Home > Steeler Articles > Steelers-Bengals Recap Week 9

Steelers-Bengals Recap Week 9

The Steelers narrowly avoid complete disaster and pull off another nail biter after leading 27-7 in the 4th quarter to pull off the win against the Bengals, 27-21. No lead is apparently safe with this team.

– Ben had an OK game. He had a handful of weird looking lollipop passes that were just plain ugly. One of which was intercepted in the 4th quarter. I hope Ben’s shoulder or arm isn’t injured but one could come to that conclusion based on these passes and the weird throwing motion Ben used to throw them. Ben also, once again, looked tentative at times in the pocket and held onto the ball too long. He did have a nice TD pass to Ward and a nice looking deep sideline pass to Wallace. He did, however, have another deep pass that was late in delivery and underthrown to Wallace. Ben needs to play better, there’s no way around it. To be fair to Ben there were a few passes where the receivers didn’t look back for the ball which is pretty inexcusable considering this was the eighth game of the season.

– Mendenhall ran probably the hardest he’s run all year. He had a number of real nice runs and a few plays where he actually fought for extra yards. He also had a good number of runs where he recklessly ran with the ball, luckily there weren’t any fumbles but there easily could’ve been. This has been an ongoing problem with Mendy that the coaches or Mendy don’t seem to be concerned with it. That’s gotta change. Moore chipped in with a couple runs and a couple short pass receptions. Redman was barely used and didn’t look great as a lead blocker at the FB position.

– Ward had the TD catch mentioned earlier but was held in check the rest of the night and dropped an earlier pass in the endzone. Wallace had a monster game with 5 grabs for 110 yards and a clutch TD grab in traffic. On the TD catch, Randel El actually recklessly threw the ball on a trick play and could’ve easily been picked off if it weren’t for Wallace. Randel El also had 1 grab and was a non-factor the rest of the game. Miller was thrown to on the first play of the game and then promptly ignored for most of the game even though the Bengals, like the Saints, were blitzing the hell out of Ben. For the second game in a row Spaeth caught a pass. Might be a new record for him.

– The O-line had some serious problems in the first half with the Bengals pass rush. Starks and Adams both had problems with the Bengals outside pass rushers. Pouncey also struggled in this department. As the game went on the O-line played better, even with the injuries. The O-line did a better job in the run game, opening some nice holes for Mendy to run through. Essex continues to suck.

– The D-line played pretty well without Aaron Smith. There wasn’t too many holes for Cedric Benson.

– The LB’s had an active game. Harrison put in another great effort and snagged another sack. Farrior actually lead the team in tackles with 9 and an assist, he also snagged a sack. Probably the best game of the year for this old-timer, except for his pass coverage which once again was poor. Farrior should simply not be left out in pass coverage, he is too slow at this point in his career and is clearly a liability out there. Woodley had some real nice pressure on Palmer at times, at other times he was a non-factor in the pass rushing department. He might want to try some other moves other than the bull rush. Timmons only had 3 tackles but his presence was definitely felt in run support and against the pass as evidenced by his interception.

– The secondary had an up and down game. Given more freedom to play up on the Bengal receivers, there was some good coverage and a few blown plays. Gay had some nice coverage at times but was burned for a TD pass to Terrell Owens. Of course he had no help over top, most CB’s are getting burnt in that situation. Taylor seemed to be matched up on Ochostinko for most of the game and Palmer barely threw the ball his way. McFadden looked good at times but as in past games, there were a few breakdowns where he was caught flat-footed and let TO snag another TD pass as he flew by him. Troy, once again, didn’t do much in pass coverage but did chip in 5 tackles and an assist in run support. Ryan Clark once again did virtually nothing. This guy has to have one of the easiest jobs in the NFL, get paid a ton of money and on gameday simply disappear.

– The ST’s had another up and down game as well. Reed made a 53 yard FG amazingly and then promptly missed a huge 45 yard FG in the 4th quarter. His kickoffs were simply horrible. Sepulveda had a couple crappy punts, including another punt that landed in the endzone, instead of inside the 10 yard-line which is what a good punter is supposed to do. Manny Sanders had another nice return. Gay had a great punt block in the 1st quarter and a nice tackle on punt coverage.

– Arians had some nice quick hitting short passes to start the game, actually using the RB’s and TE’s early on. As the game went on he veered away from that of course. I guess it worked too well. His “trick plays” continue to suck, even on ARE’s TD pass, the ball easily could’ve been picked as the Bengals were clearly not fooled. The Bengals, as expected, copied the Saints all-out blitzes at times and once again Arians struggled, continually running WR’s deep, even though the situation called for shorter passes. He also threw out his usual 5 wide empty sets against some of these blitzes, resulting in a quick throwaway by Ben. His run game continues to be vanilla and predictable, luckily holes were opened up but it doesn’t excuse his complete unimaginative approach in this phase of the game.

– Lebeau actually let his CB’s play man up on the Bengals WR’s. I loved this approach and hope it continues. Yes, there was some blown coverages, but overall they stymied the Bengals offense until the 4th quarter. Whatever is happening in the 4th quarter obviously has not been fixed and needs to be. Lebeau needs to realize that playing soft in the 4th is simply not the way to go.

– I usually don’t bitch about the refs on the game recaps, but Ron Winters and his crew did a God-awful job in this game. They virtually gave the Bengals a TD with two horrible calls in a row. On the Bengals final drive there were a number of glaringly bad missed calls.

– Obviously this team still has a lot to work on. Yes, the Steelers offense put up 27, but 10 points were virtually gift-wrapped on Bengals TO’s. As the game progressed there was less and less production from the Steelers offense as Arians apparently blew all his good plays in the 1st half. The defense once again gave up a ton of points in the 4th quarter. This team is still an enigma no doubt. The effort will need to improve next week against the Pats.

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