This is not the start that the Bengals envisioned.
After 3 more dismissals in their first possession to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati began its first drive of the season on its 22-yard line. After a sack, Joe Burrow saw Tyler Boyd down to the right in second and 15th. Instead, he found Minka Fitzpatrick of Pittsburgh.
The All-Pro safety jumped in front of Boyd and blocked Burrow’s pass, then made it back into the end zone from 31 yards to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead. This was the first set of turnovers for the Cincinnati quarterback.
The touchdown was the first score on the first Sunday of an NFL season. Pass was Burrow’s first new campaign – not exactly how the Bengals attracted it. With the score, Fitzpatrick became the fourth player in NFL history to record a pick-6 in four of his first five NFL seasons, joining Nate Clements, Ken Houston, and Dion Joan. NFL. According to,
Burrow’s first-half struggle continued when the Bengals scored a field goal in their second possession. In the first and 10 during the ensuing capture of Cincinnati, Burrow faced pressure against an all-out Steelers blitz. Linebacker Alex Highsmith got to Burrow first by defeating left tackle Jonah Williams. Highsmith freed the ball on a strip-sack which Cam Hayward recovered from a defensive tackle.
After five plays, the Steelers scored a field goal to extend their lead to 10–3.
Cincinnati’s next right? you guessed it. Another turnover by Burrow – this is courtesy of the reigning Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watts. A second near midfield and at 14, Watt ran from the right. Tight end Hayden Hurst chipped Watts before running a route. Burrows saw Hearst in the flat. Instead, he found Watt, who jumped near the line of scuffle to intercept Burrow’s pass for an interception.
After seven plays, Steelers quarterback Michelle Trubisky found Nazi Harris for a touchdown to extend Pittsburgh’s lead to 17-3.
The bleeding didn’t stop there. After crossing midfield in their next possession, the Bengals faced first and -10 on Pittsburgh’s 43-yard line. Burrow looked deep into the middle, again at Boyd, who was flanked inside the 20-yard line by three Steelers defenders. This time, cornerback Cameron Sutton came on with an interception at the 15-yard line.
It was Buro’s third interception and fourth turnover of the day. All arrived before halftime. Fortunately for Cincinnati, it didn’t result in a Steelers score.
To make matters worse, the Bengals lost wide receiver T Higgins in a jiffy before halftime.
Expectations are high in Cincinnati, when Burrow led the Bengals to the Super Bowl in his second NFL season. Armed with a superior offensive line in Jammer Chase, Higgins and Joe Mixon and some of the game’s most explosive offensive weapons, there’s plenty of reason to believe the Bengals will once again struggle.
A huge Steelers defense has other ideas.