Outside of the 2019 season which was lost due to an elbow injury six quarters into the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals will square off for another chapter in the heated rivalry, this time without future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Riding off into retirement after 18 seasons, Roethlisberger left town with a career 24-10 mark against the Bengals in 34 starts over 18 seasons, completing 735-of-1,170 attempts for 8,394 yards, 47 touchdowns and 34 interceptions — all career-highs against one single opponent.
Though the Bengals won three straight matchups to close the chapter against Roethlisberger, Cincinnati is still probably thankful internally that the Hall of Famer is off into the next edition of his life’s work. Despite some of the changes on the roster, including Roethlisberger, and some overhaul in the front office following the retirement of Kevin Colbert, the Bengals aren’t going to take any chance in overlooking the Steelers, at least according to Pittsburgh area native and NFL veteran wide receiver Tyler Boyd.
Speaking with reporters Tuesday for Bengals.com, Boyd stated that the Steelers still have great players even without the Hall of Fame talent gone, and that the Bengals won’t be overlooking not only the Steelers, but any opponent, based on who isn’t there now.
“You look at Ben, he’s a Hall-of-Famer. Whenever you’re going against any Hall of Fame quarterback, you have to be dailed in,” Boyd said, according to Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson. “You have to take advantage of every drive because of what he can do on offense. They still have great players.
“They’ve got the young kid. Kenny Pickett. I like him. I think they’ll be ready. We’re not going to overlook any team because of any guy not there now.”
Of course the Bengals won’t be overlooking the Steelers. They’d be foolish to, even with the recent success in the rivalry matchup, winning the last three games by scores of 27-17, 24-10 and 41-10. Right now, the Bengals own the Steelers. That may be tough to read for some, but it’s true.
Maybe that changes with some of the upgrades the Steelers made to the roster this season, especially under center with starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky being a much better fit for second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s system. Does that mean he’ll be better than Roethlisberger was last season? Who knows, but he’ll add another dimension to the offense with his ability to scramble and create plays with his legs, something teams didn’t have to worry about the final few years of Roethlisberger’s career.
Boyd famously stated the Steelers quit last season in the Week 3 matchup at then-Heinz Field. Then, the Steelers essentially rolled over later in the year in the 41-10 loss. It’s a new team now, a new direction and a lot of fresh new faces. The Bengals would be wise to not overlook them even with all the change and uncertainty.