3 things we learned from Bengals’ dominant week 12 win vs Steelers

Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple – Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

Bengals defense is legit

Not much was expected of Lou Anarumo’s crew after two extremely subpar seasons, despite the front office and their willingness to spend. After an extremely poor 2019, Anarumo got some of the players needed to revamp an old, tired defense. The results weren’t exactly stellar.

2020 showed a willingness to add players via free agency and the draft, but too many injuries hit and the unit was once again laughably bad. While this certainly wasn’t solely on Anarumo, something had to give for this team to contend.

Thus far in 2021, with the exception of a couple of games, (we know which ones I’m referring to), the defense has been excellent. The post-BYE week return to form of what has been considered an overachieving defense felt good against the Raiders. If the Bengals had struggled on any level against Pittsburgh, the alarms would’ve once again sounded regarding this unit, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.

Not only did the defense correct the effort and tackling issues from the Cleveland and New York games, but they also held the Steelers — and prized rookie Najee Harris — to one rushing first down, 51 total yards rushing, and a sad 3.4 yards per carry.

In the air, it wasn’t much better for the Steelers, with an opportunistic, big-play defense picking off Big Ben twice, including once for a touchdown.

How many times in years past have the Bengals been feeling good about themselves only to have Pittsburgh roll into town and spoil the good vibes? Too many, that’s for certain. No more.

This Bengal defense is legit, and provided they stay relatively healthy should propel the team to a playoff spot.