Joe Burrow’s 5 turnovers, Evan McPherson’s misses thwart Cincinnati Bengals in first game since Super Bowl LVI

CINCINNATI– bengals strategist Joe Terrier sitting in front of his locker, his legs outstretched, staring in front of him at a room that had largely emptied.

If he was trying to make sense of what happened in Cincinnati’s season opener, he wasn’t alone. The Bengals endured a day that featured several turnovers, an upset kicking game and a turbulent outing in a 23-20 overtime loss to Pittsburgh Steelers. In Cincinnati’s first game since Super Bowl LVI, Burrow committed five turnovers, the Bengals missed two chances to win the game and ended up with a poor result.

“We had our chances,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “Losing the five-to-nothing turnover battle, having kick ops ruined on two kicks that would have both won the game, is disheartening in that way.”

Chris BoswellThe 53-yard field goal at the end of overtime allowed the Steelers to escape with a victory and end a three-game losing streak against their AFC North rivals.

Burrow threw a career-high four interceptions and lost a fumble in the team’s loss. He was also sacked six times. And yet, the Bengals were still in position to clinch an improbable victory.

“Obviously you don’t want to throw four picks,” Burrow said. “But I never panicked. We stayed balanced and came back and put ourselves in a position to win.”

At the end of regulation, Burrow threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to the wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase to tie the game at 20 with two seconds left. But the Steelers defensive back Minka Fitzpatrick, who returned an interception for a touchdown on Cincinnati’s first drive of the game, blocked the potentially game-winning extra run. Cincinnati’s special teams unit had a chance to redeem themselves in overtime. bengals kicker Evan McPherson missed a 29-yard field goal that could have won the game in overtime.

On those two kicks, Cincinnati was using the tight end Michael Wilcox like snapper. Clark Harris, who has held the team’s position since 2009, suffered a right bicep injury that ruled him out for the end of regulation and extra time. Wilcox, who said he was a long snapper in high school and a substitute at the University of South Florida, took over.

“We had a chance on the first one,” Wilcox said. “He just got blocked. On the second one, it’s on me. I have to give [punter Kevin Huber] a better shot there.”

Boswell also missed a game-ending 55-yard field goal with 2:27 left in overtime. His kick sailed left and hit the left upright, leaving the game undecided until he ended it at the end of extra time.

Pittsburgh couldn’t pull out despite the huge turnover advantage. Cincinnati’s defense limited the Steelers to 267 total yards. In his debut with the team, the Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky was 21 of 38 for 194 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Steelers running back Najee Harris was limited to 23 yards on 10 carries and did not finish the game with a foot injury.

“That was enough,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of the team’s offensive performance.

Last year, the Bengals beat the Steelers twice en route to a division title that led to their first playoff berth since 2015. That playoff run yielded the team’s first playoff victory playoffs in 31 years and the team’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1989.

In many instances last season, Cincinnati was able to do just enough to earn a win. On Sunday, the Bengals nearly drew a positive from a game that featured a host of unfortunate events.

Instead, they found themselves trying to piece together a savage season opener loss.

“A loss is a loss”, Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd said. “It still hurts. We had an opportunity and we didn’t take it.”

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