Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers 12/15/13 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Final Score: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Cincinnati Bengals 20
December 15, 2013
Capping off the day’s NFL action on “Sunday Night Football,” we had a marquis matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cincinnati came into this one in firm control of the AFC North, and even though the Steelers had effectively been eliminated from playoff contention, they’d enjoy nothing better than to help derail the Bengals’ postseason standing--and that’s exactly what they did.
Let’s take a look at the key players and statistical trends from this one and see if we can figure out why things happened the way they did. Afterward, we’ll take a glance forward to Week 16 to see what’s in store for each team’s immediate future.
What Happened: On a cold and windy night at Heinz Field, the Steelers got things going quickly on a series of strange and unexpected plays. Their first score came from a muffed snap on a Bengals punt, ruled down at the one yard line. Le’Veon Bell would punch that one in for six. On the ensuing kickoff, the officials ruled that Cincinnati’s Cedric Peerman had called for a fair catch at the 9-yard line, and Pittsburgh would force a punt and get a short field. They’d score on a 12-yard pass to Antonio Brown. After yet another punt, Brown would get back to work again, taking the return 67 yards to the end zone for a 21-0 Steelers lead after just the first quarter.
In the second, Pittsburgh would sandwich a pair of field goals around Cincinnati’s lone score of the first half, a 1-yard Giovani Bernard run. It was 27-7 at halftime.
After the break, the Steelers would stifle any comeback efforts, adding another field goal for the lone score of the third. Cincinnati found some life in the fourth quarter, however, with a pair of TD passes--one a 1-yarder to Tyler Eifert and the other a 13-yarder to Marvin Jones. They’d fail on the two-point conversion and the lead remained at 10. That’s were things ended, with a final score of 30-20 in favor of the Steelers.
With the win, the Steelers keep their dim postseason hopes alive and may even avoid a losing season. They’re 6-8.
As for the Bengals, they fall to 9-5 and miss a key opportunity to move up in the AFC standings.
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The Stars: Were it not for the strange chain of events in the first quarter, this would have been a very close game. Be that as it may, there were a few statistical standouts. Antonio Brown was one of the major reasons Pittsburgh was able to jump out to that huge lead, and he finished with five receptions for 66 yards and the TD. His pair of punt returns went for 78 yards and the other score.
Le’Veon bell was also pretty good overall. He rushed for just 57 yards and a 2.4 yard average, but added five receptions for 50 more.
On the other side, A.J. Green had a nice statistical outing, with nine grabs for 93 yards.
The Goats: The Bengals were victims of circumstance more than anything, finding themselves in the unenviable position of playing from three touchdowns back early in the game. As a team, they could only muster 57 yards on the ground, and 20 of those came from Dalton himself.
Peerman’s kickoff gaffe--odd as it was--also deserves mention, as it accounted for a ton of lost yardage at the time.
Pittsburgh’s offense wasn’t completely free from blame--they went just 2-of-10 on third down tries.
Injuries: The game wasn’t the only thing the Bengals lost last night; they also lost James Harrison (concussion) and punter Keven Huber (broken jaw) to injuries. Jermaine Gresham (hip) also left the game.
Pittsburgh fared a little better when it comes to avoiding new injuries. Brett Keisel and Steve McLendon were absent, however.
Outlook: The Bengals will get a home game in Week 16, as they’ll welcome the Vikings to town on Sunday (December 22, 1:00 PM ET on FOX).
As for the Steelers, they’ll hit the road and head up to Green Bay for a matchup against the Packers (December 22, 4:25 PM ET on CBS).
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