Steelers shock Bengals in wild week one win

The Pittsburgh Steelers out dueled the Cincinnati Bengals in a 23 to 20 OT victory.

Jonathan Albers

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Steelers Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick runs an interception back for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Steelers Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick runs an interception back for a touchdown in the first quarter.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a daunting task in front of them when they matched up against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals were last year’s AFC Champions. They were an explosive, exciting team, but they had their problems.

Their offensive line struggled last year, so they went out and spent a lot of money on it this off season. The Bengals looked like the favorite to win the AFC North. The Pittsburgh Steelers, on the other hand, had a lot of problems. The Steelers barely made the playoffs last year with 10 wins and 7 losses. The Steelers offensive line and their run defense were their biggest problems the previous year. But they had an even bigger question once they entered the off season: Who was going to play Quarterback? The future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger retired, leaving the Steelers with a question mark at quarterback for the first time since 2003.  They addressed their run defense problems in free agency and trades, and improved slightly on their O-line. They signed quarterback Mitch Trubisky to a two-year deal and drafter quarterback Kenny Pickett out of Pitt. Trubisky was named the starter with Pickett the backup. Going into week one, everyone expected the Steelers to be 0 and 1, and that was not the case.

The Steelers started the game off defensively with a bang. After a Cam Heyward sack of Joe Burrow on the first play ran by the Bengals, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick picked off Burrow and ran it back for a 31 yard touchdown. This was fitting because the theme of the Bengals game was turnovers. The Steelers would force five turnovers, including four interceptions off Burrow. As a spectator, you wold expect this game to be a blowout, it was the complete opposite. The Steelers offense struggled to get into the end zone despite the  excessive turnovers from Burrow. The Steelers scored all 20 points in regulation off turnovers.

At the end of regulation, the Bengals were threatening. They got down to the goal line with minimal time left and failed to get it in but got new life from a penalty. They would score on a Jammar Chase touchdown catch on fourth down. The Bengals thought they had sealed the deal, all they had to do was kick a PAT. Well, it didn’t exactly work out like that. The Bengals long snapper was injured earlier in the game, prompting a back up tight end to sub in. The timing was just off enough for Fitzpatrick to make another splash play, blocking the PAT. In OT the Steelers would get into field goal range and Chris Boswell thunked the ball off the upright, giving the Bengals another chance. The Bengals got the ball and were set up for a long game-winning field goal. The long snapper was again an issue when the snap was way off target, prompting the holder to rush the hold and McPherson to miss the FG. The Steelers would again get into field goal range, and Boswell nailed the 53 yard game winner.

With week one all wrapped up, both the Steelers and Bengals have questions heading into week two. Pittsburgh will be missing TJ Watt for at least six weeks, a big blow for the steel city. Cincinnati will look for Joe Burrow to redeem himself after his atrocious week one start. The biggest takeaway from the divisional match up is that the AFC North will be an absolute dog fight. Must watch football.