The Pittsburgh Steelers went to Cincinnati Bengals and were able to squeak out a win thanks in large part to Chris Boswell’s leg. It was a rough day overall for both teams, with Pittsburgh struggling on both sides of the ball in the first half and the Bengals imploding in the second. Although not pretty, Pittsburgh’s win today extends their streak to 5 victories in a row, with their biggest match up of the year coming up on Christmas Day against the Baltimore Ravens.
Consistency on offense continues to plague the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger had a very average day, throwing high on several passes to Ladarius Green and Jesse James and again lucked out with 2-3 dropped interceptions. Le’Veon Bell had another solid game, rushing for 93 yards and putting up another 38 through the air. The offensive line struggled at times, but held together relatively well down the stretch against a tough defensive front.
Defensively, the Steelers laid an egg in the first half, giving up the majority of the Bengal’s total yards and all 20 of their points. Despite an impressive 3- play stand at the goal line, the Steelers were gashed by Jeremy Hill in the run game. Andy Dalton had time to throw in the pocket and was repeatedly able to find holes in Pittsburgh’s defense. However, they did not let their poor performance in the first half deter them from coming out and dominating in the second.
The Bengals didn’t score a single point in the second half due in large part to the shutting down of the run game. Even without Stephon Tuitt, who left the game early with a knee injury, the Steelers were able to bottle up Jeremy Hill and dominate the line of scrimmage.
Ultimately, the game came down to Chris Boswell. Not only did he kick 6 field goals (tying a franchise record), he also literally made a shoe string tackle, saving a touchdown. By far the most valuable player on the field, Boswell’s performance was by far one of the best by a single player for the Steelers this year.
Far from their best game, the Steelers were able to come out with a victory in enemy territory. Their defense, despite their early performance, continues to impress. The Baltimore Ravens next week will be the team’s final test. If they win, they will have demonstrated the potential to make a very deep playoff run.