They’ve beaten them just twice.
You can pin the blame regarding their latest 28-21 loss on injuries the defense suffered, or a missed penalty on the Steelers final play of the game. But every team suffers injuries, and since when do the Bengals get favorable calls against their biggest rival?
Those ultimately factored into the final score, but as defensive end Carlos Dunlap wisely put it after the game, they weren’t the biggest reasons why the Steelers once again beat them on their home turf.
“Insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results,” Proclaimed Dunlap. “We made some mistakes that we made before. We’ve got to learn from them. Once again.”
In Dunlap’s career, he’s witnessed just one home victory against Pittsburgh back in his fourth season in 2013. He’s been a part of nine losses at home at the hands of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The loss his team suffered Sunday was very similar to the several that have come before.
Dunlap and the rest of the Bengals pass rush was grossly ineffective at pressuring Roethlisberger, whom Dunlap joked about earlier in the week. While the Steelers offensive line handled their business, the Bengals offense gave up numerous pressures and allowed a handful of drive-killing sacks on quarterback Andy Dalton.
In a similar fashion, the Steelers ended up with over 100 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns from running back James Conner, while the Bengals rushing game was non-existent for most of the second half.
Both teams diverged in separate phases of the game and even though the Bengals clawed their way back to a one-point lead with just over a minute left to play, the Steelers controlled the game, like they always do against the Bengals. Dunlap has seen this movie before, and he knows the refs and injuries aren’t the primary culprits.
The definition of insanity is the definition of the Bengals in this kind of scenario. A defining win before a crucial showdown on the road against the AFC-leading Kansas City Chiefs in primetime would’ve been huge for the Bengals. Instead, they’re left hanging their heads after fighting tooth and nail with their arch nemesis.
After the game, players on both teams got into a fight on the field, a result of the frustrating loss the Bengals suffered. Frustration is good if it can be applied towards progress. But if this game showed anything, it’s that the Bengals haven’t made enough progress to warrant taking them seriously when the season is on the line.
When will progress show? When the Bengals prove they’ve overcome the perpetual trap of insanity that they currently reside in.