Gridiron Report: Steelers Crushed by Bengals 41-10

Written By Anthony Cugini, Steelers Columnist

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 41-10 in their worst loss of the season.

The Bengals picked apart the Steelers defense with ease. The Steelers run defense had one of its worst performances of the season as they allowed 198 total rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Joe Mixon finished the day with 165 yards and two touchdowns of his own.

Though the Steelers secondary was without veteran cornerback Joe Haden, few expected them to perform as badly as they did. Cornerback James Pierre struggled to fill in for the injured Haden. Pierre was beat in one-on-one coverage against receiver Tee Higgins early in the game, which resulted in a touchdown for Cincinnati.

Defensive ends Cam Heyward and Chris Wormley both recorded a sack on the day. After returning from injury, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick intercepted his first pass of the season. Star linebacker T.J. Watt was nowhere to be found. Watt only recorded one tackle in his first game back from injury.

If the Steelers want to make a push for the playoffs, the defense is going to need to be much better than they have been in recent weeks. Linebacker Devin Bush has underperformed to say the least as he has been a big reason why the Steelers have struggled against the run.

The Steelers secondary also needs improvement. Alternatives to cornerback James Pierre may need to be looked into as he’s performed poorly. Rookie cornerback Tre Norwood might need to see more playing time over Pierre.

The Steelers offense wasn’t much better. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had one of his worst games of the season as he completed 24 of 41 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown. Roethlisberger threw two ugly interceptions in the first half. The first one looked to be a miscommunication between Roethlisberger and Chase Claypool. Roethlisberger threw it behind Claypool and into the hands of Cincinnati cornerback Eli Apple. Later in the half, Roethlisberger was looking for receiver James Washington on a crossing route. He underthrew him and former Steeler Mike Hilton intercepted the pass and ran it back for a touchdown, which increased the Bengals lead to 28 before the end of the half.

Rookie running back Najee Harris had a down game as he ran for only 23 yards. Diontae Johnson led Pittsburgh in receiving as he finished with 9 catches for 95 yards. Rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth also had a good day receiving as he finished with 4 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown.

If the Steelers continue to play like they did against the Bengals, they won’t have a shot at the playoffs. The Steelers currently are third in their division at 5-5-1. Pittsburgh also sits a game and a half out of a wild card spot.

Next up for the Steelers is a tough home game against their biggest rivals in the division: the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are coming off of a 16-10 win over the Cleveland Browns where Baltimore’s star quarterback Lamar Jackson threw four interceptions. In the past, the Steelers have always found a way to stop Jackson. They’ll need to stop him once more if they want a chance against the Ravens. A win next weekend would go a long way.