The Steelers will open up the season this year with a trip to Cincinnati against the Bengals. The Bengals are coming off their AFC Championship for the first time since 1988, and looking to prove to the NFL that they’re still the top dogs. The Steelers will enter with new expectations after Big Ben’s retirement. Despite being in the same division, the Steelers have never played the Bengals in the opening.
2008: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Fourteen years ago, the Steelers crushed the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium 38-10. Although unlikely, hopefully this years’ matchup ends in a similar result. The 2008 game opened with the 4-1 Steelers being 8.5-point favorites over the 0-6 Bengals. The Steelers got the ball first and drove down the field easily.
Big Ben hit Mewelde Moore for the touchdown and the Steelers had a 7-0 lead right from the start. The Steelers scored on a Jeff Reid field goal, but failed to get more offensive firepower. At the end of the second quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a touchdown pass to Chad Ochocinco to have the halftime score at 10-7. The Steelers failed to take over a game against a team that they were way more skilled than. That all changed in the second half.
The Steelers defense held strong at the start of the second half, and Mewelde Moore scored a touchdown when the Steelers got the ball back. The Steelers failed to extend the gap after the touchdown, while Cincinnati hit a field goal to make the score a still-close 17-10 score to begin the 4th quarter. The Bengals quickly entered into Pittsburgh territory, but the Steelers defense held strong once again and forced Cincinnati to punt.
Nate Washington caught a 50-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing drive to make the score 24-10. The Steelers held no mercy as Mewelde Moore scored a touchdown for the third time. If that wasn’t enough, Byron Leftwich came in and threw a touchdown pass to Hines Ward. The Steelers capped off the game with a 38-10 victory as the final gun went off.
After the win, the Steelers were 5-1 and held early control of the AFC North. The Steelers finished off their 2008 with their historic Super Bowl victory. The Bengals ended up going 4-11-1, but Cincinnati was back the next year by winning the AFC North in 2009. The Steelers are looking to spark some momentum for the 2022 edition.