The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers know each other quite well as AFC North rivals, and that was an advantage for each team's defense in the first half of Saturday's AFC Wild Card matchup. Pittsburgh leads at the half, 6-0.
The teams traded punts on the game's first eight possessions, with the only action coming in the form of chippiness (including some expected personal fouls for two teams that hate each other) and some fantastic play by each team's front seven.
On the ninth possession of the game, the Bengals would force a Markus Wheaton fumble -- the first turnover of the game -- to gain possession at midfield. However, Cincinnati QB AJ McCarron would heave up an ill-advised pass that'd drop ten yards short into the hands of Steelers CB Antwon Blake -- his first INT as a Bengals starter.
Pittsburgh would take advantage, just surviving another personal foul penalty to get into field goal position (thanks to a 23-yard Ben Roethlisberger/Antonio Brown connection). Kicker Chris Boswell would drill a 39-yarder to the provide the game's first points with 2:27 left in the second. That Brown connection was the first real bright spot for Ben Roethlisberger in the first half.
AJ McCarron was off target on the next drive as the Bengals went three and out yet again. McCarron struggled all half, finishing up 7 of 14 for 59 yards and a pick. The Bengals had just two first downs in the first half
Roethlisberger would get one more chance with two minutes to go and three timeouts, and he'd drive the Steelers into the red zone thanks to a couple of big passes and ANOTHER personal foul penalty -- this one for a hit on a defenseless receiver by the Bengals. The drive would stall at the Cincy 12, and Boswell would split the uprights yet again to extend the Steelers advantage to 6-0 heading into the locker room.
Over Cincy's past four playoff appearances (all losses in the four years prior), the Bengals have been outscored 57-6 in the second half -- a stat that doesn't bode well for the Bengals' chances unless they can swing their fortunes 180 degrees.Back to the Cincinnati Bengals Newsfeed