BENGALS 20, STEELERS 10
Steelers' record: 0-2
One year ago: 1-1
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 53-34
In their opener, the Steelers committed two turnovers and came away with no takeaways, allowed five sacks, committed two penalties on special teams that cost the offense close to 30 yards in field position, managed only two plays that gained 20-plus yards, and were the only team in the league to have 0 rushing first downs. Coach Mike Tomlin talked about what he needed for the team to bounce back against the Bengals. “To not beat ourselves. To get off to a clean start. To not have a lot of negativity early. To find a rhythm and allow ourselves to settle into the type of game we can play.”
With 7:51 left in the fourth quarter and the Bengals holding a 20-10 lead, the Steelers offense had run 40 plays to 71 for Cincinnati. The reason for the disparity was the comparative third-down conversion rate. While the Steelers were just 1-for-9 before a final possession in garbage time, the Bengals converted 6-of-15.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, the Steelers had opened seasons 0-2 seven previous times, four under Chuck Noll and three under Bill Cowher. Noll’s 0-2 teams made the playoffs once (1982); Cowher’s 0-2 teams made the playoffs twice (1993, 2002). This is the first time a Mike Tomlin Steelers team opened a season at 0-2.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
* Special teams got off to a strong start and completed a quality first half.
* The Bengals faced a third-and-10 from the Steelers’ 23-yard line with Andy Dalton in the shotgun. At the snap,
* When the possession began with 2:19 left in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger had completed just 4-of-11 for 65 yards, but on that drive he completed all five of his passes for 65 yards, including the 1-yard touchdown to
* During that game-tying touchdown drive, the Steelers faced a third-and-8 at their own 37-yard line. The play turned into a 19-yard pass from Roethlisberger to
WHAT WENT WRONG
* A 34-yard catch-and-run by
* Five plays after Paulson’s lost fumble, the Bengals had the ball in the end zone and a 7-3 lead with 57 seconds left in the opening quarter. The big play was a 61-yard catch-and-run by Tyler Eifert in which there had to be a blown coverage by the Steelers.
* On the Steelers’ possession following the Bengals’ touchdown,
* A phantom tripping call on
* On a third-and-3 from the Steelers’ 13-yard line,