Bengals-Steelers highlights, lowlights
The following are the highlights and lowlights from the Steelers’ 27-3 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh:
Play of the game: With the Steelers leading 17-3 in the third quarter, quarterback Mason Rudolph looked downfield for a rare time and found rookie receiver Diontae Johnson coming wide-open and zipped a 43-yard touchdown pass to him.
Offensive player of the game: Rudolph completed 24-of-28 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers.
Defensive player of the game: Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward collected 2.5 quarterback sacks among his six tackles.
Most telling statistic: The Steelers sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton eight times.
Hidden statistic: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin ran his Monday night record to 14-2.
Best run: After sitting out a few plays at the beginning of the third quarter with an injury, Pittsburgh’s James Conner re-entered the game and broke three tackles en route to a 21-yard gain (on technically a reception) to the Cincinnati 2-yard line.
Best pass: Rudolph hesitated and then flung the ball between the arms of Cincinnati’s Sam Hubbard, and Conner took it to the end zone from 21 yards out in the second quarter.
Worst pass: Dalton tried to force one to tight end C.J. Uzmah in the end zone in the fourth quarter, and Pittsburgh’s Mark Barron intercepted it.
Best catch: Newly acquired Steelers tight end Nick Vannett went low to haul in an underthrown Rudolph pass for 17 yards and a first down in the third quarter.
Dropped pass: The Bengals were forced to kick a field goal early after tight end Tyler Eifert could not come up with a catchable ball in the end zone in the first quarter.
Best block: Conner took out the Bengals’ Nick Vigil on a Johnson 8-yard short toss and run in the first quarter.
Best tackle: Safety Brandon Wilson gave the Bengals one of their few highlights by stopping Conner in the backfield on a fourth-and-1 run in the first quarter.
Best hit: Pittsburgh linebacker Bud Dupree’s strip sack of Dalton in the second quarter — with T.J. Watt recovering the fumble — helped give the Steelers early momentum.
Best kick: The Steelers’ Chris Boswell drilled a 49-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. He has never missed a field goal attempt against the Bengals.
Worst kick: Cincy’s Kevin Huber had a 29-yard punt in the third quarter.
Worst penalty: A false start by Cincinnati’s Michael Jordan on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter preceeded Barron’s interception of Dalton.
Best call: The Steelers implemented the wildcat formation on offense, and it led to much success.
Worst call: Tomlin challenged an offensive pass interference call on James Washington in the first quarter and lost a timeout.
Best effort: Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels showed his versatility by running the wildcat to near perfection and scored a touchdown off of it.
Unsung hero: Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner found ways to keep Rudolph comfortable while also adding a new wrinkle with the wildcat.