The Steelers pulled out a win at home against a formidable division rival on Sunday. It wasn’t pretty, but at the end of the day they got the win, and that’s what matters. Here’s a look at the things that worked, well and the things that didn’t leading up to the clock reading 00:00 and the final score of 24-16 over the Cincinnati Bengals.
- The offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked only once, despite some fair amount of pressure from the Bengals front seven. Yes, Ben had a few plays where it was just Ben being Ben—escaping the pressure and making plays. DeAngelo Williams also had another solid game, thanks to the hard work of the big men up front paving the way.
- The deep ball. Martavis who? Sammie Coates may not be as polished a receiver as Bryant, but he got behind the defense on a number of plays, and when Ben was able to grip that slippery pig skin correctly, made the defense pay to the tune of two catches for 97 yards.
- Bend, but don’t break defense. Once again the Steelers were not able to get a ton of pressure on the quarterback, but still held a very talented defense to 16 points. A.J. Green was constantly blanketed by Ross Cockrell with safety help over the top. Green did not have a good day, but Dalton still threw for over 350 yards, and yet Cincinnati only managed one touchdown for the day. I saw some missed tackles, sure, but the players looked like they got the message this week in practice, and they performed.
What didn’t work:
- Antonio Brown’s hands. The last time I saw No. 84 have a game like this, he coughed up a punt and the Steelers lost to the Jets. Even the great ones have bad days, and I’m not at all worried about AB. Maybe he had a bit of the jitters. Who can blame him, considering the last time these two teams played, he got handed his head by a headhunting street fighter who shall remain nameless. I’d bet AB added an additional 100 balls (on top his all ready ridiculous after-practice routine) to the juggs machine for each day after practice this week and has someone holding a garden hose aimed at him. He’s that kind of guy.
I don’t have a ton of negative to pile on after a sloppy but satisfying win over a division rival with Super Bowl aspirations of their own. I wanted a blowout. I wanted a MASH unit on the Cincinnati sideline. I wanted to see Adam Jones thrown out of the stadium. I didn’t get those things, but I did get to see the Steelers move their record to 2-0 and beat the Bungles to get there. AND, they came out of this with no new injuries, somehow. I’ll take it.