The Bengals-Steelers game is going to be dissected in every possible way over the coming days and there are just so many potential angles. Joe Burrow turned the ball over five times.
The Bengals spent a ton of money on their brand new offensive line and they were basically a sieve, allowing seven sacks. Cincinnati missed not one, but two, potential game-winning kicks partially thanks to an injury to their long-snapper. Mitchell Trubisky won a football game as a starting quarterback for the first time since 2020.
All of those stories deserve to be told, and they will be. But you can chalk all of those things up to weird stuff that can happen in an NFL football game.
What can’t be chalked up to randomness is a completely boneheaded coaching decision that the Bengals made in overtime. After Burrow was sacked for the seventh time, the Bengals were knocked out of field goal range near the end of overtime.
At that point, they had to play for the tie and punt the football. With the clock running, and the play clock at 15 seconds, the Bengals snapped the ball to the punter who promptly kicked it into the end zone for a touchback. There is no excuse for Cincinnati not running the play clock down the entire way. They could have even taken a delay of game, moved back 5 yards, and then punted.
Because of this egregious error, the Steelers had 56 seconds left with the ball on their own 20, instead of the 41 seconds they should have had.
You probably know the rest of the story. The Steelers drove the ball into Bengals’ territory and kicked the game-winning field goal. The Steelers had nine seconds left when they finally reached field goal range. And those were nine seconds they should have never had.