PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ 75-game sack streak is no more.
Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals eluded, evaded and straight up walled off the Pittsburgh pass rush for 60 minutes on Sunday, snapping the streak at 75 games and leading to a 24-10 Cincinnati victory.
Burrow was hurried several times and was hit just once — on a play that was called roughing the passer against linebacker Melvin Ingram. The Steelers were without top edge rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, who both missed the game with groin injuries.
“We got some hits on him early,” defensive captain Cam Heyward said. “We caused an interception because of it, but then after that, they got the lead, and he wasn’t really exposed to that. He got the ball out quick. Tip the hat to their offense. That’s going to be the game-plan for any team that plays us. They’re not going to sit back and let us do it. When we don’t get the lead, we do not get the chance to really light our hair on fire, and that’s what’s going to happen.”
The Steelers offense started slowly for the third straight game, and this time, the defense couldn’t keep the opposition off the board, with Burrow turning a Ben Roethlisberger interception into points and hitting Ja’Marr Chase on a big play near the end of the first half.
“We just have to come out and practice harder,” safety Terrell Edmunds said. “We’ve just got to figure out what drives us as a team and come out together and stay together as a team. Come out and just practice harder next week and let’s go get this win because we all know what we’re capable of. They just came out and played a hard game tonight. They were the better team tonight but we’re going come out next weekend. We’ve got to show them what Steelers football is all about.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin, like Heyward, attributed the lack of pressure more to the fact that the Bengals never trailed than anything else, including the lack of available personnel.
“They were in control of the game,” Tomlin said. “It was 24-7 for a significant portion of the game. When you’re in that position, you’re not going to expose yourself to negativity. It’s situational. Yes, we had people missing, but how the game was unfolding was an element of play in that as well.”
Neither Highsmith or Watt is expected to miss a significant amount of time, unlike tackle Tyson Alualu, who was placed on injured reserve on Monday and is out indefinitely.