Steelers: Everything Is Terrible Edition is in full effect so far today with Antonio Brown not dressing. They are losing 10-3 to the Bengals at halftime while the Ravens are on the cusp of a first-half blowout against the Browns. Feels bad, man.
On the opening kickoff, Brian Allen missed a tackle on Alex Erickson, giving the returner room to the right. Roosevelt Nix mad ea strong open-field tackle. The ball popped loose, but after he was down. The Bengals were also flagged for a hold, negating the big return.
From the 17, Jeff Driskel went deep on first down, John Ross almost going up to grab a high pass in front of Joe Haden, but incomplete. Joe Mixon was strung out wide for a minimal gain. Now third and nine, T.J. Watt recorded a strip sack, his 13th sack of the year, fifth strip sack, and sixth forced fumble. He is one sack away from cracking the top five all-time in franchise history for a single season.
Starting from their own 45 after the punt, James Conner was held for two on first down. A short pass to Nix for two yards came off play action. On third and six, Ben Roethlisberger threw into the ground after holding the ball for a while, incomplete. So a three and out to start the second half. This is pretty baffling to witness.
Mixon ripped off a 21-yard run on first down to the Steelers’ 35. After a three-yard pickup, Dupree picked up a sack that was negated by the fact that he was offside, so…not a sack. Instead it’s second and two, a short pass to Erickson, who leaned across the sticks for a first down, but a hold on the play brought that back. Now on second and two, Cameron Heyward got home for his seventh sack and a loss of a bunch of yards. Third and 20, Driskel checked down to Giovani Bernard, but Morgan Burnett buried him for no gain.
Baker Mayfield found Jarvis Landry for a 48-yard touchdown early in the second half to bring the game to 20-14.
From the 47, Roethlisberger threw a short pass in tight coverage to Conner for just a three-yard gain. Under pressure, he threw a low pass in front of Vance McDonald for an incompletion. Quickly looking at third and long, he once again threw well short of the chains to Eli Rogers for a two-yard gain. I don’t even know what I’m looking at anymore. This is entirely too conservative, Antonio Brown or no.
On the punt, Darrius Heyward-Bey was flagged for an illegal block in the back. So another special teams penalty. That’s what, three already in this game? Leading the league, closing in on 30.
Coty Sensabaugh helped force an incompletion on first down. L.J. Fort’s run blitz tripped the back up in the hole for no gain. On third and 15 after a false start, a checkdown to the back was held well short of a first, resulting in yet another punt.
Taking over at the 26, Roethlisberger finally looked long again, finding James Washington for his biggest play of the season for 47 yards, making the basket catch beyond the coverage, down to the Bengals’ 27. Roethlisberger went over 5000 yards on the throw. Conner found a crease for about 17 down to the 11. JuJu Smith-Schuster got his seventh touchdown of the season on a bubble screen, Roethisberger’s 34th, beating the cornerback in the open field, so the Steelers tie it up, but the Ravens also added a field goal for a 23-14 lead.
The Bengals got one first down on the ensuing drive but were able to get off the field in five total plays, making the stop on third down. The Bengals’ sixth punt reached the 22, where it was fair caught by Switzer.
Conner found the edge but not much room, picking up about eight on first down. Going inside, he picked up three for a new set of downs to close the third quarter. Smith-Schuster almost picked up a 14-yard catch on the first play of the fourth quarter, but he was dragged out of bounds without being able to get a second foot down. Jaylen Samuels was limited to just two yards on an inside screen. Now third and eight, Roethlisberger was able to get the ball to McDonald in space for 22 yards.
In Bengals territory, Conner was lucky to get a yard on first down. A five-yard reception for McDonald made it third and four at the 35. Roethlisberger looked deep to Smith-Schuster against Darqueze Dennard with good coverage, incomplete. Mike Tomlin decided to go for it on fourth and four.
Meanwhile, the Browns added a field goal to make it 23-17 with just under 14 minutes to play. Five wide after a timeout, Roethlisberger swung a pass out to Samuels for six and the conversion, the back stretching out to make the play.
At the 29, Conner was chopped down from behind after a two-yard gain, but Maurkice Pouncey was flagged for a hold instead. Now first and 20, Roethlisberger threw short to Smith-Schuster. He got out of one tackle for about eight yards. On second and 12, Conner was cut down following a short screen for a minimal gain, but an ineligible receiver downfield penalty on Pouncey negated that play. Back to second and 17, a floater to Samuels got eight back to make it third and nine. Switzer slipped on what would have been a conversion, resulting in a 49-yard Matt McCrane field goal, hitting the upright but in, giving the Steelers a 13-10 lead.
And of course now Mixon breaks off a 41-yard run inside of field goal range immediately, at the Steelers’ 15. Bernard was held to three on the next play. A drop by Bernard on second down was followed by a forced incompletion thanks to a hit by Jordan Dangerfield, but Javon Hargrave was ruled offside. Now third and two, Cameron Heyward got his second sack of the day, blowng up Driskel to force the Bengals to attempt a field goal, tying the game at 13-13.
Meanwhile, the Ravens again expanded their lead to two possessions with another field goal, 26-17, with 7:20 to play in that game.
Conner escaped a pair of tacklers on a first-down pass for 20 yards to begin the response drive. Roethlisberger found Washington for a first down but the receiver limped off the field after the play. At the Bengals’ 45, now Heyward-Bey in the game, Conner looked for a hole to the right for just two yards. Roethlisberger got to Rogers on the right but just shy of a first. On third and one, Conner got what he needed.
With under three minutes to go, From the 34, Roethlisberger spun out of a sack but put just an inch too much air on a floater to Jesse James inside the 10. Jessie Bates broke up a pass in front of McDonald to make it third and 10, on the long end of field goal range with a rookie kicker they just signed. Rogers made a tackler miss and fought his way for the 10 yards to keep the drive going.
Conner was stuffed near the line of scrimmage as the Bengals used their second timeout. They called third last ahead of third and five from the 19. On the play, Switzer was tackled after just a two-yard gain at the two-minute warning.
In the meantime, the Browns brought the score in their game to 26-24 with a touchdown from one yard out with 3:24 to play.
The rookie McCrane came onto the field to attempt a 35-yarder in a tie game with two minutes to play. He hit it true, his third out of three in the game, for the go-ahead score. Now the defense must come up with a stop in the final two minutes.
Erickson brought the ensuing kick out to the 35-yard line. With no timeouts and 1:49 to play, down three, Driskel took the field. Following a false start, the backup’s first pass was incomplete looking for John Ross. Sensabaugh forced an incompletion on second down. Terrell Edmunds made the tackle after a 10-yard reception. Now fourth and five, it was Sensabaugh again in coverage on the incomplete pass, giving the Steelers the win with 1:08 to play.