The Steelers gear up for their second straight prime time game when they travel to Heinz Field West, err, Paul Brown Stadium for some Monday night action. I actually went to Paul Brown for a game a few years ago when the Bengals were supposed to be good (when does that actually happen two years in a row though?) and I must say I thought I was at a funeral service before the game. That coupled with the stadium being empty with about nine minutes remaining in the game with the Bengals only down one score really gave me a clue as to what the fans are like. I am sure there are good ones, they just don't know what success is all about, kinda like their team.
Lets get to it.
New Orleans 20, Pittsburgh 10
Passing: Roethlisberger: 17/28, 195 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Mendenhall: 15 car, 71 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Wallace: 3 rec, 43 yards, 0 TD
Miami 22, Cincinnati 14
Passing: Palmer: 17/38, 156 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Benson: 20 car, 69 yards, 0 TD
Receiving: Owens: 5 rec, 65 yards, 2 TD
Offense (rank in NFL)
Pittsburgh: 297.6 yards/game (27th)
Cincinnati: 355.4 yards/game (11th)
Pittsburgh: 180.3 yards/game (29th)
Cincinnati: 254.4 yards/game (6th)
Pittsburgh: 117.3 yards/game (11th)
Cincinnati: 101.0 yards/game (20th)
Pittsburgh: 21.0 points/game (16th)
Cincinnati: 20.9 points/game (18th)
Pittsburgh: 302.0 yards/game (5th)
Cincinnati: 342.0 yards/game (19th)
Pittsburgh: 58.9 yards/game (1st)
Cincinnati: 120.7 yards/game (23rd)
Pittsburgh: 243.1 yards/game (25th)
Cincinnati: 221.3 yards/game (20th)
Pittsburgh: 14.6 points/game (1st)
Cincinnati: 22.3 points/game (24th)
Some players did not make it for the team photo. They all also weren't cast for the TV show. Just not enough time.
Hit the jump
Before we get any kind of breakdown of the game but lets take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals Roster.
First lets take a look at the star quarterback Carson Palmer:
Terrell Owens and Chad Ochojoko
They just amended this to add in "They say we lose too much, we say we're just getting started. Haven't watched the show once but after a loss to the Steelers (man I am spoiling my prediction at the end) I am going to watch every second of the next episode.
Lets take a look at how great Joko has been against the Steelers:
Actually not bad numbers for Ocho. But lets take a closer look at the numbers. Remember when he started making his "lists" of DB's that he faced and he would cross off the ones he beat? Well for the Steelers it was always Ike Taylor. Well Taylor came into the league as a full time starter in 2005. How do those numbers look now?
9 game, 40 catches, 484 yards, 1 TD
Haha, how can he even check off Ike's name one time? Mike what do you think?
Next on the roster is Cedric Benson. Benson has went from this mugshot:
To this mugshot:
Lets take a look at another Bungle:
So that introduced you to some of the current Bengals team.
Remember when those pundits and even Bengals players themselves were talking about things being different and running this Conference and winning it again and getting to the playoff and blah blah blah. You know the last time the Bengals had back to back winning seasons?
If you guessed 1967 and 1977 then you are correct. How can you honestly think you are going to be that good when you can't even put back to back winning seasons together? Just blows my mind.
My guess is that the Bengals are going to maybe come out and try to run the rock. Benson hasn't been too overwhelming with only 545 yards on 143 carries and two touchdowns. I know Benson ran the ball last year, even on the Steelers but lets take a look at the Steelers rush defense is this year:
The game is going to come down to Carson Palmer beating the Steelers. Carson Palmer has already shown that he hasn't had the best stuff but he has tossed 12 touchdown passes and only seven picks. The problem with those stats is that Palmer has been throwing his picks at the worst possible times. In terms of yardage Palmer has really been feast or famine. In his seven games this season Palmer has thrown 35 passes in each game. He has also gone for over 340 yards or over three times and was held to 200 yards or less three times and the third time he threw for a pedestrian 209 yards. No idea what is up.
A lot can be said of when Palmer went down the proverbial shitter, but all signs point to when he blew his knee out in the 2005 AFC Wild Card game against the Steelers. Cincinnati fans will cry that they should have won that game. Yea, I shoulda won the lottery. Jokes.
I could talk about Palmers passer rating but that does as much good as trusting Lindsay Lohan to stay sober for 15 seconds. Hey, she might be a good fit on this team. That would really give them some character.
The offensive line is actually pretty good. Palmer has only been sacked ten times this season and Benson has ran pretty decent so far this season so they do have something to say for the team, I guess.
The defense for Cincinnati is nowhere near where the 2009 production was. There has been a considerable slip and it has been noticeable. The Bengals have a pretty solid linebacking core led by Dhani Jones. Jones came over from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007. He also has some commercials:
USC product Ray Maualuga has been pretty steady for the Bengals and Keith Rivers rounds out the linebacking core. While the skill position players get all the talk the linebacker core might be the best overall unit on the team. Does that say much? Probably not, but its alright nonetheless.
Leon Hall is the leader of a secondary unit that is alright. The unit is solid and Hall is the leader with four picks and his corner buddy John Joseph always plays the Steelers tough. Although Joseph only has one interception this year he was a big reason for the Begals first win over the Steelers in 2009. He took a Ben Roethlisberger pass to the house. He will be a thorn on the Steelers side no matter how terrible he may be.
The safeties are where Ben needs to attack. Former Cowboy Roy Williams mans the strong safety spot while Chris Crocker mans the strong safety spot.
No, no, not that Chris Crocker. The one I am talking about has shoddy cover skills. Ok, well maybe both can't cover shit, but you get what I am talking about.
Roy Williams was overblown at Dallas and he is still the same player. Sure he can deliver the big hit but the converge skill were never there and they still aren't. Williams also hasn't been very healthy so it turns out you can get hurt by being useless.
Attacking the middle of the field is going to be key. The dbacks are solid for the Bengals and they will make you play by jumping routes and taking picks back for six. We have seen it too many times before. If the Steelers can get Williams and his group of safeties to cover Heath Miller and the slot receivers (e.g. Emmanuel Sanders) it could be a long day for the Bengals.
The Bengals run defense has been mediocre at best this season giving up 120 yards a game to their opponents. While the Steelers haven't set the world on fire recently with their rushing offense they have that ability in them this season. During the first four weeks of the season the Steelers and the offensive line got after it on the ground and it worked. What many people thought was going to happen was BA was going to throw the ball all over the yard and ignore the run. It actually hasn't been that bad. The Steelers still run the ball a good bit and even though Rashard only had 15 carries against the Saints he was productive. If we can just get a few new wrinkles in there the run game could open up the field a little bit more.
For the Steelers defense it is simple. Stop the run. It shouldn't be hard for them to do, they are used to it. Bar none. The Steelers secondary has been under fire for giving up too many passing yards. While I feel like I am banging my head against the wall by saying this but the way the defense is set up they are going to give up passing yards. I would much rather play the "bend but don't break" defense than be scared out of my mind of giving up a 75 yard touchdown bomb. It is not always the secondary, if the pass rush doesn't get there then it is going to be easy pickings no matter who we have in the secondary.
If I know one thing it is that LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison are pissed. Woodley was none too happy after the loss in New Orleans and James Harrison just got fined by the NFL again. Lord have mercy on Carson Palmer.
Cincinnati always gives the Steelers fits no matter the situation the past couple of years. They have got tough wins against good Steelers teams even when they are given no shot to win. The Bengals will be out of playoff contention, if they already aren't, so they are playing for their season. Very dangerous. While losing to the Saints wasn't a terrible loss, dropping a division game to Cincinnati would leave the Steelers 1-2 through their first round of divisional games. That being said we need to get a win, plain and simple.
That being said lets get this part jumpin
Steelers 27, Cincinnati 16