For a young Cincinnati Bengals team that's surprised many by staying in playoff contention this late in the season at 7-4, an AFC North divisional showdown against the 8-3 Pittsburgh Steelers was supposed to be a statement game.
Unfortunately, it's been the wrong kind of statement, as the Steelers have taken advantage of a series of Bengals mistakes to race out to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
Cincinnati safety Chris Crocker inexplicably grabbed Pittsburgh WR Mike Wallace despite having excellent 1-on-1 coverage on a Ben Roethlisberger bomb, gift-wrapping a 45-yard pass interference penalty for the Steelers.
Four players later, Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall rumbled into the end-zone for his second rushing TD of the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cincinnati KR Brandon Tate had the ball stripped right out of his hands, giving Pittsburgh excellent field position deep in Bengals territory.
Once again, the veteran Steelers team took advantage, as Roethlisberger found Wallace in the corner of the end-zone on a 12-yard pass a few plays later.