The first half saw a few big plays, fairly solid defense, and a game tied at 10-10.
The third quarter was marked by a resurgent Bengals defense, and more importantly, first year star Giovani Bernard – who in just his second career game, stole the spotlight for Cincinnati’s offense.
As Bernard ripped through the Steelers’ defensive line on the ground and outran the secondary on his touchdown run, the Steelers offense was able to manage a total of -2 yards in the first fifteen minutes out of the half time locker room.
Did I mention the name, Jermaine Gresham? As Ike Taylor had a solid game covering Green, Gresham was repeatedly able to break open throughout the field. He impressed in a game where he needed to.
Let’s not forget the man throwing the football. At one point, Andy Dalton hit eight straight passes, spreading the ball around his receivers very efficiently. He also had two or three nice runs. While they weren’t for a lot of yards, each running situation in which he ran demonstrated the third year quarterback’s quick reaction to LeBeau’s mix of defensive schemes.
In the fourth quarter, you quickly got the feeling that momentum was completely shifted towards Cincinnati. And with the Bengals offense running on all four cylinders, the game became a matter of whether or not the Steelers defense would be able to stop the proverbial bleeding.
With less than eight minutes to go, the Bengals took a ten point lead. And for the first time in a long time, Cincinnati just needed to hold on for the final possessions. They needed to hold onto a lead that would give them a win against Pittsburgh.
Not just any win.
A win against a bitter division rival on prime time Monday Night Football.
A win that wouldn’t just prevent an 0-2 start, but also one that would represent a changing of the guard in the AFC North. One that would say, “You’ve beaten us before, but no longer will we allow you to march into our home turf and escape The Jungle unscathed.”
And they did just that. Final score? Bengals 20, Steelers 10.