Steelers vs. Bengals score, takeaways: Mitch Trubisky, Pittsburgh sink Cincy in OT for wild Week 1 win – CBS Sports

Steelers vs. Bengals score, takeaways: Mitch Trubisky, Pittsburgh sink Cincy in OT for wild Week 1 win - CBS Sports

CINCINNATI — A wild game had a somewhat normal ending. After both teams missed game-winning field goal attempts, Steelers kicker Chris Boswell drilled a 53-yard field goal on the final play of overtime to lift Pittsburgh to a 23–20 victory in Cincinnati. Two big completions from Mitch Trubisky to Pat Freiermuth on Pittsburgh’s final possession set up Boswell’s game-winning kick.

With Clark Harris, the Bengals’ long snapper, injured, Cincinnati missed its first game-winning field goal attempt. Pittsburgh, however, was unable to make its game-winning attempt when Boswell’s 55-yard attempt hit the left crossbar 70 seconds after Evan McPherson missed a 29-yard attempt. McPherson, who lost Harris in regulation, had his game-winning point-after attempt blocked by Minkah Fitzpatrick with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Before the miss, the Bengals tied the score on Joe Burrow’s six-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase.

The visiting Steelers, aided by four Bengal turnovers, took a 17-6 lead over the defending AFC champions at halftime. Pittsburgh’s defense recorded three first-half interceptions by Burrow, including Fitzpatrick’s 31-yard pick-six in the opening minutes of the game. The Steelers extended their lead to 17-3 after Trubisky hit Najee Harris on a 1-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter. The score was set up by the interception of Burrow’s TJ Watt, who before Sunday’s game had never thrown multiple interceptions in a first half.

The only score of the third quarter was Burrow’s two-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd which was followed by Burrow’s two-point completion to Mike Thomas. Despite Burrow throwing his fourth interception of the game six minutes into the fourth quarter, the Bengals’ deficit was only six points when Cincinnati took over at their own 30-yard line with 6:05 left. From there, the Bengals drove to the Steelers’ 2-yard line before Burrow’s fourth-down pass to Chase was broken up in the end zone by Cam Sutton. Cincinnati found the end zone on its next possession before Fitzpatrick’s blocked point-after attempt forced overtime.

Here’s a full breakdown of what happened in Cincinnati:

Why the Steelers won

The Steelers’ opportunistic defense won the game. Pittsburgh’s offense did just enough to get the Steelers to the finish line. The Steelers enjoyed stellar play from Fitzpatrick, who reinforced his status as one of the NFL’s best defensive backs.

Why the Bengals lost

Five turnovers are almost impossible to beat, especially when you don’t force one of our own. The Bengals were unable to run the ball in the first half and were unable to consistently protect Burrow, who spent much of the day on his back.

Turning point

The Steelers were in control after Watt sacked Burrow midway through the second quarter with Pittsburgh ahead 17-6. Burrow and Chase connected for a 24-yard gain on the next play to help set up the Bengals’ first score. The game was a slugfest from that point forward.

Game of the game

After missing his first attempt, Boswell was true on his second field goal attempt in overtime. Boswell made the kick despite a considerable wind blowing from left to right.

Big injuries to both teams

Both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati suffered notable injuries. Bengals wideout Tee Higgins left the game for good after suffering a head injury in the second quarter. Higgins, who caught two passes for 27 yards before his injury, was initially questionable to return when he was evaluated for a concussion.

Harris and Watt left the game during the fourth quarter. Watt suffered a hamstring injury, while Harris left the game with an injured foot.

Trubisky solid in Steelers debut

The former Bears quarterback didn’t light up the stat sheet in his Steelers debut. He went 21 of 38 for 194 yards along with his touchdown pass to Harris. Their two greatest completions in regulation were to tight ends Zach Gentry (32 yards) and Pat Freiermuth (31 yards). Trubisky threw well in overtime, completing a 25-yard pass to Diontae Johnson before Boswell’s missed field goal attempt. His completions of 26 and 10 yards to Freiermuth moments later set up Boswell’s game-winning score.

Offensive lines are struggling

Both offensive lines have struggled despite both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati adding talent through free agency this offseason. The Bengals’ rebuilt line struggled to contain Burrow, who was sacked seven times by the Steelers’ defense. Three of those sacks were accounted for by Steelers third-year outside linebacker Alex Highsmith.

Pittsburgh’s offensive line struggled to open holes for Harris, who finished the game with 23 yards on 10 carries. The Steelers’ leading rusher was receiver Chase Claypool, who gained 36 yards on six carries.

What follows

The Steelers will begin the home portion of their schedule next Sunday against the Patriots. Pittsburgh last beat New England in Week 15 of the 2018 season, a 17-10 win at Heinz Field. Cincinnati will head to Dallas to face the Cowboys for their first road game of the campaign. The Bengals have lost four straight against the Cowboys, including a 30-7 decision back in December of 2020. Cincinnati’s last win against Dallas came in 2004, when Carson Palmer led the Bengals to a 26-3 victory.

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