The Cincinnati Bengals held back the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12, a 41-10 lopsided affair that took the home team to 7-4.
These Bengals came out shooting and took a 31-3 halftime lead on a day when almost everything seemed to be going well. The first half was perhaps the two most complete quarterbacks the team had played in years.
Right after the big win, let’s take a look at the playing notes and numbers to know.
– The Bengals went into tyrant mode as soon as the gun was opened, making it clear that they were lining up to feed Joe Mixon and test if the Steelers could stop him. They couldn’t – Joe Burrow and Co. picked up 75 yards on a long opening practice, topped off with a rushed score for Burrow.
– Eli Apple’s redemption arc continued with a selection by Ben Roethlisberger on Pittsburgh’s first practice, which he resumed at 50 yards. The Bengals couldn’t top it off with a touchdown, but Apple’s good play is encouraging for the end of the season.
– Tee Higgins Moss was a Steelers defenseman for a passing score to bring the score to 17-3. It’s a good sign for the Bengals. With defenses focused on Ja’Marr Chase, Mixon can still slice them up and Higgins can still play. Looks like the offense is gearing up for the playoffs.
– Mike Hilton pulled off the pick-six against his former team before the end of half-time. A good game, sure, but don’t forget the heavy pressure that also forced Big Ben to throw a bad shot.
– Trey Hendrickson broke a team record by registering a sack.
– Evan McPherson had a field goal over 50 yards in the second half. A week earlier, he had done three. The value of having a kicker who can do it shouldn’t be overlooked – it could be especially important in the playoffs.
– Riley Reiff left the game with an ankle injury. They may have held it for precautionary reasons during a rash, but it’s something to watch out for. The team can’t afford to lose the stable presence on the right tackle now.
– Center Trey Hopkins suffered a knee injury and his return was also questionable. Unfortunately, because he was finally returning to the form before the injury.
5.2: Yards per race for the Bengals on Sunday (5.9 for Mixon). They did whatever they wanted on the pitch which paved the way for all of the other impressive stats on the sheet. It was a dominant performance from the offensive line and Mixon took advantage of it.
Joe Mixon: After a great performance last week, Mixon started again Sunday at 28 carries for 165 yards on an average of 5.9 with two touchdowns. It’s a career high for the superstar.
Tee Higgins: As the Steelers focused on stopping Chase, Higgins made six catches for 114 yards and the score for 32 yards.
For the playoffs: Winning doesn’t guarantee a playoff berth, but it’s clearly a Bengals side in the lead. They hit an inferior opponent on Sunday without suffering from distractions and / or mental issues given the historical background between the teams. The offense seems deadly even though Chase isn’t having a big day and the defense still remains strong.