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The Pittsburgh Steelers can look back at "Seven" in Sunday's loss

SCI's Jim Wexell reviewed Sunday's telecast and found these seven plays to be the most irritating.

It was a most irritating loss for Pittsburgh Steelers fans, and irritation could be found at every turn.

These, though, were perhaps the most irritating plays of all in the 16-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

I chose seven in honor of Ben Roethlisberger's return, but not to be critical. Not even close, because he certainly wasn't 100 percent and even took the blame like a good teammate. But I won't blame him. I'll blame these irritating plays that ended with bad consequence.

(And maybe I'll get a few extra clicks by using Ben's picture on the cover!)

So without further mumbling, here are The Irritating Seven:

"That definitely tweaked that left knee."

1. Roethlisberger not only drove the Steelers to a touchdown on his first drive back, he showed what he hadn't shown all week at practice when he leaned on that front foot and drove a pass into Antonio Brown's chest at the Cincy 12. But that was the last we would see of that confidence, because on the next series Roethlisberger's knee was brushed by Geno Atkins. After those three plays and out, Roethlisberger spoke with the team doctor and sat down on the bench looking uncomfortable. I became uncomfortable watching Brandon Boykin run out of bounds during punt coverage as the Steelers were penalized and had to re-punt. The difference in the two returns was 40 yards, and the Bengals ended up kicking a field goal to cut the Steelers' lead to 7-6.

"Again, a false start saves the Bengals."

2. Early in the second quarter, with the Steelers clinging to the 7-6 lead, Andy Dalton took a snap on first down at his own 35, faked a handoff and threw a duck to the left sideline. Will Gay stepped in front and intercepted it with clear sailing ahead. But the play was blown dead because of illegal procedure by the Bengals. These little things are far more important than the faux clock management crisis that's being propped up, but I digress.

"The air has gone out of the stadium."

3. With a first down at the 50, the Steelers put "kings in the huddle," or brought in three wide receivers, and sent running back Le'Veon Bell into the left flat to catch a
pass. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict, just back from a year-long rehab of his own knee injury, grabbed Bell high and threw his body into the back of Bell's legs and blew out his MCL, ending the season and, who knows, possibly his career. No, it wasn't a cheap hit, but it was a full-body torque that is the most harshest of all horse-collar tackles.

"Would you call it a nickel and dimer?"

4. On first down, free safety Mike Mitchell hit Marvin Jones cleanly in the mid-section to blow him up. On second down, Mitchell told A.J. Green that he's next. After a third-and-3 incompletion, Mitchell ran to Green and began flapping his gums. It didn't look like much, but Mitchell did bump helmets and was flagged 15 yards. The Bengals were allowed to continue their drive, making it a 32-yard penalty on what would've been fourth down. The Bengals didn't score but the Steelers got the ball at their own 5 and their last drive of the first half stalled 49 yards later.

"Not exactly the way you want to open the fourth quarter."

5. The last thing I ever want to do is blame Heath Miller for anything. But the Steelers, up 10-6 and looking for at least another field goal, had a first down at the Cincy 25 to open the fourth quarter. DeAngelo Williams ran left for a yard but Miller was called for holding. A 2-yard pass, an incompletion and a sack later, and the Steelers got off a crappy punt to the 18, just about where they were four plays earlier. And they never did score again.

"It was determined there was no restriction."

6. Is that the new thing? Has there been a memo to officials not to call deep pass-interference penalties if the player still has a chance to make the catch? Because Martavis Bryant A.) was definitely pushed, and B.) definitely should've caught the touchdown pass. The official saw the push and threw the flag. I don't understand why it was picked up and not even talked down to illegal contact.

"It ends up being a punt, better than a punt."

7. This final irritating play may seem silly but it brings up something I've been meaning to say about those kids standing out there on my lawn! Wait. Um, anyway, Dalton was back to pass near his own goal line with 6:39 left in the game. He heaved it on third-and-25, the ball was tipped by Ross Cockrell, and Mitchell intercepted it. An illegal block was called and the Steelers started on their own 24, basically a net punt of 67 yards. Two plays later Roethlisberger was intercepted and the Bengals took it in for the game-winner. Of course, the Steelers would rather have had Brown returning a 45-yard punt, and Mitchell had no way of knowing there would be an illegal block when he picked off the pass, but it reminded me of something that's become quite irritating: Kids these days don't drop interceptions. We used to do it all the time with regard to field position. Kids these days (smdh).

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