Bengals–Steelers rivalry

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Cincinnati Bengals–Pittsburgh Steelers
Bengals at Steelers MRR 0215.jpg
Cincinnati Bengals wordmark.svg
Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers Script.svg
Pittsburgh Steelers
First meeting November 2, 1970
Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Cincinnati Bengals 10
Latest meeting October 22, 2017
Bengals 14 Steelers 29
Next meeting December 4, 2017
Statistics
Meetings total 96
All-time series PIT: 61–35
Regular season series PIT: 59–35
Postseason results PIT: 2–0
January 8, 2006
Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Cincinnati Bengals 17
January 9, 2016
Pittsburgh Steelers 18, Cincinnati Bengals 16
Largest victory CIN: 42-7 (11/06/1988)
Longest win streak CIN: 6 (1988–90)
PIT: 8 (1991–94)
Current win streak PIT: 5 wins
Championship Success

Super Bowl Championships (6)

Conference Championships (10)

Divisional Championships (31)

The Bengals–Steelers rivalry is an NFL rivalry. The two teams have played each other twice a year since becoming division rivals in 1970, the lone exception being 1982, when the annual matchup in Cincinnati was canceled due to the player's strike; the teams only met in Week 2 in Pittsburgh that season just before the start of the strike. Originally placed in the AFC Central following the AFL–NFL merger, the two teams currently compete in that division's successor, the AFC North.

Overview[edit]

Considered one of the most "one-sided rivalries" in professional sports as the Steelers hold a 28-9 record against the Bengals since 2000.

Not quite as historic as the Bengals–Browns rivalry, however, many Bengals fans consider the Steelers to be their greatest rivals, much like Cleveland Browns fans. (Steeler fans, however, often consider the Baltimore Ravens as their top rival.) It is disputed which is the more widely bitter rivalry, but this specific rivalry is often ranked as one of the NFL's most bitter, chiefly due to the Steelers having more championships and the events of the 2005 wild card playoff game between the two teams. Similarly, these are the only two AFC North teams to experience Super Bowl losses, with each team losing two.

Though the Steelers have mostly dominated this rivalry, it has heated up in recent seasons due to the Bengals resurgence among NFL teams. Even during the Bengals' dismal years in the 1990s and early 2000s when they were one of the NFL's worst teams, they would at times get the better of the Steelers, who were usually the dominant team in the division during the "Bungals" years. One notable example came in 1998, when the Bengals swept the Steelers in the season series while finishing 3-13 overall. (Their only other win coming against the Detroit Lions in overtime). The loss knocked the Steelers out of playoff contention (they finished 7-9).

While the Steelers have a much older rivalry with the Browns and have a longer history against several teams from the NFC due to the Steelers being part of the "old" NFL prior to the 1970 merger, the Bengals have met the Steelers more than anyone else in their own history, due to the Tennessee Titans being moved to the new AFC South in the 2002 realignment, while the Browns missed keeping pace due to being out of the league for 3 years.

The rivalry has enjoyed a revival since meeting in the playoffs for the first time in the 2005 wild card. During the game, division champion Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer was injured by Steeler Kimo von Oelhoffen. Palmer's injured ACL and MCL kept him out of the game, which the Steelers won 31-17. After undergoing surgery to repair the damaged ligaments, Palmer was featured in a Sports Illustrated article focusing on the new technique used to repair his knee. In that article, Palmer is quoted as saying "I hate the Steelers more than I hate UCLA,"[1] a reference to his college days at USC, although Palmer himself did not blame the Steelers for his injury.[2] Many fans from both sides remain bitter about this episode.

The rivalry rose to new heights in 2009 when the Bengals were AFC North Division champions. They boasted a perfect 6-0 division record, not only twice beating the long-time champion Steelers, but the Ravens and Browns. Despite their division dominance, the Bengals were only 4-6 against the rest of the NFL, finishing 3-1 against the NFC North and 1-5 against other AFC teams. The Bengals made the playoffs as AFC North Champions, but lost in an upset at home to the New York Jets.

From 2010 to 2012, the Steelers won five straight games in the rivalry until the Bengals defeated them at Heinz Field on December 23, 2012. On that day the Bengals clinched a playoff spot for the third time in the last four seasons, while eliminating the Steelers from playoff contention at the same time.

The rivalry has reached unprecedented heights as a result of the 2016 Wild Card playoff game. After previously having bad blood between the divisional rival from incidents in the 2015 regular season, the two teams met in the postseason. The contest was rife with physical play and penalty flags on both sides. Ryan Shazier knocked Giovani Bernard unconscious and celebrated the hit on the field riling up the Bengals and their fans as no flag was thrown on the play. The game appeared over after Vontaze Burfict intercepted Landry Jones, who was in due to an injury to Ben Roethlisberger after being sacked by Burfict. However, Jeremy Hill fumbled the ball and the Steelers recovered on their 9yd line with 1:36 remaining. Ben Roethlisberger returned and drove the Steelers to the Bengals 47 yard line with :18 remaining. Burfict was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver, Antonio Brown, on an incomplete pass while Jones was penalized for bumping a referee while going after Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter during the injury timeout. Porter received no flag for his actions. These fouls advanced the Steelers 30 yards with under 20 seconds remaining in the game, allowing Pittsburgh to kick a 35-yard field goal for the victory.

Pittsburgh has a 60-35 series lead against the Bengals.

1970s (Steelers 14-6)[edit]

Year Result Location Notes Series
1970 Steelers 21

Bengals 10

Three Rivers Stadium The inaugural game. 1–0–0 PIT
  Bengals 34

Steelers 7

Riverfront Stadium  1–1–0
1971 Steelers 21

Bengals 10

Three Rivers Stadium    2–1–0 PIT
  Steelers 21 

Bengals 13

Riverfront Stadium Steelers' first-ever season sweep of Cincinnati 3–1–0 PIT
1972 Bengals 15 

Steelers 10

Riverfront Stadium   3–2–0 PIT
  Steelers 40 

Bengals 17

Three Rivers Stadium  4–2–0 PIT
1973 Bengals 17 

Steelers 10

Riverfront Stadium   4–3–0 PIT
  Steelers 20 

Bengals 13

Three Rivers Stadium  5–3–0 PIT
1974 Bengals 17 

Steelers 10

Riverfront Stadium    5–4–0 PIT
  Steelers 27 

Bengals 3

Three Rivers Stadium 6–4–0 PIT
1975 Steelers 30
Bengals 24
Riverfront Stadium    7–4–0 PIT
  Steelers 35
Bengals 14
Three Rivers Stadium 8–4–0 PIT
1976 Steelers 23
Bengals 6
Three Rivers Stadium   9–4–0 PIT
  Steelers 7
Bengals 3
Riverfront Stadium  Lowest combined point total in the series. 10–4–0 PIT
1977 Steelers 20
Bengals 14
Three Rivers Stadium    11–4–0 PIT
  Bengals 17
Steelers 10
Riverfront Stadium 11–5–0 PIT
1978 Steelers 28
Bengals 3
Riverfront Stadium   12–5–0 PIT
  Steelers 7
Bengals 6
Three Rivers Stadium  13–5–0 PIT
1979 Bengals 34
Steelers 10
Riverfront Stadium   13–6–0 PIT
  Steelers 37
Bengals 17
Three Rivers Stadium  14–6–0 PIT

1980s (Bengals 13-6)[edit]

Year Result Location Notes Series
1980 Bengals 30
Steelers 28
Riverfront Stadium   14–7–0 PIT
  Bengals 17
Steelers 16
Three Rivers Stadium  Bengals' first-ever season sweep of Pittsburgh 14–8–0 PIT
1981 Bengals 34
Steelers 7
Riverfront Stadium    14–9–0 PIT
  Bengals 17
Steelers 10
Three Rivers Stadium 14–10–0 PIT
1982 Steelers 26
Bengals 20 OT
Three Rivers Stadium  Only meeting between teams in 1982 season due to players' strike 15–10–0 PIT
1983 Steelers 24
Bengals 14
Riverfront Stadium Pittsburgh won without scoring an offensive touchdown 16–10–0 PIT
  Bengals 23
Steelers 10
Three Rivers Stadium    16–11–0 PIT
1984 Steelers 38
Bengals 17
Three Rivers Stadium  17–11–0 PIT
  Bengals 22
Steelers 20
Riverfront Stadium   17–12–0 PIT
1985 Bengals 37
Steelers 24
Three Rivers Stadium  17–13–0 PIT
  Bengals 26
Steelers 21
Riverfront Stadium   17–14–0 PIT
1986 Bengals 24
Steelers 22
Three Rivers Stadium   17–15–0 PIT
  Steelers 30
Bengals 9
Riverfront Stadium    18–15–0 PIT
1987 Steelers 23
Bengals 20
Three Rivers Stadium  19–15–0 PIT
  Steelers 30
Bengals 16
Riverfront Stadium Steelers' Lone 2-Game Sweep of the Bengals during the '80s 20–15–0 PIT
1988 Bengals 17
Steelers 12
Three Rivers Stadium  20–16–0 PIT
  Bengals 42
Steelers 7
Riverfront Stadium Largest margin of victory in rivalry 20–17–0 PIT
1989 Bengals 41
Steelers 10
Riverfront Stadium    20–18–0 PIT
  Bengals 26
Steelers 16
Three Rivers Stadium   20–19–0 PIT

1990s (Steelers 13-7)[edit]

Year Result Location Notes Series
1990 Bengals 27
Steelers 3
Riverfront Stadium   20–20–0
  Bengals 16
Steelers 12
Three Rivers Stadium  Bengals take the lead in the overall series for the first (and as of 2017, only) time ever. 21–20–0 CIN
1991 Steelers 33
Bengals 27
Riverfront Stadium    21–21–0
  Steelers 17
Bengals 10
Three Rivers Stadium 22–21–0 PIT
1992 Steelers 20
Bengals 0
Three Rivers Stadium  Steelers' first-ever shutout win over the Bengals, with Pittsburgh's defense setting the single-game team sack record, sacking Bengals QB David Klingler (in his first NFL rookie start) 10 times. 23–21–0 PIT
  Steelers 21
Bengals 9
Riverfront Stadium 24–21–0 PIT
1993 Steelers 37
Bengals 7
Three Rivers Stadium   25–21–0 PIT
  Steelers 24
Bengals 16
Riverfront Stadium    26–21–0 PIT
1994 Steelers 14
Bengals 10
Three Rivers Stadium  27–21–0 PIT
  Steelers 38
Bengals 15
Riverfront Stadium   28–21–0 PIT
1995 Bengals 27
Steelers 9
Three Rivers Stadium  28–22–0 PIT
  Steelers 49
Bengals 31
Riverfront Stadium Pittsburgh trailed 31-13 in the 3rd quarter 29–22–0 PIT
1996 Steelers 20
Bengals 10
Three Rivers Stadium   30–22–0 PIT
  Bengals 34
Steelers 24
Riverfront Stadium    30–23–0 PIT
1997 Steelers 26
Bengals 10
Riverfront Stadium  31–23–0 PIT
  Steelers 20
Bengals 3
Three Rivers Stadium   32–23–0 PIT
1998 Bengals 25
Steelers 20
Riverfront Stadium  Bengals' only home victory during 1998 season. 32–24–0 PIT
  Bengals 25
Steelers 24
Three Rivers Stadium   32–25–0 PIT
1999 Steelers 17
Bengals 3
Riverfront Stadium  Final meeting at Riverfront Stadium 33–25–0 PIT
  Bengals 27
Steelers 20
Three Rivers Stadium   33–26–0 PIT

2000s (Steelers 15-6)[edit]

Year Result Location Notes Series
2000 Steelers 15
Bengals 0
Three Rivers Stadium Final meeting in Three Rivers Stadium. 34–26–0 PIT
  Steelers 48
Bengals 28
Paul Brown Stadium First meeting at Paul Brown Stadium 35–26–0 PIT
2001 Steelers 16
Bengals 7
Heinz Field First-ever game and meeting at Heinz Field 36–26–0 PIT
  Bengals 26
Steelers 23 OT
Paul Brown Stadium   36–27–0 PIT
2002 Steelers 34
Bengals 7
Paul Brown Stadium 37–27–0 PIT
  Steelers 29
Bengals 21
Heinz Field   38–27–0 PIT
2003 Steelers 17
Bengals 10
Paul Brown Stadium 39–27–0 PIT
  Bengals 24
Steelers 20
Heinz Field   39–28–0 PIT
2004 Steelers 28
Bengals 17
Heinz Field   40–28–0 PIT
  Steelers 19
Bengals 14
Paul Brown Stadium    41–28–0 PIT
2005 Steelers 27
Bengals 13
Paul Brown Stadium 42–28–0 PIT
  Bengals 38
Steelers 31
Heinz Field    42–29–0 PIT
  Steelers 31
Bengals 17
Paul Brown Stadium  First playoff meeting. AFC Wild Card Playoff Game. Despite losing QB Carson Palmer on their second offensive play of the game, Cincinnati took an early 17-7 lead. However, Pittsburgh would rally to score 24 unanswered points for the win. 43–29–0 PIT
2006 Bengals 28
Steelers 20
Heinz Field  43–30–0 PIT
  Steelers 23
Bengals 17 OT
Paul Brown Stadium Final game for Bill Cowher as the Steelers' head coach 44–30–0 PIT
2007 Steelers 24
Bengals 13
Paul Brown Stadium   45–30–0 PIT
  Steelers 24
Bengals 10
Heinz Field   46–30–0 PIT
2008 Steelers 38
Bengals 10
Paul Brown Stadium 47–30–0 PIT
  Steelers 27
Bengals 10
Heinz Field    48–30–0 PIT
2009 Bengals 23
Steelers 20
Paul Brown Stadium The Bengals would give Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger his first loss to an Ohio-based NFL team in his home state of Ohio. 48–31–0 PIT
  Bengals 18
Steelers 12
Heinz Field  This would mark the Bengals' first season-sweep over the Steelers since 1998. 48–32–0 PIT

2010s (Steelers 13-3)[edit]

Year Result Location Notes Series
2010 Steelers 27
Bengals 21
Paul Brown Stadium Monday night football. 49–32–0 PIT
  Steelers 23
Bengals 7
Heinz Field  50–32–0 PIT
2011 Steelers 24
Bengals 17
Paul Brown Stadium 51–32–0 PIT
  Steelers 35
Bengals 7
Heinz Field  52–32–0 PIT
2012 Steelers 24
Bengals 17
Paul Brown Stadium 53–32–0 PIT
  Bengals 13
Steelers 10
Heinz Field Andy Dalton's first career win over the Steelers 53–33–0 PIT
2013 Bengals 20
Steelers 10
Paul Brown Stadium Monday Night Football 53–34–0 PIT
  Steelers 30
Bengals 20
Heinz Field  54–34–0 PIT
2014 Steelers 42
Bengals 21
Paul Brown Stadium 55–34–0 PIT
  Steelers 27
Bengals 17
Heinz Field Sunday Night Football

Steelers clinch division title and complete season sweep of the Bengals

56–34–0 PIT
2015 Bengals 16
Steelers 10
Heinz Field Bengals start out 7-0 for first time in franchise history, much in part due to a hit by Vontaze Burfict which kept star Steeler's running back Le'Veon Bell out for the season. 56–35–0 PIT
  Steelers 33
Bengals 20
Paul Brown Stadium Bengals lose Andy Dalton for the remainder of the season after throwing an opening-drive interception to Stephon Tuitt and injuring his thumb on the tackle. A.J. McCarron finished the game for Cincinnati. 57–35–0 PIT
  Steelers 18
Bengals 16
Paul Brown Stadium AFC Wild Card Playoff Game. Despite the Steelers leading 15-0 after three quarters, the Bengals took advantage of Ben Roethlisberger's absence (due to a shoulder injury near the end of the 3rd quarter) as A.J. McCarron (in his first career playoff start) led the Bengals to 16-straight points. However, Ryan Shazier would force a fumble on Jeremy Hill as Ross Cockrell recovered the loose ball. Roethlisberger returned and led the Steelers on their final drive. On an incomplete pass to Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a brutal and concussing blow to Brown's head; the hit subsequently led to the suspension of Burfict for the first three games of 2016. Immediately afterwards, Adam Jones was flagged for a personal foul due to an altercation with Steelers OLB coach Joey Porter. From there, kicker Chris Boswell made the game-winning field goal from 35 yards. 58–35–0 PIT
2016 Steelers 24
Bengals 16
Heinz Field 59–35–0 PIT
Steelers 24
Bengals 20
Paul Brown Stadium The Bengals led 17-3 at one point, but lost 24-20 in the 4th quarter. Steelers kicker Chris Boswell ties a franchise record with 6 field goals in the game. 60–35–0 PIT
2017 Steelers 29
Bengals 14
Heinz Field 61–35–0 PIT

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]