The Cincinnati Bengals started well but then collapsed in the second half, losing the game... and self-respect.
Apparently the Cincinnati Bengals had a gameplan. And that gameplan called for a hint of nasty with a delayed twist of ineffectiveness. We're not talking about the result of said attempted production -- like against the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins. No. This is the one where the Bengals wanted to bring the nasty to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's Sunday Night Football, against a rival that's beaten them during four straight games.
That's not the Cincinnati Bengals. Not this year. A mistake-plagued team, often faced with imminent self-destruction leaving a wake of postgame comments with cliched "we'll get better" that's both disbelieving and tired.
For a moment the "nasty" worked, mixed with aggressive fourth down conversions and a pounding philosophy hoping to generate an ineffective rushing offense. Instead the resulting decay of eventuality was led by a failed Cincinnati Bengals third down defense and the insane embarrassment when asked if anyone could supplement a suffocating coverage scheme on A.J. Green. Jermaine Gresham, where are you? Andrew Hawkins, what happened? Ryan Whalen, you had a couple of nice grabs, but where was that fourth quarter reception that you bobbled?
Really? The supposed "gameplan" called for Whalen being the team's leading receiver? Gresham and Hawkins. You failed during Sunday Night Football to assist in your troubled teammates attempts to push the football with any sustained effort.
Despite generating two turnovers in the first half, one of which directly resulted into an eight-yard touchdown reception to A.J. Green, Cincinnati's inability to generate a pass rush against Ben Roethlisberger allowed Pittsburgh to generate four first-half possessions that generated 12 combined first downs with scores on three of five possessions. The others being a Roethlisberger fumble and an interception in the endzone.
An exchange of field goals summarized the third quarter and a depression of awful finalized Cincinnati's 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Cincinnati Bengals take the week off for a Bye before hosting the Denver Broncos on November 4.