PITTSBURGH - Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said, thanks, his team needed that.
Sunday's 24-10 victory at Heinz Field marked his first AFC North road win, quarterback Joe Burrow's first road win anywhere and their first win in Pittsburgh since they picked off Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice in the fourth quarter on Nov. 1, 2015 on the way to the AFC North title.
"We need to have more success in our division. And today's just the first opportunity we had to do that. I'm thankful it came on the road," Taylor said. "I'm glad our first divisional game was on the road. Because it's just a great part of our early season momentum that we needed to build. You could have drawn up the schedule I would have wanted a Week 3 divisional opponent on the road, I would have wanted that. Again, we've just got to finish strong this week on Thursday night."
Thursday night is when the Bengals host the Jaguars on Ring of Honor Night at Paul Brown Stadium and they go in 2-1 with a shot to go into the mini-bye at 3-1 for the first time since 2018. After Joe Burrow was Joe Burrow in a cool no-sack game in the pocket with a 122.9 passer rating, Taylor likes where his teams sits.
"You look at the field position our special teams created, you look at the mindset our defense has played with through three weeks, the belief they have in themselves," said Taylor after the Bengals pushed around the Steelers by 15 yards in the field position scrum. "And the offense is capable of being explosive and score some points if we can get the ground game going. So I really think that the team believes in all three phases that we can do whatever it takes to win."
CHASE AGAIN: Burrow and college chum Ja'Marr Chase have been electrifying in their first three games in the pros. Chase has four touchdowns, three from at least 34 yards out, and two crushing long balls in the last minute of the first halves that were huge in their two wins.
He's not only the tenth player in history to catch a touchdown pass in each of his first three games, according to Elias he's just the second player in the 51 years of the merger to have a touchdown reception of at least 25 yards in each of his first three games. Donte Stallworth did it in 2002.
Sunday's 34-yarder with 27 seconds left broke a 7-7 tie and raised the Bengals out of the funk of just allowing the Steelers to drive the thing for 15 plays in an excruciating 8:32.
But Burrow and Chase wiped away all the angst on one breath-taker.
"Ja'Marr came to me before that play and he was like 'Just throw it up to me, just throw it.' So I was like OK, I'll just throw it up and he went and got it," Burrow said. "I thought the corner (James) Pierre had pretty good coverage. but Ja'Marr just out-physicaled him and got to the ball. That's why you draft a guy like that to make those plays."
Chase said he went to Burrow with a scouting report.
"(Pierre) was just opening up his hips as soon as I go to him. He was just opening his hips real late. And I was telling Joe it would easy to take advantage of that," Chase said. "It was a hell of a throw by Joe. He didn't throw it behind, it wasn't a jump ball. But out front of me. Forward. That's what a receiver wants to make. An extended catch like I did. Perfect timing. That was a great play by Joe."
NO SACKS: It figures. The Bengals offensive line had been hammered for getting Burrow sacked nine times and hit 16 times coming into this one. Yet, the Bengals snapped the Steelers' NFL-record of 75 straight games with at least a sack.
The Steelers didn't have QB-wrecker T.J. Watt and the Bengals made it hurt. The signature moment was Burrow bouncing on his toes in the pocket in the red zone and waiting forever for Chase to break free of cornerback Joe Haden for the nine-yard touchdown pass that put them up 24-7 in the middle of the third quarter.
"That was my fifth option. You have time to get to your fifth option and you're always to get it," Burrow said. "I told the O-Line that was their touchdown. And when you have that kind of time in the red zone, we've got too many playmakers not to get open in that situation."
But the Bengals offensive line wouldn't have gotten the record if it wasn't for Burrow's Houdini job during the first series. Somehow he got seven yards on a scramble by running away from two linemen breaking free on a stunt. A very relieved Burrow, who admitted last week he just hadn't shown his mobility of last season, had a big smile post game as he talked about that one.
And the nine-yard run quarterback draw.
"It's really the first time I've done that this year," Burrow said. "I was doing that all the time last year making one, two, three guys miss in the pocket and escaping so that kind of signaled to me I'm back. It felt good and we're going to continue to do that."
WILSON HAS A BALL: The Bengals have long thought Logan Wilson has the tools to be an elite NFL linebacker and Sunday showed why with 14 tackles and two interceptions. Good enough to get the game ball.
"Logan's going to continue to get better and better. He's playing at an elite level," Burrow said. "He's a guy that you love to have on your team and you would hate to play against. When he's in zone coverage he reads the quarterbacks eyes better than anybody. And not only does he do that, but he makes plays on the ball."
Wilson became the first Bengals backer with two picks in a game since Vontaze Burfict on Dec. 4, 2016 against the Eagles. It's the tenth time it has happened in franchise history with Al Beauchamp and James Francis each doing it twice.
SLANTS AND SCREENS: Burrow's first road win came courtesy of just 18 passes, the fewest of his career. Which means in their last two games against the Steelers they've beaten Pittsburgh with a combined 31 passes. Ryan Finley threw 13 in the Monday Night win. The Bengals have thrown fewer than 20 passes eight times in this century and are 5-3 ...
Rookie right guard Jackson Carman's debut came in one of the more significant games in recent memory for the offensive line. Without seeing tape, Taylor thought Joe Mixon got many of his 90 yards behind him.
"That's a good D line he just went against," said left tackle Jonah Williams. "I know from talking to guys on the sideline, from talking to him, I know that he played really well. I know he's capable of that. he's a great player, and to step in on a big stage against a tough opponent and play well like he did, I think it's a great sign for him as a player and us as a unit."