Three weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were 11-0 and rolling toward the #1 seed in the AFC as well as what looked like was going to be a perfect season. Three weeks later, however, they have dropped all three of their games consecutively, falling to 11-3 in the process. Monday night’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals is the worst of the bunch, coming in a 27-17 defeat that honestly wasn’t even close. And, to make matters worse, it came at the hands of a team that had won just twice in their opening 13 games.
The Bengals struck first, getting a field goal in the first quarter and then adding two touchdowns via Giovani Bernard (after turnovers from the yellow and black) in the second to take a commanding 17-0 lead into the halftime break. The Steelers, never ones to lay down, mounted a comeback effort, scoring ten points in the third to close, but the fourth just wasn’t dominant enough for them to claw their way back into the game entirely. The loss not only kills even more momentum for the Steelers, but it also all but hands the Kansas City Chiefs the top seed- and the only bye- in the first round of this season’s playoffs. The Chiefs are at 13-1 now, followed by the 11-3 Buffalo Bills and then the Steelers. The Chiefs clinch the top seed with a win next week against the Falcons, an almost sure-fire prospect at this stage if we’ve ever seen one.