As the Bengals attempted their first punt of the game, the snap was mishandled by punter Kevin Huber, who was immediately tackled by Will Allen of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This allowed for Pittsburgh’s offense to take the field on Cincinnati’s one-yard line, which led to walk in touchdown for Le’Veon Bell.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bengals running back Cedric Peerman inadvertently waved for a fair catch at the nine-yard line, while calling return man Brandon Tate off the ball. This led to another three and out for Cincinnati, which forced it to punt in its own territory yet again.
This time the punt was away clean and received by Antonio Brown. As Brown obtained the ball, the field opened up and he pranced 67 yards up the middle of the field for another Steelers’ touchdown.
On the punt Huber was demolished by Terrance Garven, which sidelined him for the rest of the game with a broken jaw. His replacement was Cincinnati’s place kicker Mike Nugent.
It was these few plays on special teams which would ultimately be the difference in the ball game. Special teams for the Pittsburgh Steelers created a 14-point lead that allowed them to control the clock and open up their full playbook. Once this momentum was captured by the Steelers, there was no looking back as Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati 30-20.
Although the Steelers playoff appearance looks doubtful, mathematically they are still in the race and they can hold out hope for one more week.