The Steelers defense did their job for the most part, the Steelers offense didn\’t. The Steelers had to settle for 4 red zone field goals and gave up yet another kickoff return for a touchdown in a 18-12 loss to Cincinnati. The Bengals defense did a great job blitzing at the right times and keeping quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the pocket and uncomfortable most of the afternoon. Roethlisberger had pedestrian numbers on the day, going 20 of 40 for a mere 174 yards and 1 interception. Santonio Holmes led all receivers with 7 catches for 88 yards.
The Steelers defense was up to the test despite losing strong safety Troy Polamalu early in the game as he aggravated his left knee injury. Polamalu was set to have an MRI, but the results are not yet known. The defense managed to hold the Bengals to 178 yards passing and 61 yards rushing. More importantly no offensive touchdowns. The defense also managed to sack Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer twice and only allowed 4 of 14 3rd down conversions on the day.
The biggest play of the day though belonged to the Bengals kick return team as Bernard Scott ran back the kickoff following the first Steelers score, 96 yards for a touchdown. It was the 3rd kickoff return for a touchdown the Steelers special teams has allowed in the last 4 weeks. It ended up being the only touchdown scored on the day.
The Bengals managed to sweep the regular-season series with Pittsburgh for the first time since 1998 and now lead the division by a full two games because of it. In addition to the Polamalu injury, rookie cornerback Keenan Lewis suffered a rib injury. His status will not be fully known until Tuesday. The Steelers next travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs on Sunday.