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Mason Rudolph was handled with gloves tonight, as the Pittsburgh offense ran mostly jet sweeps and even brought in running backs to run wildcat plays on a large number of snaps. Rudolph was, however, hit a wide-open Diontae Johnson for a long touchdown on a crossing route where the defense miscommunicated on a switch.
James Conner bounced back from a down Week 3 with physical running all night long. He broke tackles and rumbled his way to first down after first down and scored a touchdown, as well. A number of his touches came on jet sweeps from wildcat quarterback Jaylen Samuels, which allowed him to get downhill quickly where the Bengals’ defense had a tough time limiting his yards.
Johnson took advantage of blown coverage and hauled in the long touchdown, but it was rookie Devin Bush that really starred for the Steelers. He made a positive impact rushing the passer, defending the run and staying back in coverage in what was an overall solid performance.
Outside of a late unnecessary roughness penalty on Andrew Billings for getting physical after a play with Steelers’ center Maurkice Pouncey, Billings was a force to be reckoned with, causing havoc all night long for the opposing offensive line by stuffing runs and winning pass-rush snaps. Geno Atkins also turned in a solid performance, showing his patented pass rush skill set.
Unfortunately for Cincinnatti, there weren’t many bright spots outside of Billings and Atkins. Pittsburgh ran jet sweep actions all night long and the defense as a whole was unable to stop this play. This trend continued into the second half, where halftime adjustments didn’t seem to be much fo a factor.
Guard Michael Jordan turned in a dismal performance in this one. He had his butt handed to him by the Steelers’ defensive front and should finish reviews as one of the Bengals’ lowest-graded players.