It was supposed to be a valid match against a side that wins two, the perfect stage on Monday night soccer to halt the slide of two matches and regain the North Asia title for the first time since 2017.
Instead, it was an embarrassment.
Instead of clinching the division, the Pittsburgh Steelers fell for the third time in a row in a 27-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, which cut off the Steelers’ 11-game winning streak against the franchise.
The Steelers entered Monday’s match, winning 14.5 points. With the loss, they equaled their biggest surprise defeat since 1966.
Including the Ramez loss to the Jets on Sunday, the 15th week was the fourth time in the Super Bowl era that two underdogs over the age of 14 had won.
Ben Rothlesberger, The 38-year-old Steelers midfielder, each time looked like his age in the first half, collecting a performance that led to the worst offensive effort in any first half in his 17-season career with the Steelers.
In addition to setting new lows in passing yards (seven) and yards per game (1.4), the Steelers matched the fewest first touchdowns (two) and most first-half turnovers (three) with Roethlisberger as a start on their way to the 17-point first-half deficit.
The Bengalis took these three turns – feel and trap – and turned them into two touchdowns and a field goal.
Instead of relying on short passes, Rothlisberger came out and attempted long and medium throws that seemed to be missing from the attack in the past few weeks. But he was unsuccessful in pushing the ball down the field, causing his receivers to fail and drop.
The hiccups that hit its receivers in recent games weren’t the problem. Roethlisberger’s throws weren’t just on the mark.
Roethlisberger failed to complete any of his seven throws over 10 yards in the first half, and six of them were dismantled or intercepted by the Bengals defenders.
For the first time in 20 seasons – including after-season – the Steelers went three times on their first five possessions, including a two-point count that resulted in 10 points for Bengals. It was the first time since the third week of 2017 in the Bears that the Steelers lost two steps in the first quarter.
The Steelers failed to hit their first first quarter landing for the first time since 2018 as the eighth week against Brown. Their first landing on Monday came less than 10 minutes earlier in the second quarter.
The Steelers began breaking out of the three-point hatch in the third quarter, with Rothlesberger completing seven of 10 passes at 89 yards and landing in a 23-yard deep strike to Deontay Johnson, His first achievement in more than 10 airfields on Monday.
Play without James Conner, Who was disqualified with a quadruple injury prior to Monday’s match, the running match was again non-existent in the first half. But Penny Snell Jr.. He came alive in the second half, with a sprint of 13 and 29 yards. The 29-yard gain was the Steelers’ longest run since Week 2, when Conner shot 59 yards.
However, that was not enough.
Roethlisberger finished the game and completed 20 of 38 attempts at 170 yards with one landing and one interception – just enough to give him 60,000 yards in his career.
Bengals crime led by quarterback from the third series Ryan Finley The Steelers’ defense wore out while playing with severe injuries to his home back. Finlay used his legs in a decisive campaign that spanned the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter to score 23 yards, and landing the match.
Before the Monday night match, the Steelers saw that a stretch of three games in 12 days contributed to the first two losses of the season. They thought this week was a chance to reclaim their distinctive body and finally get a full week of much-needed preparation. Instead, crime faltered again, and so did the Steelers, too.
A research from ESPN Stats & Information was used for this report.