What a win! The Bengals’ third-straight win over the Steelers is the first time they’ve achieved that feat in 31 years and the shift of power in the AFC North is taking place.
There were many contributing players and factors in Cincinnati’s 41-10 beatdown of the Steelers, so cast your vote and sound off on your winners for the Week 12 awards!
Most Valuable Player
The offense trended run-heavy once again this game, but Burrow made a number of timely throws. Burrow hit seven different receivers, en route to a 20-of-24 (83% completion rate), 190-yard passing day.
He had two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing), along with eight rushing yards. To top it all off, Burrow had a 96.2 passer rating on the day.
It’s been a great couple of weeks for Mixon, who continues to establish himself as one of the top running backs in the league. He finished with a career-high 165 rushing yards on 28 carries—good for 5.9 yards per carry.
He also had two tough touchdown runs on the ground and had four receptions. Though those receptions only netted minus-two yards, that was largely in part to his diving bailout grab of a Joe Burrow pass that was nearly picked off by Alex Highsmith.
The No. 85 breakout game commenced on Sunday. After missing the first matchup, Higgins had a huge day, capped by a 32-yard, Randy Moss-like touchdown catch. He finished with six catches on eight targets for 114 yards and the score.
The veteran defensive back had the first pick-six of his entire football career and it came against his former team. Hilton finished with four total tackles and the interception.
The big free agency acquisition just keeps making plays. He had two total tackles and a strip-sack of Ben Roethlisberger, along with one additional hit on the Pittsburgh quarterback.
The rookie kicker continues to hit big kicks, even as the weather gets worse. McPherson had two field goals—one from 51 yards and the other from 31. He added five extra points to bring his total to 11 on the day.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ Week 12 MVP?
This poll is closed
Unsung Hero of the Week
Chase was a secondary receiving option this week, but still made a lot of high effort plays. When he wasn’t turning seemingly-sketchy screen passes into nice gains, he was seen throwing blocks late in the game to help spring big Mixon runs. Chase finished with three catches for 39 yards.
While he was in on the protection of Cam Heyward when the Steelers defensive lineman had the sack, Spain had a solid day up front. The Bengals ran for nearly 200 yards against the Steelers and big No. 67 was a reason why.
Much was made about the impact of Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt returning for the rematch this past Sunday, but Williams and Riley Reiff kept them at bay. The two combined for just seven total tackles (none for loss), zero sacks and zero quarterback hits. Williams was also a contributor in the run game.
One of the reasons we nominate players for this specific award is if someone steps in and plays well in the wake of an unexpected injury. Prince not only showed up in “jumbo” packages, but filled in when Riley Reiff left with an ankle injury. He finished the day as the team’s fifth-best Pro Football Focus scorer at 76.6.
Another week and another great performance from Hendrickson and Hubbard. The veteran edge defender had a sack, as well as the scoop-up from Hendrickson’s strip-sack of Big Ben, along with two total tackles.
Don’t look now, but we’re seeing some of the best football from Apple in his up-and-down NFL career. He had a gigantic first quarter interception of Roethlisberger that gave the Bengals an early 10-0 lead, as well as two tackles.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ Week 12 Unsung Hero of the Week?
This poll is closed
Play of the Game
Joe Burrow’s eight-yard touchdown run:
Cincinnati rode the run game on the opening drive (and much of the game, overall), giving the Steelers a taste of their own medicine. Burrow capped the run-heavy drive with a gutsy, diving scramble to put the Bengals up 7-0.
Eli Apple’s interception:
After a statement opening drive by the Bengals, they made a huge play on defense to help create a long day for the Steelers. Apple grabbed a poor pass by Big Ben and took it down to the Pittsburgh five-yard line. It led to a field goal and a 10-0 Bengals lead before the Steelers could figure out what was happening.
The Bengals have a late rotation from a qqh look to cover 3. Eli Apple comes down on the out route but then does a nice job to stick with him on the double move. Roethlisberger throws a terrible pass and it's picked. pic.twitter.com/y0KzLholmF— Mike (Sans) (@bengals_sans) November 30, 2021
Tee Higgins’ 32-yard touchdown reception:
Cincinnati smelled Steeler blood in the water and went for the jugular early. Burrow floated a 50-50 ball to Higgins, who snagged it over the Pittsburgh defensive back.
Mike Hilton’s 24-yard pick-six:
Cincinnati was put in a precarious position before the half because of a myriad of factors. They were driving for a pre-halftime score, but a questionable offensive pass interference penalty against Chase forced them into a 2nd-and-20.
Burrow subsequently threw a pick, giving life to the Steelers, who had three timeouts. Instead, the former Steelers defensive back slammed the door shut with a massive pick-six.
Joe Mixon’s 32-yard run:
The offensive line was doing work, but even when things looked bottled up by the Steelers’ defense, Mixon made them pay. On a cutback late in the game, Mixon netted his biggest gain of the day, which ultimately led to a one-yard touchdown run by the star back.
When your best receiver puts in this kind of effort and shows this kind of excitement after a long RUN…— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) November 30, 2021
You’ve got something special pic.twitter.com/BZ7W5nb73r
Which play gets your vote for the Bengals’ Week 12 Play of the Game?
This poll is closed
Joe Burrow’s 8-yard touchdown run
Eli Apple’s first quarter interception
Tee Higgins’ 32-yard touchdown reception
Mike Hilton’s 24-yard pick-six
Joe Mixon’s 32-yard run