CINCINNATI – COIN TOSS: Steelers call tails. It’s tails. Steelers elect to defer.
1:09 p.m. – What Went Wrong. After giving up one first down on Cincinnati’s opening possession, the Steelers defense forced a Kevin Huber punt. The kick traveled 52 yards and bounced sideways out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 2-yard line, where the offense began its first possession.
1:14 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers offense went three-and-out, but the punt team stepped up and made a play. Punting out of his own end zone, Jordan Berry boomed a 60-yard punt, and gunner Justin Layne defeated the guy blocking him and made the tackle on the return for no gain.
1:31 p.m. – What Went Wrong: There were a lot of good things that came from a drive that began at the Steelers 25-yard line and moved to a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line, but it ended in a disaster. On third down from that point, the pass protection allowed Carlos Dunlap to penetrate to the point where he was able to hit Mason Rudolph’s arm as he was delivering a pass, and the flutterball was intercepted by Shawn Williams inside the 5-yard line and returned to the Bengals 15-yard line. Two plays later, the first quarter ended in a 0-0 tie.
1:39 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers defense rose up and stuffed the Bengals offense following the interception. The Bengals netting one first down, aided by a pass interference penalty, but on the ensuing three plays, Joe Mixon was dumped for a 2-yard loss, T.J. Watt batted down an attempted screen pass, and Cam Heyward sacked Ryan Finley for a 9-yard loss. Diontae Johnson returned Kevin Huber’s 52-yard punt for 7 yards, and the Steelers took over at their 40-yard line with 13:16 left in the second quarter.
1:48 p.m. – What Went Right: Jordan Berry’s 41-yard punt with no return had the Bengals start at their own 10-yard line. On the first play, Mark Barron sacked Ryan Finley for a loss of 9, and two plays later the Bengals were punting from their own 9-yard line. After the punt and a 4-yard return by Diontae Johnson, the Steelers took over at the Bengals 48-yard line with 8:33 left in the second quarter.
1:58 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers got on the scoreboard when a 26-yard field goal by Chris Boswell gave them a 3-0 lead with 3:21 remaining in the second quarter. The big plays on the nine-play, 40-yard drive were a 35-yard catch by Deon Cain, who went up over B.W. Webb to make the catch that erased the hole created by a holding penalty on Nick Vannett. Benny Snell helped the cause with a 4-yard run that converted a third-and-3.
2:07 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Bengals struck back with a three-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that was a Tyler Boyd showcase. Boyd first went up over Terrell Edmunds for a 47-yard catch down to the Steelers 15-yard line, and then on the next play he went up over Joe Haden for the touchdown in the right side of the end zone. The Bengals had a 7-3 lead with 1:55 left in the first half.
2:25 p.m. – What Went Right: The Bengals actually were threatening to extend their 7-3 lead after poor pass protection led to Mason Rudolph getting flagged for intentional grounding on a third-and-2. It all boiled down to a third-and-2 for the Bengals at their 42-yard line with 27 seconds left in the first half. Ryan Finley faked a handoff into the line and tried to escape around left end, but Steven Nelson came up and made a crisp tackle in the open field for only a 1-yard gain. The Bengals punted.
2:41 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Steelers took the second half kickoff at their 25-yard line, but things went south immediately when defensive tackle Andrew Billings bulled his way into the backfield and sacked Mason Rudolph for a loss of 13 yards. An incomplete pass on third-and-13 brought on Jordan Berry, and after his 41-yard punt was fair caught, the Bengals started at their 39-yard line.
2:53 p.m. – What Went Right: In a decision by Coach Mike Tomlin that paid quick dividends, Devlin Hodges took over at quarterback with 12:36 left in the third quarter, and 86 seconds later, the Steelers led, 10-7. The key play was an on-the-button pass deep over the middle to James Washington, who stiff-armed B.W. Webb to the ground at the 25-yard line and completed the play for a 79-yard touchdown. The Steelers took the lead with 11:10 left in the third quarter.
3:07 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Bengals answered the Steelers touchdown with a 27-yard field goal that tied the game, 10-10, with 5:07 left in the third quarter. It started off with three runs by Joe Mixon that gained 27 yards, and then the Steelers were flagged twice – once for pass interference on Joe Haden and once for illegal hands to the face by Devin Bush.
3:33 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers took a 13-10 lead with 11:59 left in the fourth quarter on a 47-yard field goal by Chris Boswell that made him 26-for-26 against the Bengals for his career. The big plays on the drive came when cornerback B.W. Webb was called for back-to-back pass interference penalties that gained a total of 34 yards for the Steelers.
3:43 p.m. – What Went Right: The play began as a completed pas to Tyler Boyd that was going to move the Bengals inside the Steelers 10-yard line, but Devin Bush punched the ball out, and Minkah Fitzpatrick picked it up just before the ball went out of bounds. Fitzpatrick then tip-toed down the sideline for a 36-yard return that gave the ball to the offense at the 42-yard line.
4:01 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers extended their lead to 16-10 with a 26-yard field goal by Chris Boswell with 3:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. The key play on the seven-play, 35-yard drive was a 21-yard run by Benny Snell on a third-and-1. The Bengals started at their 21-yard line with one timeout and 3:0 on the clock after the ensuing kickoff.
4:04 p.m. – What Went Right: It was a second-and-2 from the Bengals 29-yard line, and Bud Dupree beat his man around the edge and executed a strip-sack on Ryan Finley that he recovered at the 21-yard line. The Bengals were out of timeouts.
FINAL SCORE: Steelers 16, Bengals 10