Steelers Postgame Commentary: Week 15 vs Bengals
By COMON Network Team
Final Score – Cincinnati Bengals (3-10-1) 27 def. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) 17
What was supposed to be a return to winning and a division championship coronation turned into a nightmare.
The Steelers fell behind early and never recovered, and the aforementioned championship will have to hold. Maybe ‘till next week. Maybe ‘till next year or longer.
Cincinnati scored the first 17 points of the game, and all 17 came off of Steelers turnovers— two lost fumbles, and a Ben Roethlisberger interception. The first turnover, created by a miscommunication between Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncy, led to the game’s first points, when Austin Seibert nailed a 34-yard-field goal to put Cincy ahead, 3-0.
Toward the end of the first quarter, Vonn Bell popped JuJu Smith-Schuster leading to turnover number two. Once again, Cincy cashed in, this time on a 4-yard run by Giovani Bernard. Bernard scored the Bengals’ second touchdown later in the quarter, and this too was made possible by a turnover. The variety was different, however, as Roethlisberger’s only interception of the night opened the floodgates.
Pittsburgh went into the half down 17-0. Although the team played with more of a fire in the second half, touchdowns by Diontae Johnson and Benny Snell were not enough. Ryan Finley’s 23-yard QB scamper early in the fourth quarter made it 24-10 and proved to be the backbreaker. A late score by Snell late score proved meaningless.
The Steelers have now lost three in a row.
The Steelers continue their regular season journey in their final home game of the regular season next week against the Indianapolis Colts. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. Steelers Reaction in pod form will be available at 5 a.m. Tuesday, December 22.
COMON Network Team Commentary
- Brutal. The first half was incredibly horrid. Turnovers, slop, turnovers, slop, but wait there’s more! Good god. I don’t even wanna go on.
- Congrats to Cleveland. This is probably the first time in NFL history that a team started 11-0 and lost the division, but I’ve never been more confident the Steelers would lose their final two games. Congrats to the Browns on a somewhat monumental comeback and their first AFC North division title in, well, ever.
Player of the Game: Giovani Bernard (CIN)
- First half was horrible. They didn’t deserve to win after that display of football. An opportunity against a clearly inferior opponent to go out and win a division and it looked as if the Steelers did not care to be at the stadium that half. Ben was awful. JuJu looked like he was still dancing on the logo for TikTok and beyond a couple of tackles for loss, the defense was lost, albeit on short fields because of turnovers. Abysmal would be an understatement.
- Randy Fitchner must go. It’s not out of the ordinary for a team that has a ton of success to fire a coordinator mid season. Ask the Ravens the year they won the Super Bowl. This offense is broken. And Benny Snell didn’t have a horrible night. In fact, he had a good night, for all intents and purposes. The rest of the offense besides three second-half scoring drives… just not acceptable.
- Remember when the Steelers were 11-0 and people in the city wanted to tell you nothing was wrong? Those people are pretty quiet now…
Player of the Game: Ryan Finley (CIN)
- Suddenly, those who want Ben to hang up the cleats don’t look so dumb. I’m not ready to jump into that camp yet, but I’m certainly ready to have a lengthy conversation about it. Even if Ben was still at his best, I would advocate for drafting a quarterback. The question is, should the Steelers grab the best available QB in the first round, or use that pick on Clemson’s Travis’ Etienne, which would instantly beef up the ground game? This question will be asked, answered and debated plenty over the next several months.
- Yes, Benny Snell played good football tonight, and probably would have been my pick for player of the game had the Steelers somehow pulled this one out. He was also going up against a dismal run defense. So for now, I’m going to dismiss Snell’s big night as a fluke.
- I truly do not think the Steelers are going to win the AFC North. The Colts are on fire. So is Cleveland, and the latter probably won’t do the Steelers any favors since the Brownies are playing the Jets in Week 16. Then again, the Browns winning the North would require them to beat the Steelers in a big game, which they aren’t good at doing.
Player of the Game: Giovani Bernard (CIN)
- There’s no sense in talking about the Steelers first half offense. It was what it was. Horrendous. The last 30 minutes was a different story, it’s just tough for any team to rebound from a first half like the Steelers played. Look, we have harped time and time again about this Steelers run game and offense as a whole, so the last thing I’ll say is this; Significant changes need to be made.
- The play on Claypool on 3rd down was absolutely PI, but two things 1. Why are you throwing it deep into triple coverage in that scenario, and 2. You can’t peg the whole game on that play.
- I love Big Ben. He’s a hall of Famer. But that $41 million dollar cap hit next year with performances like what we saw tonight, make you wonder if having him at quarterback in 2021 is the right move.
Player of the Game: Josh Bynes (CIN)