Drubbing by Steelers shows Bengals still lack consistency

November 16, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals' renewed confidence was battered early and often by the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that showed the Bengals still have much work to do before they can compete with the league's better teams.

Cincinnati (2-6-1) was riding high after

Cincinnati just couldn't keep up in the

, had a rough outing against one of the league's best defenses. He was harassed by the pass rush, hit, sacked four times — twice by T.J. Watt — and outfoxed by Pittsburgh's secondary. He hurt his ankle when Pittsburgh's Bud Dupree shoved him into the bench.

Burrow, who was 21 for 40 for 213 yards and a touchdown, put the loss squarely on himself.

“I think we’re in that game if I don’t suck in the second half,” Burrow said. "I’m not going to suck a lot. So we’re going to come back to work every day, and I’m excited to go back to practice on Wednesday and start getting the kinks worked out.”

With featured back Joe Mixon (foot) missing a third straight game and the two starting offensive tackles out, Cincinnati again couldn't get much traction in the run game. That kept most of the pressure on the 23-year-old quarterback.

Burrow said his confidence hasn't been shaken.

“It’s not demoralizing in the locker room," he insisted. "We knew we had a chance in that game if I had played better. If we play better in a couple spots, we were in that game to the end. I’m not too down in the dumps because I’m not going to play like that very often.”


As bad as the Bengals were at hemming in the Steelers' passing game, they were better against the run. Pittsburgh all but abandoned it, and RB James Conner carried 13 times for just 36 yards. It didn't matter with the way Roethlisberger was throwing.


Same old stuff that shows itself against better teams: The patched-together offensive line couldn't give Burrow enough time and allowed four sacks. Cincinnati's hobbled secondary was woeful. The Bengals lost two fumbles.


Rookie WR Tee Higgins has become a reliable option for Burrow. A second-round draft pick from Clemson, Higgins got his second 100-yard game Sunday, grabbing seven passes for 115 yards and a second-quarter touchdown.


The pass rush. Despite the return of DE Sam Hubbard, the Bengals front couldn't get any sustained pressure on Roethlisberger, which allowed the veteran plenty of time to find his receivers.


Burrow said he “rolled his ankle” when he was pushed out of bounds in the first half, but he stayed in the game until the end. Coach Zac Taylor said Monday the quarterback “should be fine.” ... CB Mackensie Alexander left the game with a concussion in the first quarter, and his status for this week is unclear. Losing him was a blow for Cincinnati's secondary, which already was missing three cornerbacks from injuries/illness. ... Mixon is day to day and could return to practice this week.


0: Number of third downs converted in 13 attempts by Cincinnati.


The Bengals have to regroup before traveling to Washington (2-7) to play a much more beatable team. Washington lost to Detroit 30-27 on a 59-yard field goal as time expired on Sunday, despite Alex Smith throwing for 390 yards. Cincinnati still has to face the Steelers and the Ravens again, but its other remaining opponents are less formidable.

“We’ve got to hit the reset button,” Taylor said.


Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchtacy


More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

share story

4-Star WR Tobias Merriweather Has First Talk With Jerry Neuheisel Vancouver (Wash.) Union 2022 receiver Tobias Merriweather was able to talk to UCLA's new receivers coach this week...
Jokic scores 31, Nuggets rally to beat Suns 130-126 in OT Nikola Jokic scored 31 points, Gary Harris added 19 and the Denver Nuggets rallied to force overtime and then beat the Phoenix Suns 130-126
Has another strong performance Hardaway recorded 21 points (8-12 FG, 2-6 3PT, 3-4 FT) and two rebounds in 38 minutes during the 122-117 win over San Antonio on Friday.
Impact Hardaway had another strong game to continue his bounce back efforts in the win Friday. The guard had posted a goose egg two matches prior and is now averaging, 20 points, 2.5 rebounds and one assist in the past two matches during his resurgence. Hardaway has been a consistent producer during the season and should be back to his old ways. He will be viable moving forward.
Posts another double-double Ibaka posted 17 points (7-8 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds and an assist across 28 minutes in Friday's win over the Thunder.
Impact Ibaka didn't record a block and/or a steal just for the third time this season, but he was quite active on the offensive end of the court and delivered his second-best scoring output of the campaign. Ibaka has now scored in double digits in five of his last seven contests and seems to have settled as a secondary -- yet reliable -- scoring alternative on the Clippers' scheme, something that should boost his upside due to his already valuable contributions on both defense and rebounding.