Steelers Vs Bengals Wrap-Up

13 11 2010

By Justin Cupler

When the Steelers jump out to a 27 – 7 lead against any opponent, typically, fans can sit back and just enjoy the game. Not against the Bengals last Sunday. The Bengals scratched and clawed their way back from a 20 point hole that they dug in the first three quarters of play. If it were not for the Super Bowl 40-type play by Randle El, we might be telling a different story.

In the first quarter, it looked as if it would be a fairly tight game, as most are within the AFC North. The fumble to start the gam

 

e, by the Bengals’ Bernard Scott, set the tone for the Steelers to play some take-away. That fumble was turned into a relatively fast drive, ending in a 1-yard touchdown by Mendenhall.

The next drive led to more special teams woes for the Bengals. After a short –five play — drive, the Bengals lined up for, what seemed to be, a typical punting situation. At this point, William Gay decided to remember that he was once a highly touted rookie, coming out of Louisville, and raced to the punter untouched and blocked the punt.

With a short field, the offense drove down to the 7-yard line, but stalled there. Jeff Reed converted a 25-yarder making it 10 – 0. After a fumble by Hines Ward, the Bengals took over at the 38 of Pittsburgh and an absolutely perfectly thrown ball to T.O. got the touchdown. It appears that the Bengals are starting to gain some life now.

Lawrence Timmons again shined, picking off a ball intended for T.O. and that resulted in a Ben to Hines TD pass. Now the Bengals are beginning to fall apart before the half.

The two kickers then perform opposite feats, Mike Nugent misses a 51-yard field goal, but Jeff Reed comes in and bangs a 53-yarder in the next drive.

The third quarter brought about another missed field goal by Nugent (there went my fantasy team) after the Steelers stalled on their first drive.  After several exchanged punts, the 3rd quarter came to a close with no scoring, but the Steelers offense was looking quite stagnant through this quarter.

The first play of the fourth quarter was Randle El’s patented end-around WR pass, made famous in Super Bowl 40, but the receiver was “Lightning in a bottle” himself, Mike Wallace. Randle El launched a perfect bomb to Wallace, and the receiver made a great adjustment and fought off two defenders for the ball. The Steelers now seem to have the game in control 27 – 7.

Now the Steelers go into the most frustrating defense ever, Dick Lebeau’s prevent. For as much as a defensive genius he is, he is terrible at making calls to retain a big lead. This allowed for a 27 yard TD pass to T.O., after a questionable “tripping” call on Timmons (never saw a replay).

Ben gets the ball back and throws a terrible pick to the Bengals, setting them up at Cincinnati’s 45-yard line. This is where the game gets frustrating. On 1st down 350 lbs. of Casey Hampton is storming through the line and the center pulls the old — and illegal —  “ole” play, this is where he blocks then quickly moves aside allowing the lineman to fall on his face, well this time Casey fell right at Palmers legs, and a flag was thrown. I have two problems on this play, despite the offensive lineman breaking the rules.

1) Casey was already in a falling motion while Palmer still had the ball (penalty shouldn’t be called)

2) Casey hit Palmer mid-thigh, NOT at or below the knees, not a penalty.

Ok, so that costs 15 yards, so-be-it. The very next play, Ike Taylor has perfect coverage on T.O. and knocks the ball out of his hands in the end-zone. Literally, 5 – 10 seconds after the play, T.O. cried so loudly that the Back Judge threw a flag. I assumed, as many fans, that this was an Unsportsman-like on T.O. for the temper tantrum. Nope, it was a pass-interference call on Ike Taylor. That play leads to a 1 yard TD run (questionable as well) by Cedrick Benson. Now the score is 21 – 27, too close for comfort.

Bruce Arians again proved that his play calling need to be monitored by  Tomlin as he called 7 straight running plays with nearly 9 minutes left on the clock. The last running play was the biggest head scratcher of them all. Reed misses a 46 yard field goal attempt after the drive stalls, and we all wonder what ever happened to Mr. Reliable Reed…

The Bengals began driving again, but thankfully were stopped short by great defense from Ike Taylor and James Harrison.

In closing, my 10 thoughts:

1 ) Bruce Arians may need his head examined after his play calling in the 4th quarter. You cannot play “keep away” with 9 minutes remaining. 5 minutes, yes, 9 minutes, no way.

2 ) Jeff Reed has lost his swagger and confidence. The man used to have ice in his veins, but now misses routine kicks. Kinda reminds you of the ending to the Kris Brown-era.

3 ) Randle El is getting settled in his new-old Steeler role.

4 ) Mike Wallace is FAST! Real Fast…

5 ) Rashard Mendenhall is looking more-and-more like a young Jerome Bettis closing out games, minus the bowling ball in his gut.

6 ) Ike Taylor, despite many Steeler fans thoughts, is a premier corner back in this league. The guy needs help on the other side.

7 ) Why did William Gay suddenly remember how to play in the first quarter, but then forget again the rest of the game?

8 ) We need a fullback. Redman is a wonderful short-yardage back, but not a blocker and Johnson is a TE not a FB.

9 ) Lawrence Timmons is quickly asserting himself as the best overall linebacker on this team. A huge accomplishment for a guy that people were beginning to think was a bust. Listen up Ziggy Hood 🙂

10 ) How valuable is Doug Legursky to this team. The guy has stepped up and played every position on the line and has played them well. The guy hadn’t played center since his early-college years and you didn’t even notice he took over for Pouncey for a few drives. This guy deserves a real shot come next year.

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