The Steelers notched a crucial 16-10 victory against the Bengals last Sunday, marking a much-needed win for the team. This triumph holds particular importance as the Steelers maintain their position in the playoff race, trailing the AFC North leader by just one game.
Revitalized offense shows promising signs of life
Following the termination of Matt Canada, the team witnessed a positive shift in offensive strategy, resulting in a more balanced approach compared to his tenure. Kenny Pickett and the offense broke a 59-game streak, finally surpassing 400+ yards. Pickett showcased a more assertive and confident playstyle, effectively utilizing the middle of the field and taking shots downfield. The team's strong running game persisted, accumulating an impressive 153 rushing yards.
Despite the offense only putting up 16 points, glimpses of its potential were evident. Missed opportunities, including a dropped TD catch from Diontae Johnson and a Jaylen Warren fumble in the red zone, highlighted execution issues.
However, it marked a positive step forward for the Steelers' offense. Sustaining an aggressive yet disciplined approach, avoiding turnovers, and emphasizing the running game is crucial for continued success. Faulkner and Sullivan, for the first time in years, orchestrated situations for player success, a trend the Steelers must build upon.
Defense continues strong performances
On the defensive front, the Steelers' defense was solid, securing four sacks and a turnover, limiting the Bengals to a mere 10 points. The lone Bengals touchdown stemmed from a pivotal play with Ja’Marr Chase capitalizing on a deflection, advancing into Steelers territory.
The Steelers' backups delivered a commendable performance, showcasing remarkable depth in the Linebacker and Safety positions. Their impressive efforts along with the defensive line and outside linebackers limited the Bengals' rushing attack to a mere 25 yards. We're hopeful that we'll be able to bring in Minkah Fitzpatrick soon to bolster the defense, which has been playing well lately.
Steelers secure complete victory, Cardinals await next week
In conclusion, it was a good all-around win. The offense showed improvement, and the defense remained solid as usual. As we move forward in the season and face a favorable schedule, the focus should be on continual improvement each week and to keep stacking wins. To have a real chance at a successful postseason run, it's essential to address the finer details that can make a difference. We see the Steelers next at home versus the Arizona Cardinals.