The Cincinnati Bengals secured another division win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, taking them down 41-10. The Bengals swept the Steelers for the first time since 2009, and have won three straight against them since 1990.
Not only was it a win, but it was a complete domination in all phases.
Joe Mixon led the way on the ground, completing his best game of the season so far. He had 27 rushes for a career-high 165 yards, which by far surpassed his previous season high that he set in Week 1. Mixon also had two short rushing touchdowns after getting only one in his first seven games against the Steelers in his career.
While Mixon had 165 rushing yards, the Bengals kept the Steelers to only 141 total yards against the Bengals’ first-string defense.
Mixon got involved early, getting the ball on each of the first six plays and accounting for all 45 of the Bengals’ yards of offense. But Burrow took the ball himself into the end zone first, scrambling up the left and making Minkah Fitzpatrick miss. After Burrow’s eight-yard touchdown, Evan McPherson made the extra point, and the Bengals had a 7-0 lead after only possession, with 9:29 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bengals didn’t have to wait long to get the ball back, and regained possession after an Eli Apple interception. Apple returned the ball to the five-yard line, but Burrow took a sack on third down to force a field goal. Having McPherson kick a 31-yard try was only a formality, and the Bengals extended their lead to 10-0 with 6:01 to go in the first quarter.
The Steelers responded by going right back to Apple, and Ben Roethlisberger completed a 42-yard bomb to Chase Claypool. This got them in field goal range, but Apple deflected a pass in the end zone to Claypool to bring up a fourth down. Chris Boswell hit the 40-yard field goal, and the Steelers got on the board 10-3 with 2:17 remaining in the quarter.
Burrow went more pass-heavy in the next Bengals’ drive, completing all five of his passes for 69 yards. His best pass of the day was a 32-yard bomb to Tee Higgins. In the end zone, Higgins climbed the ladder and snagged the ball over the top of the defender in the end zone for the score. With 14:15 to go in the second quarter, the Bengals had a 17-3 lead over the Steelers after the extra point.
Burrow actually threw an incompletion on the next drive, but got help from Mixon moving the ball down the field. The running back reached the 100-yard mark in only the second quarter, making this his second straight 100-yard game. He finished the drive by pounding the ball in from the one-yard line with 2:43 to go until halftime. The extra point was good, and the Bengals took a 24-3 lead.
The Steelers had the ball with less than a minute left, but Mike Hilton, the former Steeler, picked off Roethlisberger and returned the ball for a touchdown. It was a 21-yard return for No. 21, and the Bengals had a 31-3 lead with only 30 second left until halftime.
In the first half, Mixon had 117 rushing yards, 5.9 per carry, which was higher than his total from eight of his eleven games this season. It was also his career high for a first half.
Burrow also had an electric half, with only two incompletions, a passing touchdown, and a rushing touchdown. He had more yards in the first half than he had all game in the Bengals’ win against the Raiders. Of Burrow’s 154 yards in the first half, Higgins had 95 of them along. with the receiving touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Bengals’ defense looked like they did in the first matchup between these two teams. Roethlisberger completed less than half his passes and threw two picks, while the running backs only rushed for three yards a carry on the ground.
The third quarter was more boring than the first two, with the Bengals playing safe on offense and taking away the big plays on defense. Towards the end of the quarter, McPherson added yet another field goal of 50-plus yards to his resume. After the 51-yard kick, the Bengals had a 34-3 lead over the Steelers with 2:35 remaining in the third quarter.
Mixon waited until late in the third to get his longest run of the game, adding a 32-yard run to his amazing day. That set up a 19-yard pass to Higgins, which in turn set up a one-yard rushing touchdown to Mixon. With the extra point, the Bengals had a 41-3 lead with 13:10 left in the game.
The Steelers finally got into an offensive rhythm after the Bengals pulled their starters. Late in the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger connected with Pat Freiermuth for a 15-yard touchdown pass. With 2:59 to go in the game, the Bengals still held a 41-10 lead.
From there, both teams were content to let the clock bleed out. The Bengals took the decisive 41-10 win against the Steelers in Paul Brown Stadium.
The Bengals improved to 7-4 on the season, and now have more wins this year than Zac Taylor had in his first two years combined. A Browns victory against the Ravens on Sunday night would launch the Bengals to first place in the AFC North.
The Steelers dropped to 5-5-1, which would place them at the bottom of the division.
The Bengals’ next game will be at home against the Chargers at 1:00 pm EST. Though the two played last year, this would be the first game featuring both Burrow and Justin Herbert.