The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to to overcome a 20-6 deficit in Week 15 as they extended their winning streak to 5 games after a 24-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH.
After every game we evaluate the game and label some players as ‘Winners’, and some dubbed as ‘Losers’ based on their performance. Time to look back on the game that was.
Chris Boswell - Two weeks ago Boswell suffered an abdominal injury which caused the team to pick up Randy Bullock. Sunday saw Boswell go 6-for-6, including several field goals from 49-yards. There is a reason Boswell got a game ball after the game. Totaling 18 points in a key divisional game on the road is a great reason for the recognition.
Lawrence Timmons - Don’t look now, but James Harrison isn’t the only player fighting back against Father Time. Timmons is looking like the ‘Law Dog’ of old, and came up with several key plays in the team’s win Sunday. No play was bigger than his interception of Andy Dalton, but his play in short yardage situations was hard-hitting, and fun to watch. In fact, Timmons’ play has been great throughout the team’s 5-game winning streak.
Eli Rogers - The Steelers’ issues of not having a bona fide Number 2 wide receiver will likely continue for the rest of the season, but they don’t need to have a player step up and have 100 yards receiving on a weekly basis. Instead, they need to have players make a few plays in key situations. Cobi Hamilton has done this since being called up, and Eli Rogers did so in Week 15. Rogers had a team-leading 5 catches for 75 yards and the go-ahead touchdown Sunday. Rogers is turning into a reliable target over the middle of the field, and that is what the Steelers need moving forward.
Ben Roethlisberger - There were a lot of people, myself included, who were not happy with Roethlisberger’s play in Week 14 against the Buffalo Bills, and rightfully so. Some continued their criticism of Roethlisberger this week, but in my opinion, he played a tremendous game. It wasn’t his flashy 5 or 6 touchdown games, but 21/36, 286 yards, 1 touchdown and zero interception day showed poise, good decision making and timely passes in key situations. In other words, winning football. Exactly what fans need to see on the road from Big Ben.
Ladarius Green - Green isn’t the fastest, or flashiest player on the team, but he knows how to get open when it matters. His 5 catches for 72 yards couldn’t have been bigger. He had a great catch along the sidelines for a first down, another key play on 2nd down in the fourth quarter, but no catch was bigger than the 4th quarter reception which moved Pittsburgh into Cincinnati territory, but unfortunately led to a concussion for Green. If Green’s head injury has him out of the lineup in Week 16, the Steelers would be without a big playmaker on the field.
Penalties - The Steelers’ penalty woes continued Sunday in Cincinnati. Their 7 penalties for 104 yards continued a bad trend for the black and gold. While many fans will complain about the officiating and several ‘non-call’s, this Pittsburgh team needs to crack down on their own issues in the penalty department, if they want to be considered a contender for another Super Bowl.
I thought long and hard about losers in this game, and other than the penalty issues, couldn’t think of one player who was deserving of being labeled a ‘Loser’. The defensive backs played well, the defensive front overcame the Stephon Tuitt injury, the offensive line played a great game against a good defensive front...and I could go on.
Believe it or not, Mike Tomlin was right in his description of the game. Tomlin said the game was about the Steelers failures, mainly with penalties, and not about what the Bengals were doing. In the second half the Steelers cleaned up their game, and overcame a 20-6 deficit.
The Steelers are stacking wins...and the number is now at 5.