The last undefeated team in the NFL has now lost three straight games.
The Cincinnati Bengals jumped all over the Pittsburgh Steelers early and held off a second half rally in a 27-17 victory over the Steelers on Monday night.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers Offense looked completely broken in the first half as the Bengals jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead. The Steelers had 40 yards in total with 7 net passing yards, two first downs and three turnovers. Roethlisberger had completed just 7-of-16 passes for 19 yards and an interception with two fumbles and one lost. JuJu Smith-Schuster also lost a fumble as a part of three first half turnovers for Pittsburgh.
Ryan Finley, Cincinnati’s third different starting quarterback this season, didn’t do much for the Bengals. But he didn’t have to with the mistakes from the Steelers. Finley completed just 7-of-13 passes for 89 yards. It was the first victory for the Bengals when they had fewer than 80 net passing yards since a 14-0 win over the Cleveland Browns in December 2008 with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. That game was played in 18 degrees with 26 mph winds.
But Finley also rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown to help lift the Bengals to victory. Maybe more importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over and the Bengals Defense kept the Steelers offense from producing.
All 17 first half points for Cincinnati came off Pittsburgh turnovers.
A Roethlisberger fumble led to a 34-yard Austin Seibert field goal to take a 3-0 lead. Smith-Schuster fumbled off a hit from Vonn Bell that led to a 4-yard Giovani Bernard touchdown run to make a 10-0 lead. Roethlisberger was then picked off by Mackensie Alexander and three plays later, Finley hit Bernard for a 14-yard score to take a 17-0 lead.
Bernard had 83 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries for Cincinnati.
The crippling mistakes disappeared in the second half but the hole for Pittsburgh was too big to climb out of.
Roethlisberger hit Diontae Johnson for a 23-yard touchdown on Pittsburgh’s opening drive of the second half. Chris Boswell‘s 25-yard field goal on their next drive would cut the lead to seven.
Finley would then be left unaccounted for on a read-option run and scampered 23 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead back to two touchdowns.
William Jackson dropped an interception for Cincinnati and then picked up a pass interference call against Johnson that moved the Steelers to the 1-yard line. Benny Snell scored from a yard out on the next play as the Steelers pulled within a touchdown. Pittsburgh would get one last chance with 2:18 remaining. However, they would go four-and-out with Roethlisberger pressured into a throw over the head of James Washington.
The turnover on downs gave a short field that allowed a 33-yard field goal from Seibert to push the margin to 10 points.
Roethlisberger did become just the seventh quarterback in NFL history to reach 60,000 passing yards for his career during the performance. He finished the night 20-of-38 for just 170 yards with a touchdown, interception and lost fumble.