It was a game with a plot twist worthy of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and more surprises than a penny shop romance book. On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers held a lead against the reigning AFC champions for more than 57 minutes. Then, with only two seconds remaining, it appeared as though they were about to suffer their fourth consecutive series loss.
After a blocked extra point and two failed field goals in overtime, the Steelers finally prevailed 23-20 over the Cincinnati Bengals on Chris Boswell’s 53-yard kick with no time remaining.
Pat Freiermuth, who had two catches for 36 yards on the game-winning drive and described the situation as “wild,” a tight end. The game went back and forth between feeling like you were going to win and feeling like you were going to lose three or four times.
The Steelers had just tied the game at 20, despite having forced five turnovers, sacking Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow seven times, and making two defensive stops in the fourth quarter.
It was only the extra point that separated the Steelers from a disheartening defeat. Minkah Fitzpatrick was able to prevent a field goal by rookie Evan McPherson, who earlier in the game had kicked a 59-yard field goal and converted 46 of 48 extra points.
McPherson’s 29-yard field goal attempt was blocked, and Boswell’s 55-yard attempt hit the left upright in overtime. Mitch Trubisky drove the Steelers offense deep into Bengals territory, and Chris Boswell kicked a 53-yard field goal right down the middle, preventing the Steelers’ first season-opening tie in five years.
Chris Boswell on the win over Cincinnati ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/vDPfaK6X4k
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 11, 2022
“We found out a lot about this squad,” said Trubisky, who didn’t throw an interception in his first start after replacing Ben Roethlisberger. Through it all, we remained a unit. Still, a lot of mess to straighten out, but we managed to pull out a victory in the end.
While the Steelers came out on top, they paid a steep price for the victory. T.J. Watt, the NFL’s defensive player of the year, suffered a pectoral injury late in the game and may be out for a while. Najee Harris, a running back, also left the game in overtime because of a foot injury.
With this victory, the Steelers improved to 53-0 over the last half-century when their defense produced four or more takeaways and sacks. Within the first three minutes of the game, Fitzpatrick threw a pick-six for 31 yards, giving the Steelers a lead that would hold until the waning seconds of regulation.
— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2022
Another of Burrow’s fumbles occurred after one of Alex Highsmith’s three sacks, and the Steelers scored 17 points off of the turnovers. As a result, the offensive wasn’t completely ineffective, scoring just one score and finishing with 172 yards.
Coach Mike Tomlin deemed it sufficient. “Both the special teams and the defense are 1-0, and so are we. If we win or lose, it’s as a team. The Steelers won the coin toss but went three-and-out in overtime after Fitzpatrick’s blocked extra point sent the game into extra time.
Only once in their first 13 offensive series did the Steelers get multiple first downs; it was on the drive that culminated in Harris’ 1-yard touchdown reception that gave the Steelers a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter.
With 3:33 remaining, the Bengals had an opportunity to win, but McPherson’s field goal attempt from 29 yards out missed to the left. McPherson had two missed field goal tries when the Bengals were missing long snapper, Clark Harris.
Although Harris wasn’t present, McPherson didn’t let it stop him. Saying, “That’s within the range of my left foot,” With 2:27 remaining, the Steelers were given new life when Boswell was asked to attempt a 55-yard field goal. The left upright was struck by the kick.
Boswell has said, “I always want one more shot.” Whether or not I understand it is a separate question. If you blow the first chance there, you probably won’t get another. With 1:38 remaining in the game, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was sacked by Steelers slot corner Arthur Maulet for a 12-yard loss that put the team out of field-goal range.
With only 20 seconds remaining and a chance to win, the Steelers took advantage. It was clear that we were playing for a victory,” Trubisky added. There was a second opportunity before us, and we intended to make the most of it. In addition to playing wisely and protecting the football, our goal was to win. We were hoping to avoid a deadlock scenario.
For a gain of 26 yards, Trubisky showed initiative by scrambling on a free play and finding Freiermuth in the end zone. A further pass to Freiermuth moved the ball 10 yards to the Bengals’ 35.
A wide receiver on the team, Chase Claypool, expressed his satisfaction that the team was able to find success despite the offensive challenges they faced. The defense deserved that from us.
With zero seconds remaining and an incomplete pass, the Steelers decided to stop the clock and give Boswell a chance to score the game-winning field goal. Money Boz “ain’t going to miss twice,” Highsmith added. We all knew that the second one was going in because he is Money Boz.
That was the finish of a game the Steelers arguably should have lost. In spite of their many takeaways and sacks, the defense still allowed the Bengals to run 94 plays for a time advantage of 17 minutes.
Though, the defense did make two fourth-quarter stops on the Bengals. At the Steelers’ 23, Ahkello Witherspoon picked off a pass, and then, with under two minutes remaining, the defense stopped the Bengals on fourth down from the one-yard line. Cameron Heyward, a defensive tackle, claimed, “They attempted to put us out and tried to kill us.” After each setback, “we kept getting back up.”
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