CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow sat at his locker, legs outstretched, staring forward in a room that had principally emptied.
If he was making an attempt to make sense of what occurred in Cincinnati’s season opener, he wasn’t alone. The Bengals endured a day that featured a number of turnovers, an upended kicking game and a rocky outing in a 23-20 additional time loss to the (*5*) Steelers. In Cincinnati’s first game since Super Bowl LVI, Burrow dedicated 5 turnovers, the Bengals missed two probabilities to win the game and had been left with a bitter consequence.
“We had our probabilities,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor mentioned. “To lose the turnover battle 5 to nothing, to have kick operations ruined on two kicks that each would have gained the game, is disheartening in that manner.”
Chris Boswell’s 53-yard subject purpose on the finish of additional time allowed the Steelers to flee with a win and snap a three-game shedding streak towards their AFC North rivals.
Burrow threw a career-high 4 interceptions and misplaced a fumble in the workforce’s loss. He was additionally sacked six instances. And but, the Bengals had been nonetheless in a place to drag off an inconceivable win.
“Obviously, you do not need to throw 4 picks,” Burrow mentioned. “But I by no means panicked. We stayed even-keeled and we got here again and put us in a place to win.”
At the tip of regulation, Burrow threw a 6-yard landing go to vast receiver Ja’Marr Chase to tie the game at 20 with two seconds left. But Steelers defensive again Minkah Fitzpatrick, who returned an interception for a landing on Cincinnati’s first drive of the game, blocked the potential game-winning further level. Cincinnati’s special-teams unit had a shot at redemption in the additional interval. Bengals kicker Evan McPherson missed a 29-yard subject purpose that might have gained the game in additional time.
On each of these kicks, Cincinnati was utilizing tight finish Mitchell Wilcox because the long-snapper. Clark Harris, who has held the place for the workforce since 2009, suffered a proper biceps damage that dominated him out for the tip of regulation and additional time. Wilcox, who mentioned he was a long-snapper in highschool and a backup in faculty at South Florida, took over.
“We had an opportunity on the first one,” Wilcox mentioned. “It simply obtained blocked. On the second, it is on me. I’ve obtained to offer [punter Kevin Huber] a greater snap there.”
Boswell additionally missed a 55-yard subject purpose with 2:27 left in additional time that might have ended the game. His kick sailed left and smacked the left upright, leaving the game undecided till he ended it on the finish of additional time.
(*5*) was unable to drag away regardless of the large turnover benefit. Cincinnati’s protection restricted the Steelers to 267 whole yards. In his debut with the workforce, Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky was 21-of-38 for 194 yards, one landing and one interception. Steelers working again Najee Harris was held to 23 yards on 10 carries and didn’t end the game due to a foot damage.
“It was sufficient,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin mentioned of the workforce’s offensive efficiency.
Last 12 months the Bengals trounced the Steelers twice on their technique to a division title that led to their first playoff berth since 2015. That postseason run yielded the workforce’s first postseason win in 31 years and the workforce’s first Super Bowl look since 1989.
In many situations final season, Cincinnati was in a position to do exactly sufficient to squeak out a victory. On Sunday, the Bengals virtually pulled a optimistic consequence out of a game that featured a bunch of unlucky occasions.
Instead, they had been left making an attempt to piece collectively a wild season-opening loss.
“A loss is a loss,” Bengals vast receiver Tyler Boyd mentioned. “It hurts all the identical. “We had a chance and did not pull it off.”