The Pittsburgh Steelers snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat to win 18-16 in Saturday’s NFL Wild Card match up vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. This was without a doubt one of the wildest and craziest games.
Let’s now take a look at the Good, the Bad & the Ugly of the Game…
When you pull off a miraculous victory like the Steelers did Saturday evening ,lots of good had to fall your way. Let’s start with linebacker Ryan Shazier. Shazier had a great game , probably his best as a Pro and it couldn’t have come at a better time. He made 13 tackles and forced 2 fumbles. The last one was a major turning point in the game with 1:36 left in the game and the Steelers desperately needing to get the ball back.
The Steelers forced 4 turnovers in this game as Jarvis Jones came up with a sack and forced fumble and Antwon Blake an interception.
On offense wide receiver Martavis Bryant answered the challenge with two huge plays. He had a key 44 yard run on a reverse and made one of the most amazing catches ever for the Steelers only touchdown. Bryant finished with 5 catches for 29 yards and a touchdown and 44 rushing yards.
Ben Roethlisberger completed 18 -31 for 229 yards and a touchdown for a quarterback rating of 92. This was good considering the poor weather conditions with it pouring rain most of the game.
Roethlisberger’s most impressive drive was his last. Entering the game after leaving with an injured shoulder and not knowing if his shoulder would hold up or how far he could throw, Roethlisberger completed 5 of 7 passes for 40 yards and was a big part of the Steelers being in position to win in the end. This may have been his most gutsy performance yet as on that last drive he was playing on sure will and determination.
Reserve running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman stepped up to major roles and preformed well. Toussaint ran 17 times for 58 yards and caught 4 passes out of the backfield for another 60 receiving yards. He also excelled at pass blocking.
Todman had 11 carries for 65 yards. Both Todman and Toussaint came through at key points of the game and both played above the line.
The bottom line is the Steelers stepped up and made plays when they had to be made and the Bengals imploded.
The Steelers defense played well for the most part but that they gave up a 15 point 4th quarter lead is a bit of a problem. The Steelers must do a better job of holding a late double-digit lead, especially in the Playoffs.
Another bad aspect of this game is yes the Steelers got the win, but it was not without a cost. Their two most valuable players on offense Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are injured and their future for this weekends game are still uncertain. Hopefully Roethlisberger and Brown will play, losing either one could be a major blow to the Steelers playoff future.
The continued unsportsmanlike play of Cincinnati Bengal linebacker Vontaze Burfict is just about as ugly as it gets. This player just does not get it. He repeatedly has no regard for the rules or the well-being of the players around him. The NFL has announced a 3 game suspension for Burfict in 2016 and its about time.
The Bengals continue to make excuses for their loss. The fact is the Steelers made the plays when they had to and the Bengals lost control and lost the game.This has been a trait of the Bengals for years now in big games… Losers make excuses…Winners make plays to win, if the shoe fits,wear it!