Bengals–Steelers rivalry

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Cincinnati Bengals–Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals wordmark (c. 2004).png
Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers Script.svg
Pittsburgh Steelers
Teams Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers
First meeting November 2, 1970
Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Cincinnati Bengals 10
Latest meeting January 9, 2016
Pittsburgh Steelers 18, Cincinnati Bengals 16
Next meeting TBD
Statistics
Meetings total 93
All-time series PIT: 58–35
Regular season PIT: 56–35
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 streak CIN: 6 (1988–90)
PIT: 8 (1991–94)
Current streak PIT: 2 wins
Championship Success

Super Bowl Championships (6)

Conference Championships (10)

Divisional Championships (29)

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]

The rivalry is 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, since von Oelhoffen did not intend to injure him.[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, and they began their short playoff run with a home game against the New York Jets. The Bengals were expected to win, but the Jets shut down the Bengals and put an end to their season.

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 2015 WildCard 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 Burfict intercepted Landry Jones, who was in due to an injury to Ben Roethlisberger after being sacked by Vontaze Burfict. But 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.

Burfict has been suspended by the NFL for his actions in the games; his appeal is pending. The league has stated that further disciplinary measures against members of both teams may be pending.

Pittsburgh has a 58-35 series lead against the Bengals.

1970s (Steelers 14-6)[edit]

Year Result Location Notes
1970 Steelers 21

Bengals 10

Three Rivers Stadium The inaugural game.
  Bengals 34

Steelers 7

Riverfront Stadium 
1971 Steelers 21

Bengals 10

Three Rivers Stadium   
  Steelers 21 

Bengals 13

Riverfront Stadium Steelers' first-ever season sweep of Cincinnati
1972 Bengals 15 

Steelers 10

Riverfront Stadium  
  Steelers 40 

Bengals 17

Three Rivers Stadium 
1973 Bengals 17 

Steelers 10

Riverfront Stadium  
  Steelers 20 

Bengals 13

Three Rivers Stadium 
1974 Bengals 17 

Steelers 10

Riverfront Stadium   
  Steelers 27 

Bengals 3

Three Rivers Stadium
1975 Steelers 30
Bengals 24
Riverfront Stadium   
  Steelers 35
Bengals 14
Three Rivers Stadium
1976 Steelers 23
Bengals 6
Three Rivers Stadium  
  Steelers 7
Bengals 3
Riverfront Stadium 
1977 Steelers 20
Bengals 14
Three Rivers Stadium   
  Bengals 17
Steelers 10
Riverfront Stadium
1978 Steelers 28
Bengals 3
Riverfront Stadium  
  Steelers 7
Bengals 6
Three Rivers Stadium 
1979 Bengals 34
Steelers 10
Riverfront Stadium  
  Steelers 37
Bengals 17
Three Rivers Stadium 

1980s (Bengals 13-6)[edit]

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

1990s (Steelers 13-7)[edit]

Year Result Location Notes
1990 Bengals 27
Steelers 3
Riverfront Stadium  
  Bengals 16
Steelers 12
Three Rivers Stadium 
1991 Steelers 33
Bengals 27
Riverfront Stadium   
  Steelers 17
Bengals 10
Three Rivers Stadium
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.
  Steelers 21
Bengals 9
Riverfront Stadium
1993 Steelers 37
Bengals 7
Three Rivers Stadium  
  Steelers 24
Bengals 16
Riverfront Stadium   
1994 Steelers 14
Bengals 10
Three Rivers Stadium 
  Steelers 38
Bengals 15
Riverfront Stadium  
1995 Bengals 27
Steelers 9
Three Rivers Stadium 
  Steelers 49
Bengals 31
Riverfront Stadium Pittsburgh trailed 31-13 in the 3rd quarter
1996 Steelers 20
Bengals 10
Three Rivers Stadium  
  Bengals 34
Steelers 24
Riverfront Stadium   
1997 Steelers 26
Bengals 10
Riverfront Stadium 
  Steelers 20
Bengals 3
Three Rivers Stadium  
1998 Bengals 25
Steelers 20
Riverfront Stadium 
  Bengals 25
Steelers 24
Three Rivers Stadium  
1999 Steelers 17
Bengals 3
Riverfront Stadium  Final meeting at Riverfront Stadium
  Bengals 27
Steelers 20
Three Rivers Stadium  

2000s (Steelers 15-6)[edit]

Year Result Location Notes
2000 Steelers 15
Bengals 0
Three Rivers Stadium Final meeting in Three Rivers Stadium.
  Steelers 48
Bengals 28
Paul Brown Stadium First meeting at Paul Brown Stadium
2001 Steelers 16
Bengals 7
Heinz Field First-ever game and meeting at Heinz Field
  Bengals 26
Steelers 23 OT
Paul Brown Stadium  
2002 Steelers 34
Bengals 7
Paul Brown Stadium
  Steelers 29
Bengals 21
Heinz Field  
2003 Steelers 17
Bengals 10
Paul Brown Stadium
  Bengals 24
Steelers 20
Heinz Field  
2004 Steelers 28
Bengals 17
Heinz Field  
  Steelers 19
Bengals 14
Paul Brown Stadium   
2005 Steelers 27
Bengals 13
Paul Brown Stadium
  Bengals 38
Steelers 31
Heinz Field   
  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.
2006 Bengals 28
Steelers 20
Heinz Field 
  Steelers 23
Bengals 17 OT
Paul Brown Stadium Final game for Bill Cowher as the Steelers' head coach
2007 Steelers 24
Bengals 13
Paul Brown Stadium  
  Steelers 24
Bengals 10
Heinz Field  
2008 Steelers 38
Bengals 10
Paul Brown Stadium
  Steelers 27
Bengals 10
Heinz Field   
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.
  Bengals 18
Steelers 12
Heinz Field  This would mark the Bengals' first season-sweep over the Steelers since 1998.

2010s (Steelers 10-3)[edit]

Year Result Location Notes
2010 Steelers 27
Bengals 21
Paul Brown Stadium
  Steelers 23
Bengals 7
Heinz Field 
2011 Steelers 24
Bengals 17
Paul Brown Stadium
  Steelers 35
Bengals 7
Heinz Field 
2012 Steelers 24
Bengals 17
Paul Brown Stadium
  Bengals 13
Steelers 10
Heinz Field Andy Dalton's first career win over the Steelers
2013 Bengals 20
Steelers 10
Paul Brown Stadium Monday Night Football
  Steelers 30
Bengals 20
Heinz Field 
2014 Steelers 42
Bengals 21
Paul Brown Stadium
  Steelers 27
Bengals 17
Heinz Field Sunday Night Football

Steelers clinch division title and complete season sweep of the Bengals

2015 Bengals 16
Steelers 10
Heinz Field Bengals start out 7-0 for first time in franchise history
  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.
  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 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 tackle 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.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]