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Steelers Gameday

Steelers’ Can’t Overcome Awful 1st Half, Fall to Bengals 27-17 for 3rd Straight Loss

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CINCINNATI — The Steelers simply couldn’t overcome an ugly first half, with their comeback bid falling short in a 27-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Monday.

The Steelers fell into a 17-point whole almost completely because of the mistakes made by the Pittsburgh offense, a Ben Roethlisberger fumble, a JuJu Smith-Schuster fumble and a Roethlisberger interception set the Bengals up with good field position three times in the first half.

Cincinnati took advantage, first with a field goal and then with Giovanni Bernard scoring on a four-yard rush off tackle and a 14-yard pass from Ryan Finley.

The Steelers’ offense in the first half was woeful, with the team getting just two net passing yards and 40 total yards in the first thirty minutes while turning the ball over the three times.

Things changed on both sides of the ball in the second half. The Steelers’ offense caught fire, with Roethlisberger connecting on 60 yards’ worth of passing on two plays to Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson, the latter a 23-yard touchdown, on the opening drive of the half.

The next Pittsburgh drive stalled in the red zone and ended with a Chris Boswell field goal, and it appeared the comeback was on.

But the Bengals finally broke through for a long drive against the Pittsburgh defense, with Finley taking it himself for a backbreaking 23-yard run on a zone read that fooled rookie outside linebacker Alex Highsmith.

The Steelers drew back to within a score after a Benny Snell 1-yard touchdown, but the final offensive possession failed

The Steelers have now lost three straight games, falling to 11-3 after starting the season 11-0 while the Bengals are 3-11-1, snapping a five-game losing streak.

The Steelers failed to secure a division title, needing a win or a Cleveland loss in Week 15. They will host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. That game is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m.

Steelers Gameday

Alex Highsmith Needs MRI after Ankle Injury Suffered vs. Browns

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PITTSBURGH — Steelers rookie linebacker Alex Highsmith suffered an ankle injury that will require an MRI in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Highsmith left the game in the first half and was seen limping on the Pittsburgh sideline. He made an attempt to return to the game, but was unable to continue playing and did not see the field at all in the second half.

In-game, the Steelers announced that Highsmith was doubtful to return with an ankle injury. After the fact, head coach Mike Tomlin said that Highsmith suffered a high ankle sprain. Highsmith’s father posted on Twitter early on Monday morning that Highsmith will require an MRI on his injured ankle.

Given that Highsmith was able to walk and even run in short bursts after the injury, it does not seem likely that it will impact his offseason training plans.

The team’s third-round draft pick out of Charlotte, Highsmith was thrust into a starting role after starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree suffered  an ACL injury that required surgery.

On the season, Highsmith played in 16 regular season game and made five starts. He finished with 48 tackles, five for a loss, six quarterback hits, one interception and one pass defended.

With Dupree set to become an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to return, Highsmith should be expected to retain his starting role in 2021.

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Steelers

Mike Tomlin Doesn’t Regret Punt, Will Talk to Ben Roethlisberger About Future

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Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answers questions from the media following his team’s shocking defeat at the hands of the Browns in the playoffs. Tomlin explained why he decided to punt on a 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter while trailing by multiple scores. He also touched on the timeline for when he will talk to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about his future with the team.

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Steelers Gameday

JuJu Smith-Schuster Says He Doesn’t Regret ‘Browns Is the Browns’ Comment

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PITTSBURGH — It was repeated so often in the five days between when JuJu Smith-Schuster said the phrase on Wednesday to Sunday night’s game at Heinz Field, that it nearly became the No. 1 talking point coming into the game.

“The Browns is the Browns.”

Before the game, after the game and probably during the game, many of the Browns made it clear that they had taken exception to Smith-Schuster’s characterization of the team.

Smith-Schuster said after the game that he had no regrets about what he said.

“You know, I don’t regret what I said,” Smith-Schuster said. “I said, ‘The Browns is the Browns.’ They came out and they played a hell of a game. You know, there’s been games where we feel we lose them and today wasn’t our night and hopefully the same Browns will show up next week against the same opponent and go out and do the same thing they did tonight and have a hell of a game.”

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