Pittsburgh's defense compiled four sacks, nine QB hits and four passes defensed. T.J. Watt led the way with two sacks and four quarterback hits.
The demolition was a concerted effort by the Steelers defense to stick it to the No. 1 overall pick.
"I think it's very important to welcome quarterbacks in the AFC North the appropriate way," Watt said after the game, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Scoring points like that and holding the offense the way we did, we try to do that to the best of our ability. We know Joe Burrow is their franchise quarterback and we're just trying to let him know what he can expect when he comes to Pittsburgh."
Watt's comments reportedly came without a hint of a grin. The Steelers were serious about crushing any hope Burrow had entering the contest.
"One thousand percent," said Steelers cornerback Joe Haden. "It was more of a respect factor, too. Joe Burrow's a great young quarterback and we know he's going to be in our division for a very, very long time, so we kind of wanted to set the tone with him."
Consider the tone set.
The Steelers held Burrow to a career-low 52.5 percent completion rate on 40 attempts for just 213 passing yards, one TD and a 76.4 passer rating. It was the fourth game Burrow was sacked at least four times.
Pittsburgh kept Burrow and the Bengals from converting a single third down, as Cincy went 0-for-13 on the key down. It marked the eighth time since 1991 a club had zero third-down conversions on at least 13 attempts in a single game.
"We didn't want him to just think he was going to be playing Pittsburgh and just throwing it up wherever he wanted to, running all around," Haden added. "But we know he's going to be a very, very good talent. They believe in him, and they have every right to. We just wanted to make sure we put pressure on him and never let him get comfortable knowing that he's going to be playing against us for a long time."
For his part, Burrow shouldered the blame for the blowout loss.
"It's never good to lose like this, but it's always a good learning experience," Burrow said. "I think we're in that game if I don't suck in the second half, and I'm not going to suck a lot."
The Steelers make a lot of quarterbacks "suck." Burrow is just the latest to live through the nightmare against the NFL's top pass-rushing unit.