The Bengals went into Pittsburgh and had their most decisive victory against their arch-rival since 1995.
I’ve never been more happy to have been wrong about the outcome of a game. Before Joe Burrow had the best game of his sophomore campaign, I predicted a game in which he would be on the ground a lot amidst an offensive struggle. I was wrong. Way wrong. Jackson Carman stepped in and played well. The Bengals’ offensive line gave up zero sacks and Burrow had many clean pockets to throw from. It was the first time in the last 75 games in which the Steelers’ had not recorded a single sack in a game.
With both teams missing top weapons on offense, it only showed for the team in black and yellow. The Bengals on the other hand, unleashed Tyler Boyd and Ja’Marr Chase. It may not show up in the yards category, but Chase and Boyd combined for three touchdowns. Each of which were impressive to say the least. The first one came on a 3-yard zig route where Boyd broke a sorry attempt at a tackle and went on to score from 17 yards out.
The second one, and the first for Chase of the day, was the play that set the tone for the rest of the game. Cincinnati got the ball with 1:04 left in the first half and went on a 3 play, 75 yard touchdown drive. A rainbow deep shot down the left sideline was placed perfectly for Ja’Marr Chase, who showed elite burst to separate and make the touchdown catch.
The third one? It was a dagger. The dagger. Burrow credited the offensive line on this one, saying he made it to his fifth read on the play. FIFTH! He had all day, and found #1 crossing the back of the end zone with all the separation you can ask for. Chase followed it up with his infamous “Griddy” dance. The Bengals were having fun and the Steelers were doing everything but that. Pittsburgh was deflated, uninterested and clocked out. Tyler Boyd said they “portrayed to the whole nation, on TV, what they were about and how they gave up.”
I’ve yet to talk about the defense and they’re probably the biggest strength of the entire team. They once again didn’t allow the opposing offense to run the ball, holding Najee Harris to 2.9 yards per carry. Relentless in their pursuit of Big Ben, they’ve now racked up 12 sacks on the year, more than halfway to the 17 they recorded ALL of last season. And finally, Logan Wilson is emerging as a serious Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He currently leads the league in interceptions after picking Roethlisberger twice in plus territory. The Bengals found a gem in the 3rd round 17 months ago.