Big Lead Sports Bar


14 Thoughts on Steelers-Bengals

Well that was a lot more dramatic of a conclusion than I anticipated. Nonetheless, a win is a win, and I'll take it. Thoughts from last night's action:

1. Did Mike Tomlin and Jamie Dixon agree to make each of their games excruciatingly close on Monday night? 4th-ranked Pitt was playing Rhode Island at home. The Steelers were at 2-5 Cincinnati. Sounds like a pair of Ws to me.

But that's why they play the games, I suppose. The Panthers struggled to eek out an eight-point victory in a game that was separated by only two points very, very late, and the Steelers nearly blew a 20-point lead in what would ultimately be a six-point victory. Suffice to say, both Tomlin and Dixon were thanking their lucky stars once the evening was over.

2. Where to start with this one? I'll go with the Bengals special teams. Wow, were they awful. The fumbled opening kickoff virtually spotted the Steelers seven quick points. Kicker Mike Nugent missed two field goals that would have tied the game had they been successful. And punter Kevin Huber was just awful (but sadly had a better average than Dan Sepulveda on the night).

Fans don't seem to pay close attention to special teams since it's not as sexy of a fantasy angle, but if the Bengals execute properly, that's at least a 13-point swing in the game last night: seven points they don't allow and six points they score.

3. Speaking of special teams, Jeff Reed continued his roller-coaster of a 2010 by making a 53-yarder in the second quarter and subsequently missing a 46-yarder that would've put the Bengals away for good in the fourth. 

We can say they were both long kicks and we shouldn't have expected him to make both, but don't turn around and then tell me that he deserves to be one of the league's highest-paid kickers. Not with a field goal percentage of 70% on the season, dead last in the NFL. Good luck in free agency.

4. The Steelers won and they did a lot of things right, but they did not play their best game. For the second week in a row, a usually sure-handed player (this time, Hines Ward) fumbled, and Big Ben threw a costly interception in the fourth quarter. The direct result of the turnovers? 14 Cincinnati points.

What can I say other than the Steelers were sloppy and lucky to win? They're lucky they were playing such a disorganized team that didn't get their act together until it was too late. Give up 14 points on turnovers and miss a 46-yarder against a good team and that's virtually guaranteed to result in a loss.

5. As we often forget in Pittsburgh, the other team is also on scholarship (although I've never had a high opinion of the Bengals, even when they've won). Most of the nation is just now waking up to the fact that Carson Palmer is not a great quarterback, and there was no better stat they could've illustrated that point with last night than the one that noted his lifetime record is .500. Well, actually it's now one game below .500. But that really hits the nail on the head. He's a .500 quarterback. End of story. 

6. Speaking of players I'm not fond of, Terrell Owens had a monster game last night, torching the frequently-seared Steeler secondary to the tune of 10 catches, 141 yards, and 2 TDs. And I think he had the biggest hit of the game as well when he absolutely nailed that security guard in the back after his second score.

7. Rashard Mendenhall had a nice game, finishing a yard short of 100 and scoring his seventh TD of 2010. On the other hand, Isaac Redman once again failed in a short-yardage situation. Has this guy made any plays outside of training camp that have earned him a roster spot this season? If he's a short-yardage specialist, he's failing miserably. 

8. I thought the Steeler defense played OK, but it was not their best game by any stretch of the imagination. James Farrior was all over the place and had 11 tackles, James Harrison had a sack and three tackles for a loss, and Lawrence Timmons had a pretty sharp interception. But those defensive backs...I think the weak link on that side of the ball has been exposed sufficiently for the rest of the league.

9. Every week I watch Mike Wallace, I wonder how the rest of the league let two full rounds of the draft go by and part of the third until the Steelers picked him last year.

With his 110-yard effort last night, Wallace has opened up a lead of 132 yards on Hines Ward for the team's receiving yards crown...on eight less catches. Wallace is averaging 23 yards a catch. Let me write that again. because I don't believe it: Wallace is averaging 23 yards a catch.

By the way, how's Santonio Holmes doing, you ask? Well, let me look that up for you: 15 catches, 245 yards, 0 TDs. And before you say, "Yeah, but he missed four games," let me interrupt. Those were games that he cost himself, not games lost to injury. You want Santonio Holmes, you get a suspension here and there. That absolutely factors into a player's ultimate productivity.

10. Speaking of receivers, what a beautifully (albeit underthrown) ball by Antwaan Randle El last night on his touchdown pass to Wallace. Anyone else get flashbacks to Super Bowl XL?

11. Last night's game totally reminded me of Steelers-Chargers a year ago. Remember that one?

Three quarters in the books, and Pittsburgh's up 28-7. Then Stefan Logan fumbles a punt and the Chargers return it in for a score. The Steelers answer with a TD of their own, but Philip Rivers comes back with not one, but two touchdown passes in a span of 1:17. All of a sudden, a 21-point lead was now seven with 4:31 left on the clock. The only difference was that last year, Jeff Reed made the 46-yard field goal to officially put it out of reach.

12. Around the AFC North, Cleveland famously beat New England on Sunday, keeping the Belichick-Mangini rivalry going, and Baltimore kept pace with the Steelers at 6-2 by easily beating Miami. This week, the Ravens travel to Atlanta on Thursday night, Cleveland hosts the Jets, and Cincinnati goes for 2-7 as they travel to Indy. Sounds like three potential losses to me. 

13. As for your Steelers, they'll get the 6-2 Patriots on Sunday night at Heinz Field, their third consecutive prime-time game. Before you know it, they'll become an honorary member of the NFC East.

Once again, the Black and Gold will be facing a high-profile opponent a week after that opponent was beaten by Cleveland. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this one turns out better than the New Orleans game. 

If you're looking for a blueprint from Cleveland, the Browns held the ball for 38 minutes and forced three Patriot turnovers. And Peyton Hillis had 184 yards rushing. I don't even need to look at the score to know that they won the game. 

This matchup will be the first between the Steelers and Patriots since the 2008 Bloodbath at Foxborough, when the Steelers ran up 23 second-half points against the Brady-less Pats in a 33-10 stomping. I'm sure Ryan Clark remembers it fondly. Wes Welker, not so much. Actually, he probably has no memories from that game.

14. Finally, it's Sad Trombone time!

As you know, the Sad Trombone goes to someone who deserves no sympathy and in turn gets mocked by internet tough guys such as myself.

Today’s recipient of the Sad Trombone will be a first-ballot inductee into the Sad Trombone Hall of Fame: Chad Ochocinco.

One of three reality-TV stars on the Bengals (joining T.O. and Dhani Jones), Ochocinco has made a career out of taunting the Steelers. Every time they play, I pull up his game log and point out that his lifetime numbers against Pittsburgh are very underwhelming, especially considering the amount of talk he generates. So after an offseason of calling the Steelers girls, he put on his cute gold shoes, had one catch for 15 yards, and threw several temper tantrums in another Bengal loss. Talk about that on your next T.Ocho show.

Very, very loud Sad Trombone!

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


tola'at sfarim said...

2nd week in a row blatant helmet to helmet on steelers receivers and no calls

Unknown said...

If Ocho was lying on the turf at Heinz, would fans yell "I hope he's dead!"? B/c that's what I was hearing last night from bengal fans when Hines was shaken up. Good old bengal fans...

Unknown said...

If it were any other organization but the Bengals, Ocho would have been released by now. Diminishing skills and a bigger d-bag than TO.

A win's a win, but man what an AWFUL interception by Ben in the fourth quarter.......literally the only way to get Cinci back in the game at that point.

Steve said...

Is there anything scarier than watching Gay try to make a solo tackle on a receiver after catching a quick out pass? I felt the whiff of him coming up empty sitting on my couch. I'm fine with him on special teams but as a starter Gay is awful and McFadden isn't really much better. Troy had another less than spectacular game as a pass defender again although he was solid against the run. Even Taylor, who seems to be the only CB worth anything is good for at least one huge game changing interference call a game.

This team has become maddingly (sp.) consistent in finding ways to let other teams back into games, whether it’s turnovers, penalties, not being able to run the ball to take time off the clock, or the always generous secondary handing out welfare checks, it’s just becoming automatic anymore they’ll crap the bed in some form or fashion. If they would have blown this game I’d be firmly in the “Fire Tomlin” camp right now and I’m still not sure what side I fall on. I’d almost rather see them go into the 4th quarter down by a score than up by 2 scores anymore.

Yup, a win’s a win but it doesn’t really make me feel any better about this team or their chances to do much if they make the playoffs, not playing like this it doesn’t. I was more hopeful and satisfied with their level of play when they were 3-1 and without Ben than I am now.

Can someone explain to me why I should be pissed off last night going to bed after a Steelers win?

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Gay cannot cover. Period.

I thought the defense played well, looking at the 14 points and late second half drive, the first TD was the definition of worthless prevent defense and Palmer padding his stats. The second TD was a gift from the men in stripes and there are no two ways about that one. The final drive, after Reed shanked the FG, we sacked Palmer and forced a fumble. Then hit him again on 3rd and 14 and the Bengals got an incredibly lucky bounce that lead to that conversion. Another terrible PI call on a throw away and they get thioer 4th first down of the quarter via penalty.

The pass rush was getting to Palmer and hitting him a majority of the time he dropped back.

I don't understand why we were throwing 3 times in a row leading up to Ben's terrible INT that I thought Heath could have batted away.

Zahra Khan said...

In a game Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, head compared to "a horror film," Pittsburgh was a few meters from blowing a lead in the fourth quarter of 20 points in Cincinnati.
Steelers Bengals

Someone Somewhere said...

They were throwing three times in a row because Bruce Arians is smarter than every other offensive coordinator in the league...combined! See also: his desire to not employ a real fullback, yet often dials up plays that utilize tight ends and tailbacks in that position. You just don't understand a tortured genius when you see one. Unfortunately for Steeler fan, we were diverted from his 4th quarter play calling brilliance vis a vis an untimely interception thrown by one, Ben Roethlisberger. Prior to that drive, I'm thinking the conversation on the sideline went something like this: "Alright guys, we're up by 13...plenty of time left to really air it out and put this thing away!" I'm disappointed by the apparent mandate from head coach Mike Tomlin on the last drive, handcuffing the great Bruce Arians by forcing him to call 6 straight running plays even though there were over 5 minutes remaining in the game. Mike, don't you realize that BA had that last drive scripted with at least one pass play designed that would surely beat the all-out blitz with each receiver running 15+ yard routes?!? Hey Coach Tomlin, how about you stick to defense and let the offensive genius work his magic.

Someone Somewhere said...

"Fire Tomlin"'s rich. Are you kidding me? Pittsburgh has the best record in football, played the first 4 games of the season WITHOUT their starting QB, and you want to fire the head coach?!? You do realize that it took a 1-7 start in Dallas to get rid of the horrendously incompetent Wade Phillips? What more do you want from Mike Tomlin? Would 8-0 be good enough for you?

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

2. What? you're not counting the blocked punt and subsequent Steelers FG? Or is that cancelled out by Skippy's missed FG?

3. is it just me? or is Skippy turning into Janikowski? I mean as far as the heft and probability of drinking before the games.

5. Wow, maybe i had on the beer goggles too... couldn't believe that .500 record for Palmer.

7. That makes redman 0-for-what? converting 1-2 yd situations. I say we start using Big Snack on some Fridge duty!

9. Has there been a ball thrown to Wallace YET this year that he hasn't had to wait on? I can't even imagine how much more dangerous he'll be if Ben figures out the timing of throwing him deeeeep balls!!

12/13. Cleveland thumps defending super bowl champion Saints... next week - Steelers lose to Saints. Cleveland thumps AFC favorite Patriots... next week Steelers vs Pats. Could the Browns be hurting the Steelers by pissing off our tough opponents right before we play them?

14. Hahaha, not to mention, he changed shoes at halftime (...perhaps into something less faaab-u-lous?). Chad Eight Five should be traded to the Cowboys because, man, did he quit on his team last night.

Another point not brought up in the post: How are you gonna match William Gay up on T.O. straight up with no help on T.O.s first TD?!?!?! I HATE T.O. but if i'm a QB, i'm exploiting that matchup EVERY single time!

Oh yeah, and did anyone else notice that when we FINALLY get holding called on J. Harrison... it wasn't really a hold?

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

And also... i'd vote for the sad trombone to be Marvin Lewis using his timeouts when we were in victory formation at the end of the game. Bushleague!

okel dokel said...

I really do not get the "Fire Tomlin" mentality.

This was a pretty typical effort. We seem to be he'll bent on letting teams back in games.

The secondary is a very week link. Basically throw wherever Gay is and you got yourself a reception and some YAC.

Where has Troy been? It seems they do not use him to blitz since the Ravens game. I guess they feel more comfortable with both him and Clark back deep.

Skippy is not an automatic 3 any more and the sooner "the brain trust" realizes that they may actually start trying to move the ball. Those six runs in a row seemed surprisingly effective.

What does it say about Larry Zeirlein and last year's line when the patchwork line up they had on the field last nite was better than any line up they put on the field last night. They were not great but they were better than last year by along shot.

okel dokel said...

Stupid iPad auto correct

Hell not he'll
Weak not week
A long not along
Better than any line up they put on the field last year

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Wait, who said fire Tomlin?

I always say you judge an offensive coordinator by how well the offense plays, the defensive coordinator by how well the defense plays, and the head coach by how often the team wins.

Tomlin wins. A lot.

And it is nice of the Browns to get Brady and Brees good and pissed off right before we have to play them. Sneaky bastards!