The Steelers couldn’t get it done and lost for the fifth time in the last six games and they were officially eliminated from the playoffs by the Cincinnati Bengals 13-10.
There really isn’t much to talk about this game. All that you can really take from watching it is that the defense played some big time football and gave the offense every single chance to win the football game and the offense looked like it hadn’t played football in three years. It was an amazingly frustrating game to watch and even though they could have made the playoffs with one more successful series I don’t think any of us really thought they had a chance to do anything substantial in the playoffs if they did make it.
Outside of a 60 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown with 1:09 left in the first half the Steelers offense was amazingly bland and really nowhere to be found. They had 280 yards of total offense on the day and was only 2-of-14 on third downs and gained only 14 first downs via the pass or run.
Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t very good overall only going 14-of-28 for 220 yards, a touchdown, and two crippling interceptions that led to ten Bengals points. His QBR of 7.1 was the low point of the season and when the Steelers got the ball back with 44 seconds left and some timeouts left but Roethlisberger threw a pick on the third play and the Bengals made two plays then kicked the game winning field goal. The first of his interceptions came with 2:15 left in the first quarter and it turned into a pick-6 to give the Bengals a 7-0 lead. Just another failed late game opportunity for Ben. After a MVP like start to the regular season the second half was not kind to him that was also hampered by missing three games due to injury.
Overall the Steelers had 13 drives and in nine of those drives they used four plays or less. Ugh.
The normally reliable Shaun Suisham wasn’t his normal self on Sunday as he made only one of his three field goal attempts. He missed an easy chip shot early in the game and then missed on another kick of over 50 yards. Just not his day.
The Steelers defense turned in one of the best performances of the year. While the defense has struggled getting to the quarterback and creating turnovers that wasn’t so against the Bengals this time. The Steelers defense forced three turnovers and sacked Andy Dalton six times and continually put the Steelers in good field passion and gave them extra chances to win the game. Lawrence Timmons had a monster game with a pair of sacks and a team-best 10 total tackles while Cortez Allen had the task of covering A.J. Green and while Green finished with ten catches for over 100 yards Allen picked up a pair of picks with one of them being a highlight reel catch on the sidelines thanks to a tip drill from Troy Polamalu as he was going out of bounds. Polamalu also had his best game of the season as he had a sack and was all over the field.
The defense held the Bengals to only 267 yards and only 14 yards rushing. They did a really nice job of making splash plays and getting off the field on third down as they held Cincinnati to a 4-of-15 mark on third down.
Nothing else to say. After starting the year 6-3 they are now 7-8 and will try to play to a .500 record with no playoff implications on the line. Sunday against the Browns will be the first game in Mike Tomlin’s head coaching career where the game will mean nothing and the team will already be eliminated from the playoffs. A pretty disappointing season and I would imagine that next year is going to be very different player wise as the Steelers are really up against the cap and there are a lot of old pieces all over the field.
I guess we will have to try and enjoy the playoffs without the Steelers, again.