The defending Super Bowl champions have fell for a second straight week after having a lead and largely dominating the game. Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals drops the Steelers to a record of 1-2 and puts them two games behind the division leading Baltimore Ravens. Pittsburgh opened up a 13-0 lead in the second quarter after stalling out on two drives and failing to produce touchdowns. The Bengals responded with a field goal and had gained some momentum going into halftime. The Bengals cut the lead to 13-9 after a Ben Roethlisberger pass was intercepted by the Bengals Jonathon Joseph and taken back 30 yards for the score. The extra point was then botched by Cincinnati.
Ben Roethlisberger then added a one yard touchdown run to give his team a 20-9 lead going into the final quarter of play. The Bengals continued to chop away at the lead before putting the winning score in the end zone with fourteen seconds to play in the game.
Losing two out of the first three games ino way to start a title defense especially when one of the losses was divisional oppenent like Cincinnatti. The Bengals seem to be a much improved team this year with a healthy Carson Palmer and could provide some serious competition with the Steelers in the fight to catch the Ravens and win the division crown.
Ben Roethlisberger was 22/31 for 276 yards one touchdown and that very costly interception in the second half. The Steelers had 100 more total yards and rushed for 2 more yards than the Bengals. A telling stat is the 3/3 fourth down conversions by the Bengals also they had zero turnovers. Despite Pittsburgh having th ball for 9 more minutes Carson Palmer and Cedric Benson managed to get enough out of the offense to pull out the win.
Next week brings a tough contest with the San Diego Chargers who currently stand at 2-1. The Steelers then have games versus the newly victorious Lions and the Cleveland Browns. A 1-3 start would be a tough hole to dig out of for this team but a win over the Chargers could bring them to .500 with two teams they should beat in the following weeks. The past two weeks they just seem to have forgotten how to close teams out. Poor execution has taken away any chance at being 3-0.