Lets put this first and foremost, the Steelers did not win this game. The Bengals lost the game due to penalties and poor play. This one hurt and the Bengals could have ended it with just holding onto the ball. In fact, Carlos Dunlap said it perfectly on Twitter.
The fan in me is screaming that the officials are missing calls, crown into the head intentionally on Giovani Bernard, I know they called him a runner but that is textbook targeting. A coach lingering on the field after his teams injured player exited to pick a fight with players and the coach isn’t pentalized. All calls that should have been made in every situation. Remember Green Bay against Detroit, a phantom face mask gave the Packers life, when the game was already over.
The writer and objective side of me looks at it like, four turnovers, negative two in turnover ratio, 79 yards in penalties, which the last 30 hurt the most. A game like that, you aren’t going to win many of those games. In fact, you aren’t going to win any games that way.
The Bengals offense played a spectacular fourth quarter, the defense played a great three and a half quarters. If the Bengals offense plays a more complete game, block for A.J. McCarron, and give him time, this game is a lot different. The two point conversion was almost as bad as a failed fake field goal the Florida Gators performed against the Michigan Wolverines in their New Years Day bowl game.
Warning: Rant in progress, starting now.
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As much as I can make excuses for the actions of certain players, the one thing that I hope the league reviews is the fact that a coach after a player was removed from the field, lingered and was picking fights with the opposing team. Joey Porter should have been penalized, whether it is off-setting penalties or just on the Steelers, there should have been a penalty. To make it worse, it wasn’t his player down, he is a defensive coach, and he is not the head coach or coordinator, that should be taken into full consideration.
As for the actions of Mike Munchack, he should be fined at minimum for his actions against Reggie Nelson. The Pittsburgh coaching staff should be under full review for their actions and answer for what happened on the field or sideline in this instance. My end hope is that Munchack is fined and suspended, and Joey Porter is fined.
Now back to the game
A bad throw by McCarron and then little effort by the rest of the team on a picked off ball in the second quarter hurt this team. Terrible blocking by pro-bowl tackle Andrew Whitworth that caused pressure and a fumble by McCarron. A untimely fumble by Jeremy Hill at the end of the game when they could have iced the game, or at least milk the clock. Led to the demise of the Bengals this season.
We will never know if the Bengals would have won with Dalton or gone to New England and out played the Patriots. All we know is that the off-season came early and they have a lot of free agents to focus on. This one is on the offense, this one is one the officials for a spotty called game, definitely not going to make the super bowl crew after this one, and finally defensive mistakes at the end that led to the final field goal.