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Steelers' Keep Pace Atop The AFC North With Win Over Bengals

By Danny Cox

As the game got underway, it appeared the Pittsburgh Steelers' four-game winning streak was in jeopardy. The Steelers trailed the Bengals 20-6 in the second quarter. Luckily, kicker Chris Boswell stayed the course and was able to boot the Steelers back into the game. In the end, the Steelers pulled out a 24-20 victory for their fifth straight win.

Offense: B

The Steelers' explosive offense sputtered in week 15. Sure, Le'veon Bell still had a good game with 93 yards on the ground and another 38 yards receiving. Ben Roethlisberger also played well with 286 yards on 21-of-36 passing and one touchdown. However, the offense kept stalling out, which led to six field goals from Boswell. The Steelers converted only five of 13 third downs on the day.

Defense: B

The defense played well despite giving up 20 points, as the majority of those points came from the Bengals having a short field. Pittsburgh only gave up 222 yards of total offense while causing a turnover and sacking Andy Dalton once. Dalton did have a rushing touchdown, as did Jeremy Hill. Overall, the Steelers stopped the Bengals from doing too much offensively.

Special Teams: B+

If not for poor kick return coverage on the day, the special teams unit would have easily earned an A. Cincinnati's Alex Erickson had five kick returns for 166 yards with a long of 72. This gave the Bengals good field position, which allowed them to get the 20 points on the day.

On the other side of the coin, Boswell was on point and hit all six of his field goal attempts with a long of 49 yards. Actually, he hit from 49 yards twice and five of his six successful attempts were from 40 yards or more. Boswell's accurate leg was key to the Steelers' win.

Coaching: C+

At times, the Steelers looked lost out on the field, which was a surprise considering how well the team has played as of late. If the Steelers are going to win the AFC North, they will need to play better next week when they face the Baltimore Ravens, which all starts with coaching.

Up Next:

A win against the Ravens in week 16 will secure the division title for the Steelers. However, more than field goals will be necessary if the Steelers wish to keep this year's playoff push rolling in the right direction and win the AFC North crown.

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