When you need to improve at a position in the NFL, you have several options to strengthen the group as a whole. For the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason they chose free agency as the route to find the players that fit their defensive scheme the best, and they have all been impressive for most of this season.
Especially against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ben Roethlisberger has torn up the AFC North for years, and the Bengals have been on the receiving end of some impressive games their fair share of times. This season and the last matchup of 2020 though the script has been flipped.
In Week 15 of last season, the Steelers traveled to Cincinnati, and this defense (even without all of its new players) shut down Roethlisberger, allowing a mere 170 passing yards, and forcing a 52.6 completion percentage. This game also featured the lowest QBR (11.2) and passer rating (62.4) on the season for the Pittsburgh quarterback.
In their first matchup in September, Big Ben produced his second-lowest rating of the season at 70.9 after throwing two interceptions and being sacked four times. He did throw for 318 yards, but in 58 attempts that only averages out to 5.5 yards per attempt.
Sunday’s game painted the same picture, as the Bengals rolled over the Steelers for the season sweep. Roethlisberger totaled 237 yards on 37 attempts with a 56.8 completion percentage. The Bengals’ defense also produced two interceptions, bringing the total to four for the season against the Steelers. This game also produced his lowest overall rating of the season at 62.5.
The Bengals knew that they had to make some major upgrades on the defensive side of the ball to be competitive in the AFC North, and they are obviously starting to pay off.
Besides, it’s always fun to beat the Steelers and make Big Ben look bad doing it.