The Bengals were missing a lot of bodies on both offense and defense. Combine that with a special teams that made a lot of mistakes, and you have all the ingredients for a blowout.
Ben Roethlisberger figured out pretty quickly that the Bengals’ banged-up secondary couldn’t cover downfield, so he aired the ball out the whole game. Big Ben threw the ball a whopping 46 times for 333 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bengals forced the Steelers to punt on their first possession, but Alex Erickson fumbled on the return and gave the ball right back. They didn’t get a first down, but were in field goal range. Chris Boswell made the 41-yard kick in spite of the heavy wind, and the Steelers took an early 3-0 lead with 11:23 to go in the first quarter.
Boswell later added a 30-yard field goal to put the Steelers up 6-0 with 4:50 remaining in the first. The Bengals got the ball and failed to convert a third-and-long for the third straight drive. The Bengals punted for the third time, still being held without a first down.
Roethlisberger found a way to pass in the windy conditions, and found Chase Claypool for 46 yards. He then threw two straight passes to Diontae Johnson for a 16-yard pass and a 12-yard touchdown. After only three plays, the Steelers scored a touchdown with 1:51 left in the quarter. The two-point conversion failed, but the Steelers were up 13-0.
The Bengals figured something out, and Burrow hit Tee Higgins for 54 yards on their first possession of the second quarter. The Bengals got to the goal line, and connected with Higgins again for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line. The extra point was good, and suddenly the Bengals were only behind by five points, trailing 12-7 with 10:37 to go in the second quarter.
The Bengals helped the Steelers with some penalties on the next possession, and the Steelers got the ball on the Bengals’ five-yard line. Roethlisberger escaped the pressure and he found JuJu Smith-Schuster for the short touchdown pass. With 7:23 remaining in the half, the Steelers extended their lead to 19-9 after the extra point.
The Bengals were down to their fourth and fifth cornerbacks on the depth chart, and the Steelers kept picking on them. Just before halftime, Roethlisberger passed for 62 yards. The Bengals forced a field goal with 1:48 to go in the half, and the Steelers led 22-7. That would be the score at halftime.
It was clear that replacement cornerbacks Tony Brown and Jalen Davis were having a rough day. In the first half, the Steelers passed 27 times for 243 yards and two touchdowns. In contrast, they only rushed nine times for 16 yards.
Both offenses struggled in the second half, but the Steelers were the first to get going. Roethlisberger continued his pass-heavy offense, and found Claypool for an 11-yard touchdown with 4:22 to go in the third quarter. After the extra point, the Steelers were up 29-7.
In the fourth quarter, the Steelers got great field position from a punt return by Ray-Ray McCloud. The Steelers only needed 15 yards, and Roethlisberger connected with Claypool again for a 5-yard score. With 10:31 remaining in the game, the Steelers were off to an imposing lead, up 36-7.
The Bengals offense couldn’t find anything against the Steelers’ defense. Shawn Williams ran for 39 yards off a fake punt, but that bought the Bengals enough yards to kick a field goal instead of punt. Burrow took two sacks on the next three plays, and Randy Bullock came out for a 37-yard attempt. The Bengals cut the lead to 36-10 with 5:05 to go in the game.
The score would hold, and the Bengals lost yet another game to their division rivals.
The Bengals fell to 2-6-1, and 0-4 in the AFC North. They will travel for the second straight week and face the Washington Football Team for Week 11.