There’s something about Monday Night Football that Mike Tomlin relishes. The game against the Bengals not only continued his winning streak under the television lights, but Steeler Nation witnessed an explosive performance from a team that had yet to register a win on the season.
Despite falling behind to an early field goal, the Steelers came back to show their character using the beautiful script put together by offensive co-ordinator Randy Fichtner.
Mason Rudolph was protected by Fichtner’s game plan that used short passes, chicanery and a running game that finally found its feet and its hands. #
James Conner confirmed his ability that he had been hiding in the previous three games. His 42 yards on the ground were overshadowed by his 83 yards receiving and he got better as the game went on.
The MNF commentator noted the offense seemed to be playing downhill as they pounded their opponents. Jaylen Samuels who totalled 15 yards in his first three games contributed 57 yards receiving and 26 yards rushing. As Fichtner intriguing scheme unravelled, Samuels took seven direct snaps adding three pass attempts and completing them for 31 yards.
Mason Rudolph completed 24 of his 28 pass attempts for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. His 85.7% (24 of 28) completion percentage (minimum 20 completions) is the highest for a quarterback in his second career start or earlier since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.
The defense paid their part in this victory with eight sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception. Andy Dalton was sacked a career-high 8 times which tied for the Steelers’ most in a game over the last 15 seasons.
Cam Heyward with 2.5 sacks was the Digest Player of the Week.
“This defense looked like the defenses of old,” noted Ramon Foster. “I don’t want to disrespect those guys. They were hot. It was really cool seeing those guys come up the way they did – T.J., Cam, Tuitt. If I don’t say a name, forgive me. They were good. Coach Tomlin and Coach (Keith Butler) are doing a good job with those guys.”