Steelers 23 Bengals 20 (OT)
Where to begin? Well, let's start with that sucked. The Bengals went from having no business winning to having no business losing. And yet, they ultimately lost in gut-wrenching and debilitating fashion. The Bengals spent much of the day looking like a team that had not played their starters during the preseason and spent training camp playing patty-cake. The Bengals turned the ball over on four of their first four drives. The Steelers scored their first 17 points off Burrow turnovers (4 INT/fumble).
Turnovers: Bengals 5, Steelers 0. Plays: Bengals 94, Steelers 61. First downs: Bengals 32, Steelers 13. TOP: Bengals 43:43, Steelers 26:17.
Despite Burrow's career high five turnovers, the Bengals had two late chances to win the game after falling behind 14-0 and 17-3. But things went sideways after veteran long-snapper Clark Harris left the game with a right bicep injury.
Down 20-14 with 1:29 left in the game, Burrow marched the Bengals 9 plays/60 yards and hit Ja'Marr Chase for a game-tying TD w/ :02 left in regulation. But Evan McPherson's game-winning PAT was blocked and then he later missed a 29-yard game-winning FG attempt in overtime. Backup long-snapper Mitchell Wilcox had trouble on both snaps. The snaps were high and at low velocity. With the process slowed by the snap, Minkah Fitzpatrick swarmed in off the left side and swatted the PAT away. On the FG attempt, holder Kevin Huber had to come up off his knee to pull down the snap and couldn't get the laces turned out. The kick sailed wildy off to the left of the uprights.
Steelers kicker Chris Boswell, who doinked a 55-yard FG that would have won it with 2:22 left in OT, booted a game-winning 53-yarder with no time remaining.
Burrow: 33-53, 338 yards, 2 TD, 7 sacks, 4 INT, including a Pick 6 and fumble. He was sacked on the Bengals first snap and threw the Pick-6 (Fitzpatrick 31-yards) on the second snap. One interception was a bat down/INT by TJ Watt, two others were really poor decisions/forced passes.
OL: 7 sacks. Watt almost took a handoff from Burrow at one point. Cordell Volson gave up the sack on the 1st play, had a killer false start on 2nd and goal that forced the Bengals to settle for a FG in the 2nd quarter.
Three common sense things the Bengals failed at:
-Zac Taylor didn't challenge what looked to be a TD catch by JaMar Chase w/ 2:54 left in regulation. For goodness sakes, it was only the potential game-tying/go-ahead score.
-Kevin Huber didn't bail on the high snap of the OT FG attempt. That situation is the sole reason for kicking on 3rd down. They had a 4th down to play with.
-Wilcox snapped the OT punt with :15 left on the play clock and :56 on the game clock. Somebody HAS to tell Wilcox in the huddle they are killing time to keep time away from the Steelers.
Short yardage: The Bengals had 1st and goal at the four and settled for a FG.
Bengals D: Allowed 16 points. 267 yards, 13 first downs, 4 of 15 on 3rd down, 3.4 yards rushing. They held Najee Harris to 23 yards on 10 carries and 2 catches for 3 yards. They held the Steelers to a 20-yard FG.
Chasin: Ja'Marr Chase 10-129-TD on 16 targets.
Record: Huber sets the franchise record for games by appearing in his 208th game, breaking a tie with Ken Riley. Huber had a beauty of a 59-yard boot that flipped the field. He averaged 52.7.
That guy: Fitzpatrick had a Pick 6 and a blocked the game-winning PAT, 14 tackles.....along with a number of cheap shots, including the blow to the head that knocked Higgins out of the game (no flag) for the second half.
Money: McPherson set a franchise record with a 59-yard FG he blasted, with Harris snapping, in the first half.
New guy: Hayden Hurst 5 catches, 46 yards, including a big 3rd and 7 conversion early and a sweet 19-yard tap-tap catch in OT. He did have a false start.
Mixon it up: Mixon had 145 total yards....7 catches on 9 targets/63 yards and 27 rushes/82 yards...He had a nifty one-handed 21-yard catch and a 31-yard run...but only 51 yards on other 26 carries.
Perfection: Clark Harris does not have an unplayable snap in his 14 seasons with the Bengals.
Down and out: The Bengals are 1-26 when trailing heading to the 4th quarter under Zac Taylor.
The Steelers played OT with TJ Watt or Najee Harris, both out with injuries.