The Pittsburgh Steelers scored a season-high 30 points during Sunday’s seven-point loss to Cincinnati, but Bengals defenders were not impressed with what they saw from Matt Canada’s offense. Or more specifically, Canada’s play calling.
After the game, Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt didn’t hold back when speaking about how Cincy was able to mute Pittsburgh’s attack when it mattered most. Recall that the Steelers produced 20 points and 212 total yards in the first half but did little in the second half. Most notably, Pittsburgh’s offense had three consecutive three-and-outs after halftime, allowing the Bengals — now 6-4 and in second place in the AFC North — to put the Steelers (3-7) comfortably in the rear-view mirror.
Bengals’ Germaine Pratt: Steelers Run the ‘Same Plays Over and Over’
Pratt – a fourth-year linebacker and former third-round pick out of North Carolina State – told Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports that the Bengals beat themselves in the first half but settled down after halftime.
“It was us giving them plays,” he began, referring to Cincy’s first-half performance. “We knew what they were going to do. They like to do the same plays over and over.”
That’s yet another indictment of a Steelers offense that has been strongly criticized all season long, with everyone from members of the media to former Steelers players calling for Canada to be fired.
And while Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has left the door open to relieving Canada of his responsibilities, he appears set on keeping things status quo, at least until the end of the season.
“I don’t feel like I’m there,” said Tomlin on Oct. 25, when asked whether it was time to make a change.
For his part, longtime Steelers insider Gerry Dulac believes that Tomlin won’t fire Canada before the season is over.
Never mind that the Steelers are 28th in scoring offense at 17.0 ppg, even after Sunday’s 30-point outburst. Never mind that internal frustration with Canada’s offense dates back to last season, which was his first as offensive coordinator, having been promoted from quarterbacks coach.
On the other hand, not everyone places the blame for the offense’s struggles at the feet of Canada; ex-Steelers defensive lineman Chris Hoke says Canada is only part of the problem. Hoke believes that rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is a bigger issue.
2 Bengals Slammed the Steelers in the Media
As for Germaine Pratt, he certainly made his presence felt on Sunday. He finished as Cincinnati’s second-leading tackler behind Cam Taylor-Britt, registering eight tackles (six solo), including two tackles for loss, as per ESPN’s Box Score.
But if Pratt is back with the Bengals next season (he’s a pending unrestricted free agent), the Steelers may use his comments as bulletin board material in 2023.
Much like Steelers All-Pro linebacker T.J. Watt can be expected to remember the post-game comments of Bengals offensive tackle La’ El Collins, who was surprisingly bold considering Watt’s not insignificant stat line (six tackles, an interception, a half a sack, two passes defensed and a quarterback hit).
“T.J. knew he had to line up against me. So, s—, you know, at the end of the day, he was crying to the refs,” Collins told Mohammad Ahmad of Cleveland.com. “So, I’ll see him again next year.”