Obviously a loss is a loss. There's no reason to sugarcoat it as a moral victory, no matter how many positives you dig for. Yet when the Bengals were down by 14 points in the first quarter, their perseverance resurfaced. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green hauls in an incredible 36-yard touchdown to score a touchdown, reducing Cincinnati's deficit to seven points. The defense scored a turnover while sacking Ben Roethlisberger five times on Sunday, forcing the the Steelers to punt three times in the fourth quarter and allowing no points.
Some will point to this loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, sealing their arguments that Cincinnati's 6-2 start was the result of an easy schedule. But Cincinnati wasn't blown out by a superior team; the Bengals had every opportunity to win the football game. They lost by seven points without A.J. Green or Leon Hall in the second half, without defensive end Carlos Dunlap or cornerback Adam Jones.
We're not excusing a loss; it's clear that the Bengals pass coverage has a lot of work to do. But we're equally not willing to allow people to disregard Cincinnati's six wins this year as some divine intervention giving the Bengals an easy schedule. It's clear after Sunday's 24-17 loss that the Cincinnati Bengals can play against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's clear that this team is good and will continue challenging the better teams in the NFL while beating teams that they're supposed to beat.
The Bengals head to Baltimore at 6-3 this season.