For the second straight week, a late interception from Ben Roethlisberger came to haunt the Steelers dropping their third straight game in a 13-10 loss to the Bengals. The Steelers are officially are eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. After holding AJ Green to only one reception for eight yards in their week seven meeting, Green exploded for 116 yards on 10 receptions. With arguably his biggest coming on 21 yard pass from Andy Dalton to set the Bengals up for a Josh Brown game winning 43-yard field goal with four seconds left.
Dalton carved the Steelers’ defense for 278 yards in the game. The Steelers’ defense had plenty of success stopping the run holding BenJarvis Green–Ellis to 14 yards on 15 carries. Lawrence Timmons had a huge game for the Steelers with eight tackles, two for losses, and two sacks. Troy Polamalu looked like he was getting back to his normal self in his third game back after missing half the season with a calf injury. Polamalu recorded eight tackles and a sack in the game.
After missing last week’s game, defensive back Cortez Allen had a strong showing with two interceptions to go along with seven tackles. The first touchdown of the day came when Roethlisberger found Bengals defensive back Leon Hall for a 17 yard interception return for a touchdown. The only offensive touchdown on the day from either team came on a 60 yard pass from Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown in the final two minutes of the first half. Brown finished with 97 yards on 5 receptions. Roethlisberger finished the game with 220 yards passing completing 214 of his 28 attempts.
The Steelers had many more opportunities to get into the end zone but had trouble capitalizing on what you think would be positive field position. Kicker Shaun Suisham came down from his peak somewhat today missing two of his three field goal attempts. The first miss was a 24-yard field goal that came off a bad snap from Greg Warren. The second miss was a 53-yard attempt that was short. If made, the field goal would’ve been the longest made field goal in Heinz Field history.
Rashard Mendenhall came out as the Steelers leading rusher with 50 yards on 11 carries. This was the first game Mendenhall was active for since the week 12 loss to the Browns. Tight end Heath Miller had to be helped off the field in the fourth quarter with an apparent right knee injury. Miller, who is having a career year, had three receptions for 45 yards before suffering the injury.
With the loss the Steelers officially find themselves on the outside looking in on the AFC playoff hunt. This will be the fifth time the Steelers have not been in the playoffs since 2000. The Steelers will end their season at Heinz Field Sunday, Dec. 30 against the Cleveland Browns.
Photo Credits: Getty Images