Steelers get trounced vs Bengals in all-important AFC North game

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds (34). Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds (34). Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers needed a win in Week 12, but here’s why things did not go according to plan against the Cincinnati Bengals. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers came into Week 12 looking to avoid getting swept by the Bengals in 2021. With a record of 5-4-1 in an incredibly tight AFC North, there was a lot riding on this contest. Sadly, Mike Tomlin’s team apparently didn’t make the trip to Cincinnati.

Things got off to an incredibly rocky start for the Steelers. Joe Burrow led the Bengals to a touchdown drive to open the game. After Pittsburgh’s offense struggled on their first possession, Cincinnati quickly jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse. Ben Roethlisberger threw two first-half interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown), and the defense struggled worse than they have all season. Eventually, the Bengals held a 31-3 lead going into the half.

As much as the defense struggled in this contest, the offense was just as bad. After a 37-point outing from Ben Roethlisberger and company in Week 11. This unit just didn’t show up to play. Pittsburgh’s first ten positions consisted of an interception, field goal, punt, punt, interception for a TD, end of the half, punt, a lost fumble, punt, and yet another punt. The Steelers finally scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

By the end of the game, the Steelers were trounced in a  41-10 loss. This was a massive defeat for this team, and their playoff hopes were crushed after this dud performance. Pittsburgh needs to make some big changes fast.

What Steelers must do to make playoffs

At this point, playoff hopes are looking pretty grim for Pittsburgh. This team has arguably the hardest schedule to close out the season, and finding enough winnable games left on their schedule to make a playoff push will be a stretch.

The Steelers still have the Browns, Vikings, Chiefs, Titans, and Ravens twice on their schedule. With as close as things are going to be in the AFC North, Pittsburgh may have to sweep the division to have a chance at the playoffs.

The bad news is that there’s a chance they may not be favored in a game this season from here on out. The Steelers are coming off their two worst defensive performances they’ve had over the past five years, and there isn’t a lot of reason to suggest that things are going to change soon. In the same way, the offense has struggled mightily this year and Roethlisberger had a dismal performance against the Bengals.

light. Related Story. 5 talented Steelers who are not yet deserving of Pro Bowl honors

Injuries have hurt Pittsburgh this year, but the sad truth is that this just isn’t a very good football team right now. There are going to be a lot of changes made in the offseason, but the Steelers need to find a way to salvage what’s left of this disappointing season.