For the first time since Mike Tomlin took over as coach, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 2 games under .500 after losing to the Bengals 20-10 on Monday Night Football.
The game turned on a very questionable call early in the 3rd quarter with the game tied at 10. The Steelers had the ball, 3rd and 10 at their own 37 yard line when Ben Roethlisberger hit Emmanuel Sanders for 33 yards bringing the ball all the way to the Bengals 30-yard line.
The Steelers were in prime position to take the lead. On the play however, Steelers offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert was called for tripping. On the play, Gilbert fell down, then a Bengals player tripped over his legs, drawing the penalty.
Instead of first and 10 at the Bengals 30-yard line, it became 3rd and 20 and Roethlisberger was sacked on the next play forcing the Steelers to punt.
Cincinnati got the ball and immediately took advantage executing an 8-play 79-yard drive capped off by a Geovanni Bernard 27-yard touchdown reception, his 2nd TD of the game that gave the Bengals a 17-10 lead.
Mike Nugent tacked on a field goal to give the Bengals a 10-point lead, but the Steelers would get a chance to make it a one score game.
Then on 3rd and 2 at the Bengals 27-yard line, Roethlisberger’s pass intended for Jerricho Cotchery was tipped and intercepted by Reggie Nelson. The Steelers would get one more possession, but it was too late as the Bengals evened up their record at 1-1, and the Steelers fell to 0-2.
The Bengals ran 24 more plays than the Steelers did in this one, and had the ball over 11 minutes longer. The Steelers offense struggled with Felix Jones being forced to start at running back, and Ben Roethlisberger being sacked twice and hit 6 times as the team adjusts to life without Maurkice Pouncey who’s out for the season.
Andy Dalton was good enough for the Bengals completing 25/45 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown. AJ Green was held in check by Ike Taylor who limited Green to 6 catches for 41 yards.
The road doesn’t get any easier for Pittsburgh who has to face a hot 2-0 Bears team next Sunday night. An 0-3 start maybe too much to overcome for the Steelers.
The Bengals also have a tough matchup next week when the team welcomes the Packers to Paul Brown Stadium.
**In his first game against his former team, James Harrison was a non-factor not appearing at all in the box score.