What Went Right, What Went Wrong

What went right, wrong vs. Bengals

COIN TOSS: The Steelers get the ball first.

What Went Wrong: The first half against the Bengals was one of the most inept offensive performances by the Steelers in recent memory. From a historical perspective, it was the first time the Bengals shut out the Steelers through an entire first half since November 1990.

The Steelers turned the ball over three times – on a bad exchange between Maurkice Pouncey and Roethlisberger that was made worse when a pulling David DeCastro knocked the ball toward the Cincinnati defense; on an interception; and on a fumble when JuJu Smith-Schuster took a big hit from safety Vonn Bell.

Statistically, the Steelers were outgained in total net yards, 122-40, and they ended the half with just 7 net yards passing.

Roethlisberger finished the half by completing 7-of-16 for 19 yards, with no touchdowns, one interception, and a rating of 25.0. Diontae Johnson was the leading receiver with two catches, and Johnson and Jaylen Samuels shared the lead in receiving yards with 12 apiece.

The Steelers had eight possessions in the first half, with five ending in Jordan Berry punts, and the other three ending with turnovers. On each of the possessions that ended with a punt, the Steelers went three-and-out, and on only one possession did they manage a first down. On that drive, they had two first downs, but then the possession ended with a Roethlisberger interception.

HALFTIME: Bengals 17, Steelers 0

10 p.m. – What Went Right: The Bengals received the second half kickoff, and the Steelers defense did its job by authoring a three-and-out. After Kevin Huber's punt and an 11-yard return by Ray-Ray McCloud, the Steelers first possession of the second half began at their 33-yard line.

10:06 p.m. – What Went Right: Four plays after the punt, the Steelers were in the end zone and had cut Cincinnati's lead to 17-7. After an incomplete pass, Benny Snell ran for 7 yards, and then Ben Roethlisberger converted with a quick wide receiver screen to Chase Claypool, who broke a tackle and raced 37 yards down the sideline to the Bengals 23-yard line. On the next play, Roethlisberger dropped a pass into Johnson's hands in the end zone for the touchdown with 12:07 left in the third quarter.

10:20 p.m. – What Went Right: After the Steelers defense authored a second three-and-out in the third quarter, the offense drove 67 yards in 10 plays and cut into the Bengals lead even further with a 25-yard field goal from Chris Boswell. Benny Snell rushed for 47 yards on four carries to highlight the possession. The Steelers trailed, 17-10, with 5:27 left in the third quarter.

10:44 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Bengals answered with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Ryan Finley 23-yard run for a touchdown that upped the Bengals' lead to 24-10.

Of the nine plays, eight were runs, and of the 80 yards, 65 came on the ground. With 11:21 left in the fourth quarter, the Bengals' 24 points were the most they had scored against the Steelers in the last 24 games in the series.

10:58 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers kept their hopes alive with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Benny Snell's 1-yard touchdown run that made it 24-17 with 5:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. In addition to the touchdown, Snell also caught two passes for 21 yards, and the big play was an 11-yard pass interference penalty on William Jackson for coming over the back of Diontae Johnson at the 1-yard line.

11:18 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Bengals put the finishing touches on the upset when the Steelers couldn't move the ball on their final four offensive plays, from their 24-yard line. And then after taking over on downs, Cincinnati added a 33-yard field goal to push their lead to 27-17.

FINAL SCORE: Bengals 27, Steelers 17