3 takeaways from Bengals frustrating Week 12 loss to Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Bengals lost their third straight game and it always hurts more when it comes against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were able to outlast the Bengals by a score of 16-10 to move to 7-4 while the Bengals dropped to 5-6.

The Steelers had not been good on offense this season but they managed to put up over 400 yards of offense for the first time in 59 games, per the broadcast. Kenny Pickett looked like a serviceable quarterback, throwing for 278 yards on the day. The Steelers run game had their way with Cincinnati's defense. Jake Browning couldn't get his guys a much-needed win.

Let's take a look at some frustrating takeaways from the 16-10 loss to Pittsburgh.

Browning hit and miss

Browning made his first-ever NFL start and while he wasn't terrible, he also wasn't exactly great. He finished the game with 227 yards through the air, one touchdown, and one interception while rushing for nine yards. He had moments where he looked decent but then plays like the interception and taking too many sacks agitated fans.

The Bengals have A.J. McCarron behind Browning so maybe at some point they give the former Bengal a chance to step back into his starting role. We'll have to see what Zac Taylor has to say about that.

Defense all-around bad

It feels harsh to say that a defense that only surrendered 16 points had a bad day but the unit allowed over 400 yards from a bad Steelers offense. The run defense was putrid, surrendering 153 yards and one touchdown on the ground while the Steelers run game averaged 4.6 yards per carry.

The passing defense once again allowed their fair share of explosive plays and Pat Freiermuth had his best game of the season by far. He finished with 120 yards off nine catches and averaged 13.3 yards per catch.

With Joe Burrow out, the Bengals defense has to play better than this or they won't have a chance to win any more games down the stretch.

What run game?

Man, the Bengals really botched their run game situation this offseason. They opted to retain Joe Mixon, let Samaje Perine walk, and spend a fifth-round pick on Chase Brown who has done nothing this year. In this game, Mixon rushed for just 16 yards off of eight carries and Browning had nine yards off of three carries. That's 25 rushing yards with an average yards per carry of 2.3. Ouch.

With the backup quarterback in, the run game has to be successful if the offense wants to put up points and they weren't able to do that. The Bengals need to hit the reset button on their run game this offseason.

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