We saw a little bit of everything from the Cincinnati Bengals’ latest victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s not often these teams combine to score north of 60 points when facing each other, but one offense managed to prevail while the other fell back down to earth in crunch time.
Cincinnati’s defense regained its confidence in the second half thanks to key players returning from injury, as seen from this week’s snap counts.
Before the Bengals’ late push to go up two touchdowns, this game was pretty damn close in most areas, including snaps. The Steelers ended up with 73 snaps to the Bengals’ 66 as the home team got the edge with their final touchdown drive in garbage time. Two of the Bengals’ touchdown drives covered over 90 yards that took a combined 18 plays.
The unlikely stars of the game became Samaje Perine and Trenton Irwin, who both played 46 snaps. Perine had his number called early in pass protection and catching touchdowns out of the backfield, and Joe Mixon’s concussion ended up keeping Perine out on the field for most of the game. He became the first Bengals running back to haul in three receiving scores.
Irwin only had one touchdown to Perine’s trio, but it was the first of his career. The veteran receiver is renowned as one of the most dedicated workers on the team. His moment was well-earned, and also a true indication of what this receiving corps has become since Ja’Marr Chase’s injury. Irwin played the third-most snaps at the position despite being a practice squad elevation instead of an active roster member. The Bengals can no longer elevate Irwin off the practice squad. He’ll have to get signed on to play again.
Returning to normalcy
DJ Reader (44) wasn’t held back in his first game from injury as he played his normal workload. Trey Hendrickson (51) ended up missing a few plays after an injury scare, but he finished the day with key pressures on Kenny Pickett. Cam Sample (32) played the most for Hendrickson during his slight absence.
Like Reader, Mike Hilton (63) experienced his regular usage in his first game back as well. The secondary as a whole played a full game together with starters Eli Apple, Cam Taylor-Britt, Jessie Bates III, and Vonn Bell never leaving the field.
Efficiency at its finest
It’s standard for Germaine Pratt (47) to be subbed out of the game for most passing downs and not end up with as many snaps as Logan Wilson (73), but the fourth-year linebacker answered the bell against the run. Pratt had five stops on 23 snaps against the Steelers’ ground attack. Pro Football Focus graded him at 91.2 against the run.
Bengals’ snap counts at Steelers
|Stanley Morgan Jr.||WR||8||12%|
|Jessie Bates III||S||73||100%|