Bengals 41 Steelers 10
Well, that was fun. The Bengals raced to a 31-3 halftime lead and annihilated the Steelers 41-10 at PBS. They move to 7-4. They swept the Steelers for the first time since 2009 and made it three consecutive wins over Pittsburgh for the first time since 1990. It was their most points vs the Steelers since 1989. Leading 41-3, Zac Taylor called off the dogs and turned to backups early in the 4th quarter. The Steelers kept their starters in and scored a garbage TD, Ben to Freiermuth, with 2:59 remaining. Mike Tomlin was calling timeouts with under a minute remaining. It was a mismatch.
Tone setter: The Bengals seized control of the line of scrimmage and marched 10 plays/75 yards to score on the opening drive of the game. Joe Mixon carried 7-49 and caught a pass on the drive. Joe Burrow capped things with in 8-yard rushing score. It was 2nd opening drive TD score for Bengals this season.
You go, Joe: Mixon went off....again. He had 117 yards at the half and finished with a career high 165 yards on 28 carries. Last two weeks: 58 carries, 288 yards, 4.96, 4 TD. He scored two more TD's.....making it eight straight games with a score.....and four straight with multiple TDs...a franchise record. He has 13 combined TD's. He even broke-up/took away a potential interception from Alex Highsmith.
High powered O: Zac Taylor was in a play calling rhythm and the O looked like a well oiled machine. They scored on their first four possessions, making it nine straight scoring possessions going back to the Raiders game. They have scored 30+ in 5 of the last 6 games. The Steelers looked like they wanted no part of the Bengals ground game. Rushing 38-198-5.2. Ran it 38 times and passed it 24 times. That's back-to-back wins with Burrow throwing for fewer than 200 yards (148-190).
Remember me? Mike Hilton picked off his former team and returned it to the house. It came the very first play after a Burrow interception and made it 31-3 last in the first half and was a dagger to the soul of the Steelers.
Mr. Efficient: Joe Burrow hit on his first 9 passes. He connected with 7 different teammates. 20 of 24, 190 yards, TD, INT, 2 sacks, 96.2 rating.He did take his 5th red zone sack and forced the Bengals into an early FG after facing 3rd and goal at the one.
Welcome: Tee Higgins had his biggest impact day of year.....5 catches/95 yards/TD in first half......and 6 on 8 targets for 114 yards for the game. His 32-yard TD was a ladder climbing, high-point beauty.
D does it: 3 sacks, 3 turnovers, 301 yards......160 yards in garbage time. Lou's Crew has re-established themselves since the bye. Trey Hendrickson recorded a sack (10.5) for a franchise record 7th straight game, a strip sack recovered by Hubbard, for the 2nd straight week. Eli Apple, picked on early by the Steelers, picked off a Ben pass and returned it 50 yards to the Steelers 5-yard line. Ben looked old and beleaguered. Sacks: Hendrickson, Hubbard (7.0) and Hill (4.5). Ben prior to 4th....12 of 25, 163 yards, 2 INT. Ben in 4th quarter....12 of 16, 138 yards, TD. Steelers rushing: 10 for 29 in first three quarters, 5 for 22 in 4th quarter.
Punt? Anyone? Kevin Huber didn't punt until 8:30 left in the 3rd quarter. He had two on the day.
Injury watch: Riley Reiff left with an ankle sprain in the 3rd quarter and did not return.
Money Mac: Evan McPherson boomed a 51-yard FG. He's 7 of 8 at 50+ yards in 11 games.
Taking liberties: In a typical Steelers move, TJ Watt engaged with Joe Burrow and took him to the ground during an interception return. It appears to be the only solo tackle the tough guy recorded in this season vs the Bengals.
Scoreboard: The Bengals outscored the Steelers 65-20 in this season sweep and 92-37 during the three-game win streak. The Bengals have beaten the Ravens by 24 and Steelers by 31 this season.
Penalties: After committing 10 of their 40 penalties in the first meeting, the Bengals committed just three penalties (43) Sunday.
Largest point differential: +146 Patriots, +144 Bills, +108 Cardinals, +94 Buccaneers, +83 Bengals
Playoff seeding: No. 5 seed in AFC
Next: Bengals host Chargers