The Steelers beat the Bengals again. Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for a 31-yard game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left and Pittsburgh escaped Cincinnati with another victory.
The result left Bengals fans with a familiar feeling. Some tweeted that Pittsburgh continues to be the Bengals' "big brother." Others believe defensive coordinator Teryl Austin should be let go. It's impossible to deny that Pittsburgh has owned the Bengals. Roethlisberger has owned Cincinnati and is now 22-7 against them in the regular season. The defense struggled at times, but I don't think they deserve the majority of the blame for this loss.
The Bengals ran the ball 13 times for 62 yards. Joe Mixon had 11 carries for 64 yards and one touchdown. I'm shocked that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor didn't run the ball more. You'd think the offense would continue to feature its' star running back in a big game, especially with the success he was having. Mixon picked up 17 yards on a run with 12:30 to go in the second quarter. That put him to 40 yards rushing on five carries. He didn't get another carry in the first half. In Lazor's defense, the Bengals' final drive was a two-minute drill and it ended with Andy Dalton finding Tyler Boyd wide open for a 14-yard touchdown that tied the game at 14.
The Bengals lost this game in the third quarter. Their offense had two possessions that produced a total of four yards. Mixon had two carries in the quarter and the Bengals' offense produced a total of four yards. The Steelers leaned on their rushing attack, which helped keep Cincinnati's defense off-balance. It was part of the reason the Bengals didn't sack Roethlisberger once. Steelers running back James Conner had 19 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 5.8 yards-per-carry, which is exactly what Mixon averaged. The Steelers leaned on their running back and the Bengals didn't.
Yes, the defensive struggles continued today. By the time this game was over the defense was battered and broken. Nick Vigil (knee), Shawn Williams (concussion) and Darqueze Dennard (shoulder) couldn't finish the game due to injury. Jessie Bates, Dre Kirkpatrick, Vontaze Burfict and William Jackson III all missed time due to injuries, but they were able to return.
The Steelers dominated the time of possession. They had the ball for 34:56 and the Bengals had the ball for 25:04. Those numbers and maybe the final score would have been different if Mixon had gotten more touches and a banged up defense had been on the sidelines.
I'll have more on the 4-2 Bengals tonight, including another Locked on Bengals podcast.
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