The Pittsburgh Steelers went into a Week 11 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals with a healthy defense and a bit of momentum after a victory over the New Orleans Saints just seven days before. That continued into the first half against their division foe as the score was 20-17 at halftime following an offensive performance that totaled for 212 yards. The final 30 minutes were a bit different and Mike Tomlin‘s group lost 37-30 in what was a disappointing second half showing. While the rejuvenated defense allowed close to a season-high, 37 points, the offense was at fault for the defeat according to rookie signal caller, Kenny Pickett.
Don’t Let 30 Points Deceive; Steelers Embarrassing 2nd Half Offense Versus Bengals Costs Team In Loss
After having his most effective first half of his young career, Pickett and his offense sputtered the latter half of the game and even though the group put up a season-high in points, their second half performance, and the loss, was on them, according to the rookie. He spoke with the media after the contest and held himself and his guys accountable on the offensive side of the ball.
“The penalties and not taking advantage of a short field are the things that stick out immediately. Our defense did a great job giving us a chance to win the game. We didn’t come through in the second half. That’s on us and we gotta get it fixed and have two strong halves in order to beat a team like that.”
The offense was not good after the break and the only convincing drive led to a garbage time score with a minute to go. Pickett was 14/19 in the first half for 141 yards and a touchdown, but the script flipped on the other side. He was just 5/16 for 47 yards and the first four drives led to three punts and a field goal. The 2022 first round pick knows that the execution and performance just wasn’t there.
“That’s something, gotta look at the tape and see what tendencies are. We gotta go out there and execute whatever’s called.”
There were several crucial penalties in the third and fourth quarters while the Bengals, for the most part, played a clean and dominant second half. Pickett mirrored his comments about execution and admitted the offense simply did not do enough for the entire 60 minutes to prevail.
“I don’t think we executed. The penalties and not taking advantage of the short fields. Those are the two major things I can think of right now that needed to be done and we didn’t get it done.
One of Pickett’s strengths is his confidence. The rookie plays with poise and is not letting the team’s 3-7 start and his underwhelming stat line affect how he looks at the potential of the team and his future performances.
“My confidence level is not wavered. I’m extremely competitive and I hate to lose. It doesn’t feel good after a loss. We gotta get things cleaned up and get back on track.”
What unit is most at fault for the second half debacle against the Bengals? The offense or the defense? Let us know in the comments below!