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NFL Week 6 Steelers at Bengals: 4 winners and 5 losers in Pittsburgh’s 28-21 victory

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It was a roller coaster of emotions for both teams, as the Pittsburgh Steelers once again came away victorious at Paul Brown Stadium.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

The dreary weather provided a perfect setting for another AFC North slugfest between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams fought hard and it was a mostly even contest throughout, as evidenced by the last three minutes on the game clock.

Here are the winners and losers in Cincinnati’s heartbreaking 28-21 loss to the Steelers in Week 6.

Winners:

Tyler Boyd: What a day by the Bengals’ No. 2 receiver. In an “irritating mist”, as CBS sideline reporter Evan Washburn put it, Boyd came through on a number of occasions for the Bengals’ offense.

He continued his team lead in touchdown catches with two more against the Steelers. One was completely clutch with under 20 seconds left in the first half. He also made a couple of fantastic diving catches to help out Andy Dalton.

Alex Erickson: On two occasions, Erickson had two gigantic kickoff returns to help the Bengals. His one before halftime put the Bengals into Pittsburgh territory to help get the team to a 14-14 tie at the midway gun.

And, even though the Bengals squandered his second one to open the second half, Erickson did help out as a receiver. He had two catches on the day as well.

Andy Dalton: What else can this guy do? He arguably played his best game against the Steelers in his pro career and led the Bengals to what should have been a last-minute win.

Sure, there were some dry spells in the second and third quarter, but he didn’t turn the ball over and brought them back time and again. Yet, that Pittsburgh kryptonite struck much of the rest of the team.

Oh, and Dalton surpassed Boomer Esiason in the team’s historical passing records in this one with his efficient 229-yard day in the rain.

The fans of both teams: Regardless of the outcome and which side of the fence your fandom resides, this was a fun game to watch. Cincinnati thought they had the win sealed up with a Mixon touchdown run with under a minute and a half, but Ben Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a game-winning touchdown with just 10 seconds left to play.

There were also minimal scuffles, personal fouls and extra garbage by players throughout the game, which was nice to see after so many issues in the past few contests. Sure, it was chippy, but fans of both teams got a high-quality game without a bunch of nonsense.

Good thing we didn’t actually witness this on TV, though:

Losers:

Darqueze Dennard: After getting beat from what looked like a possible interception opportunity by JuJu Smith-Schuster, Dennard ended up leaving the game early. He joined the walking wounded on defense to start the second half with a shoulder injury.

Cody Core: John Ross was sidelined for the second straight game with a groin injury, so another wide receiver had to step up behind Boyd and A.J. Green. Unfortunately, the position group didn’t rise to the occasion.

Dalton had two nice passes to Core and they both fell incomplete due to drops. One was a contested catch, but one was right in the bread-basket on a third-and-long.

Trey Hopkins: On more than one occasion, Javon Hargrave and Co. pushed Hopkins in the backfield right after Joe Mixon received the handoff. This usually happened on second downs after decent gains on first, thus causing difficult third down situations.

He also was part of a group who consistently allowed pressure on the quarterback. Dalton was sacked three times by the Pittsburgh defense.

Vontaze Burfict: He rarely makes the “losers” list, but there were a lot of plays that were not what we’ve been accustomed to from No. 55. on film. He had a dropped interception in the first half, while also getting bullied around a little bit by the likes of David DeCastro and James Conner.

He also took himself out of the contest quite often, appearing winded. Obviously, that makes sense, given the fact that he has only been back with the team for the past two weeks.

Teryl Austin: Hear me out on this one. Holding the vaunted Steelers offense to just 28 points is usually okay, but two major facets were omnipresent on his side of the ball.

In terms of on-field play, there was little to no pressure on Ben Roethlisberger all day. Cincinnati failed to net a sack on him and he made them pay. Needing one final stop on the day, the Bengals couldn’t even get get close to Roethlisberger once again and No. 7 broke their hearts with a touchdown pass to Antonio Brown with barely any time left on the clock.

In terms of things out of Austin’s control, injuries absolutely decimated his unit. During the contest, Austin lost Burfict, Kirkpatrick, Dennard, Shawn Williams, William Jackson, Nick Vigil and others to varying degrees of time.