw their fair share and to key players. Late in the game TJ Watt left the game with an injury. If you read his lips, it looked like he said that he tore his pec muscle, which if true would have him out for the season. Najee Harris left the game in overtime with what looked like a foot injury. Thankfully he left the field under his own power.
Life without Ben looks a lot like last season with him. A below average offensive line, with some questionable at best play calling from offensive coordinator Matt Canada, will have this team relying on its defense to keep games within reach. Now with the reining Defensive Player of the Year possibly out for the season, the offense will need to step up to prevent this from being a lost season. Pittsburgh will now head home to take on the New England Patriots next Sunday at 1pm.
Overall Record: 1-0