Steelers Win Wild Season Opener 23-20 On Chris Boswell Walk-Off Field Goal

The Pittsburgh Steelers opened the 2022 regular season on the road at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, and despite a stellar defensive performance, the Bengals scored with no time left to tie the game up. After a blocked extra point to send the game to overtime, a crazy overtime period ensued involving missed kicks from both teams. In the end, Chris Boswell’s 53-yard attempt was enough to give the Steelers the 23-20 win.

Pittsburgh opened with the ball and Evan McPherson’s kick to open the season went for a touchback. Pittsburgh went three-and-out on their opening drive, despite three completions by Mitch Trubisky. On third-and-two, Trubisky threw short to WR Diontae Johnson who was ruled short of the line to gain. Mike Tomlin challenged, but the ruling on the field was upheld and Pittsburgh had to punt on their opening drive.

Pressley Harvin III’s first punt of the season traveled 44 yards and Trent Taylor called for a fair catch at the Cincinnati 22. On the first play, Cameron Heyward sacked QB Joe Burrow. On the second play, Burrow was picked off by S Minkah Fitzpatrick who took the interception back for a pick-six. Chris Boswell’s extra point was good, and Pittsburgh’s defense got them the first score of the year. Pittsburgh took a 7-0 lead with 12:43 left to go in the first quarter.

Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon picked up a first down after 11 yards on his first two carries of the game. On 3rd and 7 later in the drive, Burrow was complete to TE Hayden Hurst who fought for nine yards and a first down. On the next play, WR Tee Higgins gained 18 yards down to the Pittsburgh 34. Two plays later on 3rd and 10, Burrow was sacked by OLB Alex Highsmith to force Cincinnati to make a long field goal. Evan McPherson nailed a 59-yard try and put the Bengals on the board, but Pittsburgh still led 7-3 with 7:17 left in the first quarter.

On 3rd and 5 on Pittsburgh’s next drive, the Steelers went deep but Trubisky’s throw was just too far ahead of WR Miles Boykin down the left sideline. Pittsburgh punted, and Harvin III’s punt went 41 yards and was returned for a gain of six. Cincinnati’s next drive would start at their own 35.

The Steelers defense had a chance to get off the field on 3rd and 5, and it looked as though Cameron Sutton picked off WR Tee Higgins but Sutton was flagged for defensive pass interference and the Bengals got a new set of downs. On the next play, Highsmith got to Burrow and hit his arm as he threw. It was ruled a fumble that was recovered by DL Cam Heyward, and the Steelers took over at the Cincinnati 34. On the first play of their drive, Pittsburgh ran a trick play that involved WR Gunner Olszewski pitching the ball back to Mitch Trubisky and Trubisky hit TE Pat Freiermuth for 31 yards down to the Cincinnati 3. Back-to-back runs by RB Najee Harris went nowhere, and on third-and-goal, Trubisky’s pass was incomplete to Freiermuth in the endzone. Boswell nailed a 20-yard field goal and the Steelers took a 10-3 lead with 2:25 left in the first quarter.

After a 12-yard gain by JaMarr Chase to open the Bengals’ drive, the Steelers forced Cincinnati into a 3rd and 2. Burrow was complete to Chase for a gain of ten and a first down. The next play was the last of the first quarter and would be a five-yard gain by RB Joe Mixon. After an aborted play, Burrow scrambled for a first down on 3rd and 5. On the next play, T.J. Watt burst into the backfield and blew up a run play and Mixon lost five yards to make it 2nd and 15. The next play, Watt picked off a Burrow throw to force Cincinnati’s third turnover of the game. Watt’s interception would start the Steelers at their own 41.

Pittsburgh’s offense got cooking immediately, with a short run by RB Jaylen Warren followed by a 16-yard run by WR Chase Claypool. TE Zach Gentry got in on the action, taking a screen pass 32 yards to the Cincinnati 9. On 3rd and Goal later in the drive, Trubisky threw it up to WR George Pickens who drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone. Pittsburgh had a first down from the one-yard line. A sweep to Claypool went nowhere, but on the next play, the Steelers got their first offensive touchdown on the season with a Trubisky pass to RB Najee Harris. Boswell made the extra point, and the Steelers went up 17-3 with under nine minutes to go in the first half.

A completion to WR Tee Higgins went for a first down on the second play of the drive, but Higgins left the game after a hit by LB Devin Bush and S Terrell Edmunds. A few plays later, Burrow found Chase wide open in Steelers territory for a gain of 15. The next play, Burrow threw his third pick of the game to CB Cameron Sutton. An unnecessary roughness call by S Minkah Fitzpatrick hurt the Steelers’ field position, but the fourth takeaway of the game kept Pittsburgh up 17-3 with under six minutes left in the first half.

Pittsburgh faced a 3rd and 8 inside their own 10, and Trubisky’s scramble gained just four yards. Another three-and-out sent Pressley Harvin III out for his third punt of the game. He boomed one 57 yards, returned for a gain of seven before Taylor was hit and brought down by RB Benny Snell Jr. On the first play of the Bengals drive, Chase gained 21 yards and the Bengals were quickly back in Steelers territory.

On 3rd and 6 from the Pittsburgh 40, Burrow was complete to WR Mike Thomas but it was short of the marker. The Bengals stayed out on the field for 4th and 1, and Joe Mixon found a hole and broke off a 31-yard run to the Pittsburgh 4. On 2nd and Goal, G Cordell Volson was flagged for a false start. On 3rd and Goal, JaMarr Chase dropped a would-be touchdown after a nice pass breakup by CB Levi Wallace. Cincinnati had to settle for a McPherson field goal, and his 26-yard try was successful. With 14 seconds left in the first half, the Steelers held a 17-6 lead. Pittsburgh knelt out the rest of the clock and went into the halftime break leading 17-6.

Cincinnati had the ball to start the second half and went three-and-out. P Kevin Huber pinned the Steelers inside their 10 at their own 9 after a 58-yard punt by the veteran. Pittsburgh picked up a first down on a 3rd and 2 completion to Claypool, but on the next play Harris lost four plays when the blocking broke down. Pittsburgh couldn’t recover, as on 3rd and 14 Trubisky missed Pickens downfield and the Steelers had to punt. The Bengals started in Pittsburgh territory after a 40 yard punt by Harvin III was returned for a gain of 10.

Cincinnati picked up a first down on the first play of the drive, and acing 3rd and 5 a few plays later, Burrow connected with WR Tyler Boyd for a first down to the Pittsburgh 24. The next play, Watt came through yet again and sacked Burrow. It was the Steelers’ fifth sack of the day. Burrow responded and hit Chase on the next play, and he got inside the Pittsburgh 5 to set up a 1st and Goal. On third down, Burrow found Boyd in the end zone to make it 17-12. The Cincinnati offense stayed on the field to go for two, and they were able to convert as Burrow floated a pass to Thomas for the conversion. With 4:41 left in the second half, the Steelers were hanging on to a 17-14 lead.

On third down on the Steelers next drive, Trubisky kept the drive alive with a six-yard scramble for a first down. On 3rd and 6 later in the drive, Trubisky looked to pick up a first down but OT Dan Moore Jr. was flagged for holding and Pittsburgh faced a 3rd and 16. The Steelers were unable to convert, and Harvin came out for yet another punt. It was a good one though, travelling 53 yards and pinning Cincinnati at their own 9.

The Steelers defense forced a three-and-out, and the Bengals punted from deep in their own territory. A 20-yard return by Olszewski gave the Steelers prime field position inside Cincinnati territory at their 45.

After a first down, Trubisky threw three straight incompletions, with the third coming off a bad snap after Mason Cole left the game with injury. Chris Boswell came out to attempt a 48-yard field goal try, and he hit it to put Pittsburgh up 20-14 with 11:13 left to play.

Cincinnati picked up a first down on their second play of the drive, and on a free play later in the drive Burrow and Boyd hooked up for a 22-yard gain to get them into Steelers territory. On 3rd and 6, the Steelers forced an incompletion and the Bengals’ offense stayed out on the field for 4th and 6. The pass was intercepted by CB Ahkello Witherspoon, and the Steelers 5th turnover of the day gave them the ball back with a six-point lead and 8:16 to go.

After a first down by Najee Harris, Pittsburgh was facing a 3rd and 4, but Trubisky’s pass was incomplete and with 6:13 left, the Steelers had to punt. Harvin’s punt was a touchback, but a hold against the Steelers gave the Bengals an extra ten yards as they started on their own 30.

On first down, Burrow threw short to Mixon and he turned it into an 18-yard gain. Burrow scrambled for a 23-yard gain on the next play, and the Bengals were in business. After a drop by Chase and a run for a loss, the Bengals were looking at 3rd and 11, and Burrow was seemingly sacked by Watt and Heyward, but a defensive holding against CB Cam Sutton gave the Bengals five yards and a first down.

On second down, Chase picked up 12 yards and a first down. Two plays later, Chase got a completion down to the goal line and the Bengals had 1st and Goal. Cincinnati lost yards on first down, and after an incompletion and short gain on second and third down, they faced 4th and Goal with a chance to take the lead. With 1:56 on the clock, the Bengals ran their fourth down play, and Burrow’s pass was incomplete. A goal-line stand helped the Steelers hold on to a 20-14 lead. JaMarr Chase was flagged for taunting after the play, so a potentially precarious field position situation for Pittsburgh became a lot less so with an extra 15 yards tacked on.

Pittsburgh couldn’t capitalize, going three-and-out and losing time due to an injury timeout when Harris went down and an incompletion. Cincinnati got the ball back and went to work.

On 3rd and 1 from the Pittsburgh 31, Burrow hit Chase over the middle and the Bengals had 1st and 10 at the Pittsburgh 17. Burrow found Chase in the end zone, and it appeared to be a touchdown but Chase was out of bounds. T.J. Watt was called for hands to the face and left the game with an injury with 16 seconds left. After an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Minkah Fitzpatrick later in the drive, the Bengals got improved field position, and after a few incompletions, Burrow threw for a touchdown to Chase with two seconds left. On the extra point, Fitzpatrick blocked it and the game remained tied up at 20-20 with no time left.

The Steelers won the overtime coin toss and started the overtime period with the ball.

After a short gain by RB Jaylen Warren and a reception by TE Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh was facing a 3rd and 3. His pass downfield to WR Chase Claypool was incomplete and Pittsburgh had to punt. Harvin’s punt was 48 yards, and and Taylor returned it five yards to the Cincinnati 25.

The Bengals gained 12 yards on first down on a questionable defensive pass interference call against Ahkello Witherspoon. A 14-yard reception by RB Samaje Perine, a 10-yard gain by TE Hayden Hurst and a seven-yard run by Mixon put the Bengals in FG range. On 3rd and 3, Burrow threw downfield and Hurst made a toe-tap catch along the sideline for a gain of 20 to the Pittsburgh 13. A few plays later didn’t really move the ball, and on 3rd and 8, McPherson came out for the game-winning 29 yard field goal and missed it.

On Pittsburgh’s first play, they went deep down the sideline to WR Diontae Johnson. After it was initially ruled incomplete, on review they ruled it a catch and Johnson gained 25 yards and a first down. On first down, the Steelers gained 12 yards on a reverse to Claypool, helped out by a great block from RB Jaylen Warren. Pittsburgh didn’t pick up another first down, and Chris Boswell came out to attempt a game-winning 55-yard try. The attempt doinked off the post, and the Bengals got the ball back at their own 45.

On first down, Burrow spun out of a sack and scrambled for 9 yards and picked up a first down on a second down scramble. Later, on third down, Burrow was sacked by Arthur Maulet and fumbled, and the Bengals had to punt back to Pittsburgh. Huber’s punt went in the end zone for a touchback.

With 56 seconds left, the Steelers would have one final opportunity to win the game. On 3rd and 1, Pittsburgh had a free play and Trubisky found Freiermuth for a 26-yard gain. Two plays later, a 10-yard gain by Freiermuth gave Pittsburgh the ball at the Cincinnati 35. With five seconds left, Chris Boswell came out to try and win the game for a second time, this time from 53 yards out. His kick was good, and the Steelers somehow, someway beat the Bengals 23-20.

The win moves Pittsburgh to 1-0. They will head home to Pittsburgh next week to take on the New England Patriots, who lost to the Miami Dolphins today.

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