Steel City Underground

Steelers Bengals Quick Yinzing

Welcome to “Quick Yinzing”, a fast reaction article where a member of the SCU staff gives their initial post-game impressions without digging into any films, stats, or other analysis. It’s as real as that car ride home or sobering down at the bar following the game!

The Pittsburgh Steelers got the ball first offensively due to the Cincinnati Bengals deferring. It took just minutes for things to go off the rails for the Steelers, however. What seemed an overwhelming task - to overcome an injury to Ryan Shazier, down early - the Steelers win back-to-back weeks with a Chris Boswell field goal in the final seconds of the game to go 10-2 on the 2017 NFL regular season.

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First Half

The Steelers went run twice to Le'Veon Bell and a nice pass to Antonio Brown before Ben Roethlisberger lost a ball that fell incomplete near the line of scrimmage. Big Ben then threw an interception on the very next play to Adam Jones. Jones would lose the ball, suffer a groin injury, but Carlos Dunlap would recover.

In the very first Bengals offensive series, Shazier was injured making a play and immediately reached for his lower back before rolling over.  The Twitter-sphere erupted with prayers and well-wishes as the young linebacker was placed onto a backboard and taken to a local Cincinnati hospital. Vince Williams, who was also involved in the play, was emotional on the sideline and captain Cameron Heyward was seen reassuring him. Shazier was replaced in the game by Tyler Matakevich.

The Steelers were able to hold the Bengals to just a field goal but when Pittsburgh went three-and-out, Andy Dalton took advantage of Matakevich being inserted into the lineup and used a heavy dose of rushing by Joe Mixon and passing. A fake handoff behind Alex Erickson gave Dalton room to run and then Coty Sensabaugh got called on an inside move on a flag route by A.J. Green, giving the Bengals the touchdown.

The Steelers showed some spark on both offense and defense. Green would catch another touchdown pass from Dalton before halftime just one play after Artie Burns made a nice vertical leap to bat a ball away. With the score 17-0, it looked as if the Steelers would get shutout in the first half. Fortunately, Bell got a nice run due to patience as his blockers set the path before Roethlisberger was able to target Brown and benefit from a pass interference penalty against Dre Kirkpatrick with just five seconds left on the clock. That set up a Chris Boswell field goal to put the score at 17-3 in favor of Cincinnati.

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Second Half

The Steelers were able to come out for the second half and get things going. The defense got a three-and-out to get the offense back on the field. Roethlisberger marched the team down the field 78 yards in nine plays and threw a quick dump-off to Bell who ran down the left sideline and went virtually untouched straight into the end zone, his feet remaining in-bounds; William Jackson and Jordan Evans making a mental mistake in not forcing Bell out. With the PAT, the Steelers cut the score to 17-10.

The Bengals were able to answer with a Randy Bullock field goal after a 52-yard drive, but on the kickoff that followed a 96-yard kickoff return by Martavis Bryant was negated due to a holding penalty on J.J. Wilcox. Before the field goal, Artie Burns and Fort combined on the tackle of Green, with Burns stripping the ball loose. Upon review, the pass was considered incomplete in what turned out to be a game full of penalty flags on both sides (but the Bengals racked up a franchise record worth).

The Steelers finally tied the game, 20-20, on an 80-yard drive with a pass from Roethlisberger to Brown. Before the play, rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster blocked Vontaze Burfict, hard, resulting in a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and taunting while Bell ran. The Steelers kept their composure as Brown was hit in the helmet while making the touchdown catch by George Iloka.

Similar to last week against the Green Bay Packers, the defense put the offense back on the field with help from a Bud Dupree sack of Dalton and Roethlisberger orchestrated a drive with time clicking off the game clock to set up a game-winning field goal by Boswell. For the second week in a row, Boswell nailed the kick and the Steelers won, 23-20.

Note: Matakevich (shoulder) was replaced by L.J. Fort. There are no updates on Shazier's condition.

 





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