Steelers vanish in the second half and fall to the Cincinnati Bengals!

November 21st, 2022
by admin

After their best performance of the season last week, the Steelers faded in the second half and now any talk of the playoffs is all but a dream. The Steelers fell apart and self-destructed, dropping a must win to the Bengals. It is fair to say that this team is still very much a work in progress on all three phases of the game.

Despite missing Ja’Marr Chase and not having Joe Mixon for most of the games the Bengals put up 37 points against the Steelers, the season worst. Tee Higgins torched the Steelers secondary for 148 yards and was open on nearly every play he was targeted. Samaje Perine ran over Robert Spillane for a touchdown catch and added two more. The Steelers defense all but disappeared in the second half.

Despite two turnovers, Joe Burrow was able to pass for 355 yards with four total touchdown passes. The pass rush was non-existent for the most part and the defense struggled in key situations to make stops when needed. The secondary just doesn’t match up when there is not a consistent pass rush. The defense limited the Bengals running game, but it wasn’t enough to stop a 37-point onslaught, with the Bengals scoring twenty in the second half.

The offense is boring and predictable. Kenny Pickett for the second week in a row had zero turnovers and played a great first half, but as the protection broke down, he became limited and missed some big throws. He had a respectable line, but his second half was terrible going 9 for 23 for only 124 yards, with 70+ of those coming on a late garbage time drive. Overall Pickett continued his evolution though and he finished with 265 yards and a touchdown.

The running game also showed some signs of life. Najee Harris grinded out 90-Yards on the ground including two touchdowns. Once Mason Cole was injured at the end of the first half, a fact that the TV crew completely missed, the running game found tough sledding for the Steelers, they gained only 31 yards. The protection also struggled without Cole.

The offensive line was strong for the first half, but as is the common theme, fell apart in the second half. Dan Moore Jr. got nailed for a holding call and J.C. Hassenauer was called for an illegal man downfield play, that could have been called on half the offensive line after a botched draw play between Pickett and Harris. It appeared the only person in the Stadium that didn’t know it was a draw play was Harris. The line also surrendered two sacks one of which was the backbreaker on a drive the Steelers imploded on when trailing by four with excellent field position.

George Pickens had a tremendous circus catch and led the team in yards 83 on four catches. Pat Freiermuth led the team with eight catches. The much-maligned Gunner Olszewski had a nifty catch on the last drive that setup the touchdown. Diontae Johnson was a non-factor in the game. With little time to throw, Pickett is forced to use checkdowns.

Once again, the special teams was a mixed bag. Steven Sims had some nice returns on kickoffs but stunk up the stadium on punt returns. He muffed a punt that setup a Bengals first score of the game. He also caught a punt inside the five in the second half, that set the Bengals up when the Steelers went three and out. Matthew Wright recovered from last weeks disaster and hit all three of his field goal tries. It was a nice performance by Pressley Harvin III who booted six punts including a 56-yard boomer!

It is hard not to paint the coaches in a poor light here. First the offense absolutely stunk in the second half and the defense completely wore down from being on the field so much. The Bengals made the second half adjustments, and the Steelers didn’t. It is that simple. They continue to make silly mistakes that crush any kind of momentum.

This team has flashes of brilliance, but it is a work in progress, it looks like that work will take to long to salvage this season.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Cam Heyward, his stat line was solid, but it is more than that, it was nice to see him not being doubled and tripled team all day, Honorable Mention: Najee Harris has 90 yards on the ground and made some nice plays in the running game. George Pickens who is starting to flash big play ability every week now.

Beer of the Game: IC Light that we brought back from Pittsburgh!

“Steel the Snacks”: We opted against Skyline Chile and Hot Dogs for a more Sunday like Meatball and Calabrese Sauce Sunday Dinner. The meatballs were great and the sauce had a nice kick to it.

My Stat of the week:  Samaje Perine scored with three touchdown catches, the most in Cincinnati Bengals history. That tells the whole story of why this was such a frustrating game to watch.

My Thoughts on next week: The Steelers absolutely need to beat the Colts and have all the tools to do it. The question is can they limit the mistakes they make.

Jersey of the Week: Jack Lambert, #58 Home Black, same as last week, this is technically not a throwback because this is my actual jersey, I bought several years ago. I also wore Lambert socks for the game.


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