Steelers Relentless Defense Torments Cincy on MNF, Cruise to 27-3 Victory

By Jared Villani

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense did not exactly start this game off the way they wanted as rookie receiver Diontae Johnson fumbled early in the first quarter. This turnover would eventually lead to a Cincinnati Bengals field goal to give Cincy an early 3-0 lead over Pittsburgh.

After a lot of back-and-forth action, QB Mason Rudolph got comfortable with his offense as he looked to check down to his running backs to chip away at Cincinnati’s defense. RB James Conner punished the Bengals on the ground and with his pass-catching ability, leading to a 21-yard touchdown reception to put the Steelers ahead, 7 to 3.

As the half drew to a close, the Steelers added some more points on the board with Chris Boswell continuing his great start to the 2019 season. Boswell’s 29-yard chip shot put the Steelers up 10 to 3 heading into the second half.

On the first drive of the third quarter, the Steelers came out hot and Rudolph picked up right where he left off hitting both Jaylen Samuels and newly-acquired tight end Nick Vannett to make their way downfield with ease. A short pass from Samuels to Conner resulted in the largest gain on this drive and led to Samuels walking into the end-zone on a wildcat play. Steelers lead 17 to 3 early in the second half.

The Steelers remained strong against Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense as Cam Heyward picked up the defense’s fourth sack of the game resulting in a quick three and out.

It took Rudolph two plays on their next drive to punish Cincinnati’s porous defense once again as he found Diontae Johnson for a huge 43-yard touchdown pass. This deep pass was a pleasant sight considering the offensive play-calling has ran on a much more conservative basis with Ben Roethlisberger out. Rudolph’s gun-slinging ability was on full display here and the Steelers added to their lead, 24 to 3.

T.J. Watt and Javon Hargrave tormented Dalton on Cincinnati’s next offensive drive, sacking the Bengals’ quarterback for a fifth and sixth time. The Steelers defense has been downright overwhelming to this point and the pass rush’s potential has been on full display.

Perhaps the most demoralizing point for Cincinnati was their 16-play drive resulting in a Mark Barron interception. The Steelers defense brought their A-game against the rival Bengals, applying unrelenting pressure on Dalton for the duration of the game holding the “Red Rifle” to 171 passing yards.

The Steelers capitalized on yet another Bengals turnover, charging downfield and setting Boswell up to keep his perfect streak against the Bengals going to give them a 27 to 3 lead. Pittsburgh bounced back in a remarkable way after missing out on a chance at victory last week against San Francisco.

Pittsburgh’s eight sacks were the difference maker, but they’ll have their work cut out for them next week against the Baltimore Ravens and the speedy Lamar Jackson.

Steelers Stat Leaders

Mason Rudolph 24-28, 229 yards, 2 Touchdowns

James Conner 10 Carries 42 yards 8 Receptions 83 Yards 1 Touchdown

Diontae Johnson 6 Receptions 77 Yards 1 Touchdown

Mark Barron 11 Tackles 1 Interception

Devin Bush 9 Tackles 1 Sack 3 Tackles for a Loss

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