The Steelers’ offense continues to be one of the more difficult watches in the NFL. It couldn’t get anything going en route to 10 points on the day in the 24-10 defeat. With the win, the Bengals keep pace with the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens atop the AFC North.
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Joe Burrow sure is happy to have his top target from LSU back. After completing only 2-of-19 go-balls all last season, Burrow already has three go-ball touchdowns to Ja’Marr Chase alone this season. The Bengals' offense didn’t ask much out of the quarterback, as he dropped back only 19 times in the game.
Joe Mixon finally had some lanes to work with. He made multiple clean cutbacks on outside zone runs in the game. He finished with 90 yards on 18 carries. He also added four broken tackles to take his total to 13 on the season — one away from matching his 14 forced whiffs from a year ago.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Ja’Marr Chase’s hands are not an issue. He once again sped past an unsuspecting corner at the end of the first half for a big score. Chase poured it on for yet another touchdown after beating Joe Haden on a dig route in the second half. He finished with four catches on five targets for 65 yards.
Remember when people thought Ja’Marr Chase couldn’t catch????
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 26, 2021
We got our first taste of rookie Jackson Carman, and the results were encouraging. He didn’t allow a single pressure on 19 pass-blocking snaps on first review of the film. Both Trey Hopkins and Jonah Williams had clean sheets in pass protection as well.
One of the more underrated storylines for the Bengals this year is the night and day year-over-year change of their interior defensive line. The combination of Larry Ogunjobi, Josh Tupou, D.J. Reader and B.J. Hill continues to create havoc in the run game. They all registered stops in the contest, with all but Tupou making multiple such plays.
Another day, another big play for second-year linebacker Logan Wilson. After making a pick last week against the Bears, Wilson secured yet another one Sunday. He’s been excellent as an underneath zone defender in feeling routes develop and reading quarterbacks' eyes.
Logan Wilson with his second pick today and his third in two weeks
— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) September 26, 2021
It was quite the day for the Bengals' safety tandem. They were targeted a combined five times and allowed only 31 yards between them. Jessie Bates III racked up two stops in coverage, while Vonn Bell notched one as well.
Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that executives around the NFL believe Ben Roethlisberger’s performance has dropped significantly — something that's become clear to viewers, too. Roethlisberger was playing like a player terrified of taking hits in this game. His average time to throw was an absurdly quick 2.28 seconds.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 26, 2021
Najee Harris still can’t get anything going on the ground. He managed only 40 yards on 14 carries with three broken tackles. Of those 14 carries, only one went for a first down. And across 40 carries this season, only six have gone for first downs. While Harris racked up 102 yards through the air, he also had three drops on the day.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
The no good, very bad day for the Steelers' offense extended to their receivers. Five different Pittsburgh players registered drops, and Eric Ebron was the most egregious of the bunch. He mishandled both his catchable targets.
Pittsburgh's offensive line didn’t have to pass protect for too long on the day. Even still, rookies Dan Moore Jr. and Kendrick Green struggled. They allowed five and two pressures, respectively. The line was obviously still an issue in the run game, as Najee Harris averaged negative yards before contact.
With all the injuries decimating the unit, the Steelers' defensive line didn’t have near the teeth it usually does. The unit didn’t register a single sack or hit on Joe Burrow and managed only three total pressures on the day.
When your best cornerback records one of the lowest grades on the team, it’s going to be difficult to win a lot of games. Joe Haden allowed a first down or touchdown on three of his four targets for 38 yards in the contest.