Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.
Television: The game will air nationally on CBS-TV. In the Bengals' home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst) and Melanie Collins (sideline reporter).
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
Setting the scene: The Bengals this week travel to Pittsburgh to face the division-rival Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday. Cincinnati will be looking to bounce back from a 20-17 loss in Chicago last week in which a late Bengals rally came up just short.
"The Bears are a tough team with a tough defense," said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. "We didn't play well enough to win. The turnover battle was 4-1 in their favor, and you won't win many games when you do that."
Cincinnati's loss came despite a strong performance from the defense, which allowed just 206 total yards by Chicago. That counted as the fewest total yards allowed by a Cincinnati defense since Dec. 14, 2014 at Cleveland.
"Our defense gave up seven points on the first drive, and then really didn't give up another point the rest of the game," Taylor said. "I thought our intensity there was outstanding."
Unfortunately for Cincinnati though, the offense could not match the defense's success. The Bengals did manage to put up more yardage (248) than the Bears, but they struggled to find the scoreboard and hold onto the football.
Cincinnati committed four turnovers on the day, including a fumble by WR Tee Higgins and INTs on three consecutive plays by QB Joe Burrow.
"That's me trying to get something going and forcing the ball," Burrow said of his uncharacteristic INTs. The first of his three picks ended a league-best streak of 199 attempts without a INT. "You learn a lesson today, that when your defense is playing as good as they are, you don't have to force those balls. You can let the game come to you."
Cincinnati had just three points on the afternoon until Burrow found rookie WR Ja'Marr Chase for a 42-yard score with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter. That made Chase, who had a 50-yard TD in Week 1, just the second player since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to catch TDs of at least 40 yards in each of his first two career games (Vikings WR Sammy White in 1976).
"We just called a 'go' play," Chase said after the game. "I beat the corner off the line, per usual. After that, Joe threw it up, and I got the ball. Simple as that."
Then, on the ensuing possession, LB Logan Wilson picked off a pass from Bears QB Justin Fields and returned it to the Chicago seven-yard line.
"We had a lot of guys in his face," Wilson said of his third career INT. "He threw it to where his guy should have been, and I just happened to be between him and his guy."
On the next play, Burrow found Higgins for a TD to cut Chicago's lead to 20-17 with 3:39 remaining. That sequence of events made Burrow the first player since Steelers QB Kordell Stewart on Dec. 30, 2001 to throw INTs on three consecutive passes and TDs on two consecutive passes in the same game.
Incidentally, Cincinnati was on the other end of Stewart's performance, which came in a 26-23 Steelers win at Paul Brown Stadium.
But with momentum on their side, the Bengals' defense allowed two Bears first-downs, and Chicago was able to run out the clock and hold on for a win.
"It's exciting that we came back and made it a game," Burrow said. "Obviously it was a little too late though. But we showed a little resilience, like we did last week."
This week, something figures to give as the 1-1 Bengals and 1-1 Steelers sit in a four-way tie for the AFC North lead. Pittsburgh is coming off a 26-17 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
The series: The Steelers lead 67-36 overall and 35-16 in Pittsburgh. The series includes two postseason games, both Steelers wins in Wild Card round contests at Paul Brown Stadium, after the 2005 and '15 seasons.
The Bengals have played more games against the Steelers (103) than any other foe. Cleveland is second in that category at 95, and Tennessee (formerly Houston Oilers) is third at 76.
Bengals-Steelers connections: Bengals WR Tyler Boyd is from Clairton, Pa. (Clairton High School), and played at the University of Pittsburgh ... Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is from Findlay, Ohio (Findlay High School) and played at Miami (Ohio) University ... Bengals CB Mike Hilton was with the Steelers form 2016-20 ... Bengals S Sean Davis (practice squad) originally was a second-round draft pick of the Steelers in 2016, and was with the team through the '20 season ... Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was defensive backs coach at the University of Cincinnati from 1999-2000 ... Bengals G/OT Fred Johnson originally was a college free agent signee of the Steelers in 2019 ... Steelers C/G B.J. Finney was with the Bengals in 2020 ... Steelers DT Cameron Heyward, QB Dwayne Haskins and G Malcolm Pridgeon (practice squad) all played at Ohio State University ... Steelers RB Benny Snell Jr. is from Columbus, Ohio (Westerville Central High School) and played at the University of Kentucky ... Steelers WR Diontae Johnson played at the University of Toledo... Steelers DE Chris Wormley is from Toledo, Ohio (Whitmer High School) ... Bengals DE Noah Spence (practice squad) is from Harrisburg, Pa. (Bishop McDevitt High School) ... Steelers senior defensive assistant/secondary coach Teryl Austin was the Bengals' defensive coordinator in 2018 ... Bengals linebackers coach Al Golden played (1987-91) and coached (2000) at Penn State University ... Steelers secondary coach Grady Brown coached at the University of Louisville in 2018 ... Steelers quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan coached at Ohio University in 2001.
Burrow's 300-yard games make history: Despite playing only 10 games as a rookie in 2020, Bengals QB Joe Burrow passed for 300 yards five times. That total at the time was tied for second-most ever among NFL rookies, and just one shy of the then-rookie record of six, set by Colts QB Andrew Luck in 2012. Then, of course, came Burrow's season-ending left knee injury on Nov. 22 at Washington.
At the time of his injury — early in the third quarter — Burrow was just 97 yards shy of the 300-yard mark, which would have given him his sixth such performance and put him into a tie with Luck with six games remaining in the season. That never happened, of course, and later in the season Chargers QB Justin Herbert surpassed Luck and established his own rookie record of eight 300-yard games.
Earlier in season, Burrow became the first rookie QB in NFL history to ever throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games — Game 2 at Cleveland (316), Game 3 at Philadelphia (312) and Game 4 vs. Jacksonville (300).
Additionally, Burrow joined Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes as the only players in NFL history to top 300 passing yards in at least five of their first seven career games. Mahomes, though, did it over his first and second seasons, meaning Burrow is the first rookie in league history to accomplish the feat.
Burrow's five 300-yard passing games also put him into a tie for the single-season team record, alongside Boomer Esiason (strike-shortened 1987 season), Carson Palmer (2007) and Andy Dalton ('13). Burrow's three consecutive 300-yard games are tied for the second-most in Bengals history, and were just one shy of Dalton's team record of four, set in 2015.
Boyd looking for third thousand: Bengals WR Tyler Boyd so far this season has 10 catches for 105 yards. The 2016 second-round pick of the Bengals is looking this season to top 1000 receiving yards for what would be the third time in his career. That would make him just the fifth Bengal ever with as many 1000-yard seasons.
Boyd ended his 2020 season with 841 receiving yards, just 159 shy of reaching the 1000-yard mark for what would have been the third consecutive season. Boyd had been aiming to become just the fourth Bengal ever to reach 1000 receiving yards in at least three consecutive seasons. He was on pace to do just that before he left Game 14 vs. Pittsburgh in the first quarter with a concussion, and then missed the following week at Houston. He also was limited to just 10 games with the team's No. 1 QB, Joe Burrow, who suffered a season-ending injury in November.
Boyd stands as one of nine Bengals ever to reach 1000 receiving yards in a season, and one of six to hit the mark more than once. WR Chad Johnson's seven 1000-yard seasons stand as the most in team history, followed by WRs A.J. Green (six), Carl Pickens (four), Cris Collinsworth (four) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (two). WRs Eddie Brown, Tim McGee and Darnay Scott each had one 1000-yard season.
Bengals tough when Mixon hits 20 carries: The Bengals hold a 9-7 record when HB Joe Mixon reaches the 20-carry mark. And in those 16 games, Mixon has topped 100 rushing yards 10 times. Nine of his last 12 games with 20 carries have resulted in 100-yard rushing performances.
The Bengals are 1-1 this year when Mixon hits the mark — he had 29 carries for 127 yards (4.4 average) in a win over Minnesota in the season opener, and 20 carries for 69 yards in a Week 2 loss at Chicago. Last year, despite being limited by a foot injury to just six games, Mixon hit the 20-carry mark twice, and the Bengals were 1-1 in those contests.
25 points does the trick: Since 2011, the Bengals own a 52-5-2
record when scoring 25 or more points. That's good for the third-best winning
percentage (.898) in the NFL when topping the 25-point mark over that span.
The Bengals are 6-4 under head coach Zac Taylor (1-0 this season) when
reaching the 25-point plateau.
Huber, Harris chasing down Kenny: One of the most
prestigious Bengals records in existence, and one that has stood for 38 years,
could be matched by the end of the 2021 season. Longtime CB Ken Riley's
Bengals record 207 games played is currently 15 clear of current P Kevin Huber
(192), meaning that if Huber plays in every game the rest of the season, he
would tie The Rattler's historic mark that has stood since his retirement in 1983.
Huber currently stands tied with QB Ken Anderson for third place all-time in
career games played as a Bengal, and trails only Riley (207) and LB Reggie
Williams (206). Not far behind, though, is current LS Clark Harris (186 games
played), who has snapped to Huber since joining Cincinnati midway through the
2009 season. Harris passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz (185) for
sixth place in Game 2 at Chicago, and he is just two games shy of DT Tim
Krumrie (188) for fifth place.