NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 15 PFF ReFocused: Cincinnati Bengals 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Dec 21, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) celebrates his second touchdown of the game during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger turned in one of his worst performances of the season to hand the Cincinnati Bengals their first win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in five years.

The 34-year-old Steelers signal-caller led an offense that averaged just 3.9 yards per play and turned the ball over three times on its way to a 27-17 loss to a Ryan Finley-led Bengals team with just two wins on the season prior to Monday night.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

STORY OF THE GAME

Big Ben completed just one pass that traveled 10-plus yards in the air (23-yard touchdown to Diontae Johnson) and finished the day with 170 passing yards, one interception and the score. His completion to Johnson was his only big-time throw on the night, and he recorded four (!) turnover-worthy plays on PFF’s first review of the game. It’s likely that he finishes the review process with a sub-40.0 PFF passing grade.

Steelers offensive tackles Alejandro Villanueva and Chukwuma Okorafor followed Roethlisberger’s lead with dud performances of their own against Cincinnati. The duo finished with sub-60.0 PFF grades on first review.

Finley and the Bengals' offense weren’t spectacular by any means (4.1 yards per play), but they turned turnovers into points multiple times and refused to turn the ball over themselves in the contest.

Dec 21, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Darius Phillips (23) and cornerback Mackensie Alexander (21) tackle Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool (11) in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

ROOKIE WATCH

Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool had an exciting catch and run for 37 yards in the second half but was limited outside of the one big play. He finished the game with just three receptions for 54 yards. Opposite of Claypool, Bengals rookie wideout Tee Higgins caught three passes for 31 yards on the night.

Defensively, Steelers edge defender Alex Highsmith was the only rookie with 25-plus snaps played on either side in the game. He recorded multiple defensive stops, one missed tackle and two total pressures on PFF’s first review of the game.

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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