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Domata Peko: 'We struggled in every phase of the game,' 'still in control of AFC North'

Though the Bengals lost to the Steelers, they still control the AFC North, for now at least.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Bengals had the opportunity to put a stranglehold on the AFC North with a win on Sunday, but the Steelers were simply the better team on Sunday.

While many will point to the fourth-quarter fumble that led to the Steelers go-ahead score, Pittsburgh was moving the ball at will offensively throughout the game, and it felt like it was only a matter of time before they took command.

Defensive tackle Domata Peko was part of a defense that allowed Le'Veon Bell to gain 235 yards from scrimmage, including 185 rushing yards. Needless to say, he knows the defense struggled, but he admitted the whole team had its share of struggles:

"We struggled in every phase of the game today — offense, defense, and special teams. It is going to be tough for us to win, but we really need to play better, especially on defense. We must stop the run better.

"We had a nice stretch where we played well on the road the last three games. I thought we held our own in the first half today, but they came out the second half and made some adjustments.

"They ran the ball well today. There were a number of times when we had guys in the gaps, and we didn’t take advantage. We were missing tackles. We must wrap up and grab cloth. I give credit to Le’Veon Bell. He is one of the top runners in the game.

Though the Bengals lost, they still hold a half-game lead in the AFC North, and Peko knows if they handle their business, Cincinnati still controls the division.

We’ll see the Steelers again a couple of weeks, and we are still in control of the AFC North race."