Mike Tomlin credits “significant sequence” for Bengals victory

Nov 20, 2022, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine (34)
Nov 20, 2022, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine (34) / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer

The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Acrisure Stadium, 37-30. And while there are several reasons for this, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin credits a “significant sequence.”

During his post-game press conference, Tomlin mentioned his team’s lack of execution with an advantageous field position. “…when you’re in a battle like that, you got the short field, you’ve got to produce points. We didn’t. I thought it was significant.” He went on to say, “We pinned them back, and they went plus ninety and scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive. And I just thought that was a significant sequence in the game.”

As a refresher, Pittsburgh started one of their fourth-quarter drives from the Bengals’ 47-yard line after a Drue Chrisman punt. Cincinnati was leading 27-23 with 10:59 left. They managed a first down before moving backward because of penalties. 

Mike Tomlin explains the significant sequence that propeled the Bengals to victory

But it was also a tremendous defensive effort from the Bengals, which forced two incompletions before Pittsburgh elected to punt on a fourth and 18. 

Then Burrow and the Bengals' offense went to work. The first play was a 27-yard completion to Tyler Boyd. The second play was a grab and an excellent run after the catch by Trenton Irwin for 35 yards. Cincinnati capped off the drive with a seven-yard Samaje Perine touchdown reception. 

That sequence of plays put the Bengals up 34-23 and the game out of reach for the Steelers.  

It was the epitome of complimentary football. 

Later, when asked again about what happened to a Steelers team that played so well in the first half, Tomlin reiterated, “I thought that was a significant sequence that defined the second half and ultimately the outcome of the game. We got the ball at midfield, and we don’t produce points. We pin them back, and they go the length of the field. That’s a significant swing.”

Minkah Fitzpatrick was also asked about that particular course of events. “That was big, they scored seven on a 93-yard drive,” the star safety said. “For them, that’s time off the clock. They did what they wanted to do. So, that’s big for them.”

Speaking of big, many players came up big for Cincinnati in that spot. The offensive line gave Joe Burrow time in the pocket. Burrow found his receivers and delivered perfect passes. Boyd, Irwin, and Perine each had big-time plays. Even running back Trayvon Williams had an eight-yard run that gashed the Steelers' defense. 

On defense, Trey Hendrickson came up with a big QB pressure on a second and long to force an incompletion that forced the eventual punt by Pittsburgh, which led to the decisive 93-yard drive. 

There were several reasons the Bengals were successful when facing their AFC North rival the second time around. The biggest may have been that the offensive line played astronomically better. Also, the long snapper was healthy. 

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But that “significant sequence” undoubtedly played an important role in sealing the game for Cincinnati. Hopefully, we will talk about other chains of events that will have led the Bengals to the playoffs and beyond. 

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