The good, the bad and the ugly of Steelers win over Bengals without Matt Canada

  • Offense improved without Matt Canada
  • Defense not squeezing opportunities
  • Diontae Johnson's first quarter was tough to watch

Pittsburgh Steelers
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The Ugly: Diontae Johnson's first quarter was tough to watch

Let's be clear about two things before discussing the plays in question that land Johnson in the ugly portion of this article.

First, Johnson doesn't deserve an abhorrent amount of hate for the fallout of the two plays being discussed here. Football is an emotional game, and Johnson has been a player quick to display his emotions for better or worse. More often than not, he comes back from them quickly and emphatically.

Secondly, he did just that. Johnson finished the game with four catches for 50 yards on eight targets. Johnson didn't have a bad game, but he had the ugliest moment by far.

With all of that in mind, Johnson had a really tough two-play stretch that drew a lot of attention his way for unfavorable reasons.

Johnson, at least officially, dropped a touchdown pass on the Steelers' second drive of the game. The route and pass were both executed well, but the officials ruled that Johnson did not survive the ground and thus did not award a touchdown. Interestingly, Gene Sterator, CBS's rules analyst, said he believed Johnson did enough to secure the pass and should have been given the score.

Immediately following this play, the Steelers called an inside run for Warren that was stuffed by Cincinnati and Warren fumbled the ball.

On this play, Johnson clearly made no effort to block and was oblivious to the outcome of the play, likewise making no effort to recover the loose ball or stop DJ Turner, the man who recovered the ball and was Johnson's blocking assignment.

Johnson was decimated on social media over the plays in question. While the situation was ugly, fan reaction was even uglier in many ways.

With news of Johnson's heated discussion earlier in the week, hopefully, a strong performance from him and the offense will help him cool down and be a critical piece of this offense's growth in the final weeks of the regular season.