It was over shortly after it started. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense was an unmitigated disaster in the first half and never even recovered to make it a game. It was an exercising of demons of sorts for the Cincinnati Bengals, who sweep the season series against the Steelers for the first time since 2009.
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It was a torch-passing at the quarterback position in this one. Joe Burrow thoroughly outplayed Ben Roethlisberger in a way we haven’t seen in this rivalry in a long time. Even though he threw an ugly pick, Burrow barely missed the rest of the game, finishing 20-of-24 for 190 yards.
In arguably the biggest surprise in this whole game, Joe Mixon ran through the Steelers defense like a hot knife through butter. The Bengals' stretch game was on fire all day long. He only needed three broken tackles on 28 attempts to rack up 165 yards and two scores on the ground.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tee Higgins finally made had himself a statement game. After what’s been a disappointing Year 2, Higgins made some big plays against the Steelers on Sunday. He hauled in six of his seven targets for 114 yards and a score.
GO UP AND GET IT TEE HIGGINS
— PFF (@PFF) November 28, 2021
It’s a good thing the Bengals weren’t forced into more obvious passing situations because both tackles were having tough days when left one-on-one. Both had three losses in pass protection on limited dropbacks.
The Bengals' new additions made their presence felt on Sunday. Trey Hendrickson had one of the plays of the day with his sack-fumble, while B.J. Hill racked up three run stops and three pressures, including a sack.
After a rough few weeks, Logan Wilson had himself a nice bounce-back game. He finished with three stops and two pressures on the day.
Mike Hilton, have a day. Against his former team, Hilton put the nail in the coffin with his pick-six before halftime. He only allowed one catch from four targets for three yards in a monster performance.
In what’s been a very ugly season for the Steelers' veteran quarterback, Sunday was a new low for Big Ben. He had three brutal turnover-worthy plays, with two getting picked. He also coughed up a fumble in what was a complete no-show of a day.
With the Steelers falling behind so quickly on Sunday, Najee Harris handled the fewest carries he’s seen all season. Harris managed only 23 yards on eight carries, with 17 of those coming after contact.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
While there wasn’t much to write home about, rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth had one of the highlights of the game with his late touchdown catch. It was a nice bounce-back performance from him, catching all four targets for 40 yards after a rough couple of weeks.
Pat Freiermuth’s sixth touchdown of the season was an absolute beaut ???? pic.twitter.com/czchj8F1Kw
— Onward State (@OnwardState) November 28, 2021
Despite the result, Sunday was actually one of the best showings the Steelers have seen from their offensive tackles all season. Dan Moore Jr. allowed only two pressures, while Chukwuma Okorafor only one.
Chris Wormley had filled in admirably for the injured Stephon Tuitt along the interior of the Steelers' defensive line. That was not the case on Sunday. He earned his lowest grade in run defense all season, and his lone pressure was a clean-up sack.
Devin Bush continues to be a non-factor coming back from injury. He managed one measly stop to bring his total to only 18 on the season. That figure falls outside the top-50 at the linebacker position this year.
James Pierre looked about how you’d expect a backup to look against this vaunted Bengals receiving corps. He allowed six catches from eight targets for 104 yards and a score.