The Pittsburgh Steelers stumbled offensively on Sunday with Ben Roethlisberger throwing a late pick to set up a game-winning field goal for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Roethlisberger's bad decisions were highlighted by the late interception as well as a previous interception returned for a touchdown by Leon Hall. The loss eliminated Pittsburgh from the playoffs, as they needed to win out to qualify for the postseason. The 13-10 defeat had an eerie resemblance to last week's loss to the Dallas Cowboys, which also ended when a Roethlisberger interception led to a decisive field goal. The blame fell on Roethlisberger when Steelers blogger Neal Coolong broke down the game in a postgame recap, although other factors took some responsibility as well.
Injuries dragged this team down, but the final game was decided by the poor play of Roethlisberger in particular, as well as some highly questionable coaching decisions.
The Steelers held the ball on fourth down with under two minutes to play. Staring at a 53-yard field goal, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin elected to kick anyway. Heinz Field has seen six successful field goals of more than 50 yards in its 11-year history.
The loss stings, but doesn't take away from a brilliant performance by an injured Steelers defense. Coolong praised the unit after a game where they allowed ten points, forced three turnovers and kept Pittsburgh in contention until the final minute.
It certainly wasn't their fault the Steelers lost this game. They had nothing to do with Bengals CB Leon Hall's pick six in the first half. They didn't choose to let Shaun Suisham push his career long field goal a yard long in a stadium that only sees successful 50-yard field goals once every two seasons. All they did was completely destroy the Bengals' offense, forcing them to capitalize on two Ben Roethlisberger turnovers for 10 of their 13 points.
The Steelers will need a win in Week 17 to avoid finishing the season below .500 for the first time since 2003.