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After Sluggish Start, Steelers Defense Put Clamps Down On Bengals In Major Way

Earlier in the week, we had a conversation about the offensive performance of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their 23-7 Week 14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. We then updated our weekly comparison of the 2010, 2008 and 1976 defenses. Before moving on from the Bengals game, let's take another look at the defensive effort of the Steelers by examining the drive charts when Cincinnati possessed the ball.

To the chart...

Start Time Drive Began Plays Yards Time of Possession Result
15:00 CIN 31 8 69 5:02 TD
5:26 CIN 11 5 22 3:18 Punt
0:26 CIN 19 10 44 5:41 Punt
5:24 CIN 31 2 2 0:47 Interception
4:37 CIN 40 3 -7 2:16 Punt
0:21 CIN 26 1 -1 0:21 End of Half
8:34 CIN 35 3
0 1:45 Punt
12:27 CIN 10 1
0 0:06 Interception
12:21 CIN 7 5
2:31 Punt
5:34 CIN 26 11 58
3:42 Interception

A few notes now on the drives.

* Let's start with the Bengals third drive, which began near the end of the 1st quarter with the score 7-0 in Cincinnati's favor. The Bengals marched inside the Steelers 30 yard line and were threatening to add to their lead when LaMarr Woodley came up with a huge momentum changing play, a seven yard sack of Carson Palmer that put the Bengals out of field goal range.

* Prior to that Woodley sack, the Bengals had amassed 145 yards of offense in about 20 minutes. From that point on, the Steelers defense absolutely suffocated the Bengals, holding them to a mere 45 yards over the course of the next three and a half or so quarters. Incredible.

* In fact, from the 5 minute mark in the 2nd quarter until about the 10 minute mark of the 4th quarter, the Bengals ran 15 plays. They gained just 1 total yard. Wowzers.  And of course, the Steelers didn't just force a bunch of punts.They picked off two passes during that time span, both of which were returned for defensive touchdowns.

* I could easily name at least one good play by every last member of the defense. The usual stalwarts showed up and performed well, but it wasn't just them who chipped in. Guys like Ziggy Hood, Brett Keisel, William Gay, Ryan Clark all quietly had outstanding outings.