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Week 8 Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers: Revisiting recent matchups

A look at the recent history between the Cincinnati Bengals and their Week 8 opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers

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The Pittsburgh Steelers hold the distinction of being the team who the Bengals have the most total games played against in franchise history. The two teams have met 89 times, with the Steelers holding a 55-34 overall lead.

Early on, the newly formed Bengals lost regularly in the rivalry. From 1970 thru 1979 the Bengals were only 6-14 against the Steelers, which included a six game losing streak.

Fortunately the decade of the 80’s were much better for the Bengals, who went 15-6 against the Steelers in that decade. The Bengals' success in the 80s brought their overall record to 21-20 against the Steelers. It was the last time the Bengals held an edge in the series.

Unfortunately Akili Smith happened, and David Klinger happened, and a host of other bad quarterbacks happened. And that was joined by a long run of horrid drafts. The result was that from 1991 thru 1997 the Bengals went a dismal 2-12 against the Steelers.

Near the end of the century, the Bengals began to right the ship, and from 1998 up through 2006 the Bengals managed to hold a 7-12 record against them. While not a winning record, it was a vast improvement from the early and mid-1990’s.

Since the beginning of the 2007 season, the Bengals have an overall record of 71-61-2. Despite playing well against the rest of the league, they have struggled against Pittsburgh. Since 2007 the Bengals are only 4-12 against the Steelers, and have lost seven of the last nine games. Currently, the Steelers are riding a streak of three straight victories against the Bengals .

The Bengals were swept in the season series against the Steelers in 2014, with a quirky schedule placing both games in December.

In their first matchup last year, the Bengals held a 14-10 halftime lead, and a 21-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter. But that’s when things got out of hand. Shaun Suisham hit a 22 yard field goal to pull the Steelers within 21-20. That was followed by a pair of Le’Veon Bell touchdown rushes and a 94-yard Martavis Bryant touchdown pass, which gave the visiting Steelers a dominant 42-21 victory.

Only a few weeks later, the Bengals travelled to Pittsburgh for a rematch. The teams were tied up at 10-10 before Bryant struck again, with a 21 yard touchdown reception from Ben Roethlisberger, giving the Steelers a 17-10 lead. Suisham chipped in a field goal just before half to give them a 20-10 lead at halftime. The Bengals cut the lead to 20-17 in the fourth quarter on a Jermaine Gresham touchdown reception, but gave up a second 60+ yard touchdown to Antonio Brown for a 27-17 Pittsburgh victory.

Those two losses dropped the Bengals to 10-5-1, while elevating the Steelers to 11-5, giving them the AFC North title.

On paper, a 4-3 Steelers team might look like an underdog to a 6-0 Bengals team, but this is a game where records can be dismissed. Even though the Steelers have lost to lowly 1-5 Baltimore, and 2-5 Kansas City, the Steelers have played their last four games without Ben Roethlisberger (who will likely return to face the Bengals), had to play a pair of games without Bell, four games without Bryant, and have had their best offensive lineman on IR for the first part of the season. And let’s not forget they are on their fourth kicker this year.