It makes perfect sense.
The league’s second-worst rushing offense, missing four key parts, turned in their best rushing performances of the season.
The Steelers outgained the Bengals 167-80 on the ground, with their top two running backs (Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman) on the inactive list along with a pair of starting offensive linemen (Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert) in their win over the Bengals.
The Steelers only dressed seven linemen all night, and the only backups were rookie Kelvin Beachum and practice squad promotion John Malecki, who had one NFL game between them.
That meant a banged-up group had no choice.
“I told the guys before the game when we broke it up, this is all we got, ain’t nobody getting hurt,” left guard Willie Colon said, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “If anybody gets hurt, bandage it up and let’s go.”
Those five stayed out there the entire game, and paved the way for the backup backs to win.
Jonathan Dwyer had 122 yards, and fifth-option Chris Rainey scored the game-winning touchdown.
“There was no letdown, even though our top two guys went down,” Dwyer said. “It was an opportunity, and the next man is supposed to step up.”
The Steelers did that to perfection Sunday night.