The Bengals, desperately trying to avoid an 11-game losing streak, looked at the Steelers’ list of inactives and thought that they might be banged-up enough to steal a win.
However, the Bengals’ couldn’t get out of their own way, and lost yet another close game 16-10.
There was little offense in the first half, as the teams were tied at zero at the end of the first quarter. The Bengals and Steelers traded punts, but the Steelers had the only drive that even threatened to score. They gave Kerrith Whyte Jr. his first carry of his career, which went for 20 yards. The rookie had a great drive, getting the ball three times and gaining 43 yards. He got the Steelers down to the red zone, but Shawn Williams picked off Mason Rudolph to keep the score knotted at zero.
About halfway through the second quarter, Rudolph lobbed the ball to wide receiver Deon Cain, who hauled in his first Steelers’ catch. The Steelers got to the eight-yard line, but Darqueze Dennard batted away the potential touchdown pass. Pittsburgh had to settle for a field goal, and Chris Boswell’s kick was good from 26 yards. The deadlock was finally broken with 3:21 to go until halftime, with the Steelers up 3-0.
The Bengal’s offense was so bad in the first half, they only gained 25 total yards on offense, every single one of them coming on the game’s opening drive. But that changed when Ryan Finley found Tyler Boyd for a 47-yard pass. On the very next play, Finley threw a wobbly pass to Boyd in the corner of the end zone, and Boyd made the adjustment for the score. In two plays, Boyd had 62 receiving yards and a touchdown reception to give the Bengals a 7-3 lead with 1:55 remaining in the half, following Randy Bullock’s extra point.
Offense was difficult to come by in the first half, as only three of the ten drives ended in plus territory.
Finley had little production to speak of outside of the scoring drive to Boyd. Joe Mixon was having a rough day as well. He seemed to have absolutely no room to run.
There was just as little offense in the early second half, so the Steelers brought in Devlin Hodges to play in Rudolph’s spot. The change worked as Hodges found James Washington deep in a busted coverage by the defense. Washington stiff-armed B.W. Webb to stretch the play into a 7-9 yard touchdown. Four plays into Hodges’ day, he already took the lead for the Steelers, now up 10-7 with 11:10 remaining in the third quarter.
This was a whole lotta YIKES from the Bengals' defense on this 79-yard TD by James Washington. pic.twitter.com/2lzAo0iVO1— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) November 24, 2019
Mixon was kept to only 15 yards on seven carries in the first half, but on the following drive, He gained 18 yards on his first three carries. A couple penalties helped he Bengals get into the red zone, but a holding penalty also stalled the Bengals’ progress. Bullock came in and made a 27-yard field goal to tie the game at 10 points apiece with 5:07 to go in the third.
Two pass interference calls on Webb helped Hodges and the Steelers get down the field. The Steelers couldn’t manufacture much offense outside of the Bengals’ 39 penalty yards on the drive. That led to Boswell kicking a 47-yard field goal with 11:59 left in the game to give the Steelers the lead again at 13-10.
While the Bengals only converted one out of 10 third downs on the day, Finely hit Alex Erickson on third-and-10 for a 30-yard gain. Mixon added to the drive with 20 yards on the next two plays. But Cincinnati’s momentum didn’t last as Devin Bush knocked the ball out of Boyd’s hands. Minkah Fitzpatrick recovered the ball and returned it to his own 42-yard line. That instantly halted the Bengals’ progress.
The Bengals had the Steelers in a key third-down conversion, but Pittsburgh gave the ball to Benny Snell Jr. on the outside, which resulted as a 21-yard gain with the cornerback on the outside missing a tackle. That got the ball dangerously close to the Bengals’ end zone. However, Pittsburgh had to settle with a Boswell 26-yard field goal, leaving 3:18 for Finley to try and produce some offense to overcome the 16-10 deficit.
Only two plays into the Bengals’ potential game-winning drive, Bud Dupree strip-sacked Finley and recovered the fumble. The Steelers had the ball on the Bengals’ 20-yard line, while Cincinnati was down six points with no timeouts.
The Bengals’ couldn’t stop the clock, so the Steelers walked away with the 16-10 victory.
The Bengals dropped to 0-11, the worst start to a season in franchise history. This was the worst start to a season since 1993.
The Bengals will be looking for their first win against the Jets in Paul Brown Stadium in Week 13.