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Monday, December 24, 2012
Upon Further Review: Steelers

By Jamison Hensley

Revisiting the Pittsburgh Steelers' 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals:

Many will point to Ben Roethlisberger's fourth-quarter interception as the reason why the Steelers lost. But one can make an argument that the game was lost on third down.

Roethlisberger completed just 1 of 8 passes (12.5 percent) on third down against the Bengals. That includes his first interception on third down all season, which was returned by Cincinnati cornerback Leon Hall for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Converting third downs had been a strength of Roethlisberger this season. He entered the game with a league-leading 90.4 QBR on third down with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. He had completed 64 percent of his throws on third downs.

Part of the problem was pass protection (two rookies, David DeCastro and Kelvin Beachum, started on the right side of the line). Three of the four sacks allowed by the Steelers came on third down.

STAT THAT STICKS: 9 -- Years since the Steelers last finished with a losing record (2003). Pittsburgh (7-8) is trying to avoid that Sunday against the Browns.

OVERHEARD: “I’m not surprised at all. Stuff just happened the whole year. It’s frustrating. Turnovers at key moments of games have just crushed us all year long.” -- Running back Isaac Redman

WHAT'S NEXT: The Steelers end the season against the Browns (5-10). Pittsburgh has beaten Cleveland the last eight times at Heinz Field.