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Steelers News: Joe Haden thankful for the win, but knows he left a lot on the field

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Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back-to-back winners for the first time in this 2018 season after a solid performance vs. the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Week 6. With the team now able to relax on their bye-week in Week 7, they will hope to improve on their 3-2-1 record by beating the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens in Weeks 8 and 9.

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 how cornerback Joe Haden has been tremendous at times for this Steelers’ defense but, as solid as he played on Sunday, he realizes the two opportunities he missed to make interceptions which could have turned the tide for the Steelers. Nonetheless, a win is a win, but Haden and his teammates know there’s plenty to improve on moving forward.

Let’s get to the news:

He hoped for interceptions, but Steelers’ Joe Haden holds Bengals in check

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Joe Haden shook his head sideways, expressing his displeasure with the drops.

The Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback had a pair of pass breakups that he believes should have been interceptions in the 28-21 victory over the Bengals on Sunday, and Haden doesn’t believe his coverage of A.J. Green made up for what could have been turning-point turnovers.

“No, I didn’t at all,” Haden said. “I felt like I dropped two picks that I could’ve had. I’ve got to make those plays. I’ve got to change the game, get the ball back to the offense. The first one I dropped, they got seven points out of it.”

The first one was the most glaring, as Andy Dalton’s pass intended for Green hit Haden in the chest in the first quarter. Haden slid across the turf, slamming his hands down in frustration. On the very next play, a third-and-10, Dalton connected with Green on a 19-yard pass play to the Steelers’ 9-yd. line. Three plays later, Tyler Boyd caught a 2-yard touchdown pass to give the Bengals a 7-0 lead.

Haden also had a second chance at his first interception of the season (and second with the Steelers). It came early in the fourth quarter, when he broke up a sideline pass intended for Green on a 3rd-and-15 from the Steelers’ 45 yd. line that forced the Bengals to punt.

It was the second straight week that Haden contained one of the game’s elite receivers. Last week, he held Atlanta’s Julio Jones to five receptions (on nine targets) for 62 yards. Haden kept both Jones and Green from scoring touchdowns, but he still wasn’t satisfied.

“I’ve got to make those plays,” Haden said. “Those are the plays I expect myself to make. I didn’t make up for any of that. I felt like I just had to lock in and make some more plays.”

Tim Benz: Airing of grievances from Steelers’ last-minute win over Bengals

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Win or lose, we air our grievances after every Pittsburgh Steelers game. But it always feels better to vent knowing that the Paul Brown Stadium “escaloser” was in full effect.

What do you think? Do Bengals fans wearing Vontaze Burfict jerseys elbow each other in the head on the way out of the stadium?

We’ll get to that in a second.

Despite the Steelers’ 28-21 win over the Bengals, there is plenty to gripe about. After all, if Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown don’t do this at the end of the game to win it ...

... then the Steelers would’ve had to rely on the 2018 version of Chris Boswell to kick the game-winning field goal. That’s been shaky all year. And if that happened, this list of grievances would’ve been a lot longer and would’ve had a lot more teeth to it.

Think about it. The Steelers are now within a half-game of first place in the AFC North. Had they lost that game, they would’ve been 2-3-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the division. So that was a massive swing.

Steelers’ James Conner shines again; Le’Veon Bell back after bye?

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t resist a subtle jab at all of the media attention surrounding Le’Veon Bell’s impending return to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After leading the Steelers to a 28-21 last-second victory against the Cincinnati Bengals, Roethlisberger was effusive in his praise of Conner, who rushed for a game-high 111 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

“James was a bowling ball today,” Roethlisberger said. “What a great game, but I know this is his last game for us because Le’Veon is coming back. I thought he did well in his last one.”

Asked to expound on Bell’s return, Roethlisberger smiled and said, “That’s just what I’ve heard.”

If Bell returns to the team this week, as reported, the bye will give the Steelers extra time to see how he fits into the offense alongside Conner, who has three 100-yard rushing games (453 yards total) and seven touchdowns after six weeks.

Conner’s effort caught Bell’s attention from afar. After Conner broke several tackles and muscled his way for a 16-yard gain in the third quarter, Bell sent out a tweet that read “damn james” and was accompanied by a muscle emoji.

“He had a look in his eye, and he had a good week’s work,” coach Mike Tomlin said about Conner. “James just wants to put his hand in the pile and be one of the reasons why we win. He wants to prove that.”

Ryan Shazier lifts Steelers’ spirits in return to Cincinnati

By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

The Pittsburgh Steelers left Paul Brown Stadium feeling emboldened by Ryan Shazier, who suffered a spinal injury in this same spot nearly a year ago.

Shazier received cheers as he walked onto the field pregame, led the linebackers’ huddle before the first snap and was part of a passionate locker room celebration after a 28-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

”Just a lot of love [shared],” tight end Vance McDonald said of the postgame scene.

Shazier was rushed to a University of Cincinnati hospital on Dec. 4 after a tackling attempt on Bengals receiver Josh Malone left him struggling to move. Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery a few days after.

On Saturday, Shazier returned to the hospital and gave out No. 50 #shalieve T-shirts.

After the game, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton sought out Shazier for a handshake. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who walked off the field with Shazier, said he was involved in a players’ postgame prayer expressing thanks that Shazier is progressing well in his rehab and walking on his own accord.

Guard David DeCastro said he doesn’t know if he’d have the strength to be with the team every day if he were in Shazier’s position, unable to play. But Shazier is around most days and helps run a linebackers meeting every Wednesday through Friday.

”Obviously, he’s not where he wants to be and playing football again, but just the fact he’s able to walk and to see him walk off the field and to walk with him, it was special,” Roethlisberger said. “This is a place we’ll always remember. Not just for football but for life.”