With 8:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Pittsburgh Steelers have first down from their own six-yard line. Cincinnati was only down by a touchdown and Kevin Huber masterfully dropped a punt at the six-yard line. The field was flipped and momentum was being recovered after The Fumble. Right? Character. Perseverance. Resolved. Pride. None of that was on display. In fact, everything opposite of those positive football-based character traits showed up in the fourth quarter Sunday.
Pittsburgh sealed Sunday's win on an unexpected touchdown pass; one that spanned 94 yards and hammed the proverbial nails into Cincinnati's coffin.
Pittsburgh showed single-back formation with Le'Veon Bell in the backfield and receivers Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown playing wide left. Bryant motioned with Leon Hall trailing.
Cincinnati suffocates both tight ends using their outside linebackers. George Iloka bounces away from the line of scrimmage to play center field while Reggie Nelson closes in at the line of scrimmage.
All of this movement and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wasn't convinced.
"They showed a coverage and I didn't believe them," Roethlisberger said of the Bengals' defense. The Bengals appeared to be playing man coverage and without a pass rush (crickets), Cincinnati's defense was exposed for a big play.
After faking the handoff and drawing Cincinnati's defense, Roethlisberger launches down the right sidelines. "We did a little play-action and just let it fly," said Roethlisberger. "I've underthrown him in practice because when he gets running, he's fast. I just put it out there, let him run under it, and he did the rest."
Bryant, with a good 4-5 yards worth of separation, caught the football just shy of the 50-yard line and scored the 94-yard touchdown... the longest touchdown of the season in the NFL.
"Yeah, (I was playing) center field," said Iloka. "I was hauling ass and he was too. I was trying to make up 20 yards in a limited space."
And of course, the Bengals do sh*t like this in response...