The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in winner’s row after a solid performance vs. the Atlanta Falcons at Heinz Field in Week 5. With the Cincinnati Bengals looming ahead in Week 6, the Steelers will hope to “stack wins” for the first time this year and improve on their 2-2-1 record.
Something I did last season and I’m going to start again is the Black-and-gold Links article.
This is an article where I take stories from quality news sources across the Internet and add them here for your viewing pleasure. I won’t be posting the entire articles, but I’ll link each story and author so that you can read the full article.
Today we talk about a strange story which came to light this week when Bud Dupree told of he and Vince Williams thinking Ryan Shazier’s injury stemmed from an illegal hit vs. the Bengals — not how he actually got hurt. See what the duo did, or tried to do, until halftime when they actually saw the highlight of the injury.
Let’s get to the news:
By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Revenge is dish best served ... well, accurately
How dirty and hate-filled is the rivalry between the Bengals and Steelers? Check out this revelation.
According to the Associated Press, Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree claims he and Vince Williams spent most of the first half of last year’s game in Cincinnati looking for revenge for what happened to Ryan Shazier.
After Shazier was carted off the field, Dupree says he and Williams assumed he was blindsided and they were going to out of their way to even the score. It wasn’t until halftime that they realized no Bengals player had done anything to injure Shazier in the first place.
So, a few things about this story:
• Who exactly did Dupree and Williams target? Who did they assume hurt Shazier and why?
• From a moral perspective, how would they have felt if they did hurt someone in an erroneous act of revenge?
• From a football perspective, how many plays did they screw up by taking themselves out of position just to administer street justice over something that required no penalty?
By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Joe Haden doesn’t know whether he will shadow another No. 1 wide receiver this week, whether he will follow A.J. Green around the field or simply stay on the left side of the formation.
What the veteran cornerback does know is he doesn’t need bring up the subject to Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
“He knows where my head is at,” Haden said Wednesday. “He knows whenever he comes at me with it that I’m ready to accept any challenge.”
And his preference is?
“My choice, I’d do it every time,” Haden said.
After the way Haden blanketed Julio Jones, the NFL’s receiving yardage leader, in the Steelers’ 41-17 win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, attaching him to the Cincinnati Bengals’ top receiving option would seem to be a no-brainer for the Steelers.
Haden, after all, thrives on matchups with tall, physical wide receivers. In his encounter with the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Jones, Haden held him without a catch through three quarters before Jones finished with five receptions for 62 yards.
Green is 1 inch taller and 10 pounds lighter than Jones.
“Whatever coach wants to do,” Haden said. “Both are very talented, both are really, really tall guys. I would say Julio is a little more physical, but A.J has the speed, his route-running is very crisp, he is able to go up and get the ball. He’s not afraid to go across the middle. He’s an all-around great receiver.”
Green leads the Bengals with 409 receiving yards, five touchdown catches and 15.7 yards per catch. His 26 receptions are second on the team, with former Clairton and Pitt star Tyler Boyd catching 30 passes through five games.
“You know what A.J brings,” Haden said. “Boyd is a great receiver and is doing a whole lot for their offense, third downs and on intermediate routes. But A.J is the bomb that can go off over the top at really any time and go the distance.”
This year, Tomlin said the Bengals have lined up Green all over the field more than in recent seasons. Proof of that success comes in the form of a 4-1 record for the first-place Bengals, who are averaging more than 30 points a game.
“They just make it tough to minimize his impact on the game in terms of knowing where he’s going to be,” Tomlin said. “He’s not going to be on the strong side, he’s not going to be on the weak side, he’s not going to be on the one-receiver side, directionally right or left. They are going to thoughtfully move him around, as they should.”
By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Mike Tomlin started with two words: Fifty’s down. The Pittsburgh Steelers saw Ryan Shazier reach for his lower back and signal for help, saw him lying motionless on the field and leave on a stretcher.
We know he’s down, Tomlin told his team, but we’ve got to keep playing.
That the Steelers didn’t just keep playing but rallied from a 17-point deficit to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, last December before a “Monday Night Football” audience amazes me to this day.
So I asked Tomlin how he and his team kept their emotions in check to finish that game. Tomlin gave perhaps the most honest answer ever at one of his weekly news conferences.
“I don’t know,” Tomlin said.
Somehow, the Steelers focused on football, despite the possibility their star inside linebacker could have been paralyzed while attempting a routine tackle on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone.
“That wasn’t about football,” Tomlin said. “That was somebody we care deeply about that got injured very severely. It wasn’t about utilizing it as some motivational tactic or anything of that nature. It was a very difficult thing to get through. We had a job to do, in terms of winning the game, but obviously our hearts and minds were with him.”
Shazier’s career could be over, and the silence in that stadium made everyone uncomfortable to watch a game that was vicious with violence.
“The fact that Ryan got injured was a low point for everybody in the National Football League,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “He’s one of the finest young players and just a tremendous person. I think we all lost a little bit when Ryan got hurt.”
The Steelers have been reluctant to talk about how they dealt with Shazier’s injury — knowing it could have been any one of them — and got through the game.
“I hate even going back and thinking about it,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, “but I think the biggest thing for that game, the end of it at least, it was just the unknown. We didn’t know what was going on. We knew that a guy went to the hospital, but you really didn’t know the severity of it at the time.”
By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN
T.J. Watt works nearly as hard celebrating a sack as he does actually getting one. Fixed somewhere between rage and serenity, Watt leaps out of the backfield, breaks into a 20-yard sprint, flexes his arms toward the sky and pauses to savor the takedown.
Apparently he can’t help himself, calling the aftermath a “blackout” moment in which emotions overtake him at the expense of a potential hamstring pull.
“I always have that moment to myself where I’m like, ‘Damn, this feels so dang good,’” Watt said after Wednesday’s practice in preparation for Sunday’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. “The body does whatever the heck it wants. That’s why I can’t stick to one celebration.”
A spazzed-out Watt signals a defense that’s working. With eight tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble Sunday against Atlanta, Watt earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and tied brother J.J. Watt for the league-sack lead with six. Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is part of the three-way tie at the top.
But a disjointed Steelers defense finally looked organized during the 41-17 win. Defensive ends Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt were handling the interior and pass coverage had buttoned up the coverage breakdowns that plagued them for a month, allowing outside linebackers Watt and Bud Dupree to work one on one against the tackles.
If sustained, this recipe for success should only strengthen Watt’s position as a building block for the Steelers’ defense.
But Watt knows it’s not that simple, which is why he spent most of his explanation for his breakout day deflecting attention and praising teammates.
”Everything we do is a team stat,” Watt said. “We realize that as a team, if we want to be great, we all have to do our job and accept whoever gets the play and be happy for everybody. ... I think it will be a great boost for us.”