The Steelers trail 7-3 entering the second half, thanks to two failed drives into the red zone, netting just a 26-yard field goal. The first drive ended in a red zone interception. The Bengals have had exactly one good drive, but they made it count, thanks to Tyler Boyd, who came up with back to back catches, first over Terrell Edmunds for 47 yards and then beating Joe Haden in the end zone for 15 and the score.
Pittsburgh does open the half with the ball. They have been able to run well at times, including Kerrith Whyte.
Mason Rudolph took an ugly sack for a loss of 13 to start the game. He holds on to the ball so long. Just ugly. Benny Snell was able to pick up about 10 yards to make it third and 13. His third-down pass was at the feet of Diontae Johnson. Not good.
Mike Hilton got the run stop on first down after a punt, Ryan Finley’s pass off the mark a play later. On third and nine, the same story as the last.
The Steelers benched Rudolph after that bad opening drive, going to Devlin Hodges. His first pass went to Jaylen Samuels for a first down. Snell for three. On second and seven, James Washington was flagged for offensive pass interference. Now second and 17, Hodges found Washington open down the field over the middle, turning up the left sideline and stiff-arming B.W. Webb, racing into the end zone for the 71-yard touchdown. Suddenly the Steelers lead 10-7.
Joe Mixon put together a couple of back to back good runs to get near midfield. Terrell Edmunds made the tackle on Mixon after four. Edmunds fell trying to pursue Boyd, allowing him to pick up the first down. Another gain of five by Mixon brings them to the 35. Joe Haden was flagged for pass interference down the right sideline.
Now at the 20, Mark Barron made a great read to make a tackle for loss, but an illegal hands to the face penalty on Bush wiped it out. Meanwhile, T.J. Watt is down on the ground. At the 15, Mixon picked up three. Another three-yard pickup was negated by a hold on the Bengals. Finley had plenty of time but couldn’t find a receiver, incomplete, as Watt re-enters the field for third and 17. Alex Erickson caught it over the middle, but was stopped several yards shy of the first down. Randy Bullock’s field goal from 27 yards out made it 10-10.
Alejandro Villanueva got nicked in the head after missing a cut block on a one-yard play. Snell was stopped for one yard to set up a quick third and eight. he was forced to throw the ball away.
Starting at the 40, Mixon was held to two yards. Auden Tate couldn’t stay inbounds on second down. Haden got burned on a double move, but Finley doesn’t connect to Erickson at the right sideline.
Johnson made a nice snag on a hot pass away from his body for a first down. A screen pass was batted on the next play. Snell picked up two yards on second down. Hodges scrambled, but was stopped two yards shy of the first down, resulting the Steelers’ fifth three-and-out of the game.
The defense responded with a three-and-out of their own, with two incomplete passes on first and third.
Jaylen Samuels picked up two yards up the middle following the punt. Hodges was incomplete to Washington on second down. On third and eight, he couldn’t get the ball to Washington, but defensive pass interference was called.
Webb was flagged again on the next play on a deep pass down the right sideline for Deon Cain. Kerrith Whyte was held to just one. Hodges scrambled back to the line of scrimmage. Now third and long, after a neutral zone infraction, Hodges’s sidearm pass was off the mark, incomplete. So Chris Boswell comes on to attempt a 47-yard field goal, good, grabbing the lead.
Cameron Heyward bottled up Mixon for no gain on the Bengals’ next play. Hilton got the pass defense on what would have been a first down. Now third and 10, however, it was Hilton who blew the coverage and then didn’t close on the tackle for a 35-yarder.
At midfield, after a false start on Bobby Hart, Mixon ripped off 11 but took a big hit by Heyward from behind. Watt couldn’t complete a big tackle for loss and Mixon escaped for a first down instead.
At the 30, Finley dropped the ball over Devin Bush’s head to Boyd, but the rookie was able to forced the ball out. Minkah Fitzpatrick was able to scoop the ball up, remaining inbounds, for the turnover, a very timely one indeed.
After the 38-yard return, Snell picked up nine yards on the next play. On second and one, he converted. Now across midfield, Carlos Dunlap got the better of Villanueva and sacked Hodges from the blindside. Now second and 20, Hodges was forced to throw the ball away. After a screen to Washington for 13, they had to punt on fourth and seven. Jordan Berry’s punt was downed inside the 10.
From the seven, Hilton closed on the short pass to force an incompletion. Haden almost had an interception down the right sideline. On third and 10, he had another shot at a pick, but still made the play. Good field position, inside the 40 after the punt.
Snell picked up three yards on first down, then six to make it third and short. Snell broke off to the left side and made a tackler miss for 21 yards. At the 13, the ball still in Snell’s hands, he gets two up the middle. Following a three yarder. Hodges threw the ball incomplete, out of the back of the end zone. Chris Boswell from 26 made it 16-10 with 3:18.
The Bengals only got the ball out to the 21 on the kick return. A pass to Giovani Bernard got eight over the middle. Bud Dupree just ended the game with a strip sack, recovering the ball by himself. After a four-yard carry by Snell to get it down to the two-minute warning, he ended it with a first down.