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Steelers loss to Bengals marks effective end to disappointing season

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The Steelers' offense came up short yet again, and now their season is effectively over.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers' season effectively ended Sunday with a 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Don't blame the Steelers defense, which completely shut down the Cincinnati run game and held the Bengals to just six points. (The other seven came on a pick-six by Leon Hall.) The Steelers' problem, as it has been most of the year, was its offense. Ben Roethlisberger threw two interceptions, with the pick-six coming near the end of the first quarter and the other on an off-target throw deep downfield that set up the Bengals' game-winning field goal with seconds to go in the fourth. They also converted a mere two of 14 third-down chances, and missed two field goals, one on a blown snap and the other on a questionable call to kick a 53-yarder.

The Steelers still have one game remaining against the Browns, but at this point, their fans may as well turn their attentions to what draft pick the Steelers will get and which of their big-name players will be gone this offseason. (RASHARD MENDENHALL cough.) It's been an underwhelming season so far, filled with costly disappointments (Mendenhall, the young wide receiving corps) and injuries (Roethlisberger, etc.). The Steelers' defense remained dominant, but their offense was barely functional, and fans will now wait to see how the Steelers address that this offseason -- it isn't hard to imagine them taking a running back or wideout in the first round of the draft.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.