Early on, the Steelers' offense struggled to pick up first downs, and Cincinnati traveled into the red zone with relative ease on its first possession. Yet, as a sign of things to come, the Bengals went backwards.
As sportscaster Myron Cope would have said, Cincinnati “bungled,” having had a touchdown negated by penalty and a field goal taken off the scoreboard before finishing the drive scoreless due to a blocked second kick.
In a contest regarded by many media outlets as the “Game of the Week,” the second quarter saw the game turn into a telling affirmation of a common football adage: turnovers win (and lose) games.
After a scoreless first quarter, Pittsburgh caught fire, taking a 14-0 lead. Then, a fumbled kickoff return by Brandon Tate was recovered by the Steelers, which opened up a 21-0 lead and never looked back.
Antonio Brown put the Steelers ahead 28-7 before halftime on a punt returned for a touchdown, the franchise’s first since 2006.
On an afternoon where all three phases seemed to fire on (nearly) all cylinders, Pittsburgh’s defense held stout the rest of the way, and the Black and Gold stayed in the AFC North race.
Meanwhile, the loss likely relegated Cincinnati into a messy battle for the AFC’s sixth and final playoff spot.
Here are 10 observations from Pittsburgh’s important and decisive win over the Bengals.