Week 2 Game Thread: Steelers vs. Bengals

Feel free to comment on the Sunday slate of games while we wait for Monday Night Armageddon.

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  • Rob D

    Baltimore squeaked one out today..at least our division looks weak! If we beat Cincy tomorrow, I’m going to feel a whole lot better. 0-2 just has an ominous history when it comes to recovering from that and going on to make the playoffs.

    Record Pct.Chance History 2-0 63% (119-188) 1-1 41% (135-327) 0-2 12% (22-190)

    These stats since 1990.
    We are injury ravaged, young at key positions, and we need a win to build some confidence. Preseason doesn’t mean a lot, but going 0-6 to start the year isn’t my idea of building confidence. I’m afraid what it does to the young guys and also how freaked out STeeler fandom will be if we go down hard again this early in the year.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    I think Ray Lewis said that the NFL faked the lightning in Seattle to screw up the 49ers. And that the Ravens offense isn’t the same. Or maybe I misheard. My brain tends to shut down when his mouth starts flapping.

  • Rick

    ESPN also asked Ray Lewis to talk about what it feels like to shut down Peyton Manning. Lewis was 3-7. Maybe Tennessee is a little better than we thought. They took Houston to OT. And MAYBE the Bungles aren’t as good as we think either. Hope they go a bunch of no huddle tonight. Let’s get a W!

  • Cols714

    The Seahawks and 49ers seemed to be playing at another level last night. It was like those two teams are the best and maybe Denver can be near that level. I don’t think the rest of the AFC has a chance.

    Those guys were fast, strong and hitting everything Just really impressive.

    • Rob D

      Yep, a lot of high draft picks in every single round will do that for a team (s). You still have to make the correct picks of course, so it’s not just that you suck for years and luck into the best players.

      Both teams are loaded with youthful and elite to near elite talent. We are not even close to being in either team’s class but then again, neither is anyone else in the AFC this year with the possible exception of Denver (I think Peyton will do a slow fade out at the end of the year..too old)

      Watching what Seattle did to the consensus best O-line in the league last night was sobering. Smothering defense. But at home, that team is as close to unbeatable as it gets these days. Similiar to Denver’s advantage in Mile High…this time it’s crowd noise that can turn the tide..

      • Terribletoweler

        We’ll see if they maintain that level of play all year long, too. We don’t see many teams keep the pace all year. Tape is building on Russel Wilson and Kaepernick. I’ve wondered if not all tape is equal–for example, if you play a 3-4 defense, and tape you get is of a 4-3, how useful is the tape?

      • Canadian Steeler

        Yeah count me among those happy we won’t have to play in Seattle this year. They get a ton of flexibility having Wilson take up <500k (I think) in cap room, where Ben must be around 15M, which certainly allows you to build up their defence to that level. Obviously that's a credit to them being able to grab a QB in the third round that can contribute on his rookie deal.

        As for tonight, I'm cautiously optimistic. I cannot see our offence looking that terrible in back to back weeks. The Bengals obviously have a great defence, but Jon Dwyer was able to run all over them last year. Sure we're without Pouncey this year (and a swap of Colon for DeCastro), but that's something we can hope to repeat. The big matchup for me is gonna be Ike on AJ Green. He held him to one catch (a TD) last year in Cincy. I'll take that every day of the week.

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    Somehow, Mike Tomlin has never been two games under .500 since taking over in ’07. This is according to ESPN. Frankly, I was shocked by that, and wouldn’t be surprised if it was wrong. Then again, any port in the storm. Any port in the storm.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    By some measures, Ben was the best QB in the NFL last year with 4-6 seconds to pass: http://m.espn.go.com/general/blogs/blogpost?blogname=cincinnati-bengals&id=692

  • Terribletoweler

    Just saw Gruden interview Harrison. That was actually hard to watch, seeing his reaction to being asked how it was to play for Lebeau.

    • Intropy

      Yeah, Harrison is a guy I’ll miss. I really wish Gruden would have shut up and let Harrison answer the questions.

  • Intropy

    Thanks Antonio, that one’s all you. Well, and Sushi too.

  • Randy Steele

    How ’bout them Special Teams! (Knock on wood.)

  • Intropy

    I’m kind of a nervy spectator usually, but this one really has me. It’s the worry that the Steelers aren’t very good anymore combined with a sparseness of data that permits hope.

  • Intropy

    The first play I saw was a long run on 3rd down, so I think I missed like two plays. How is Redman already concussed?

    • Terribletoweler

      I missed that part too. I don’t remember missing any plays either.

  • Intropy

    Paulson has to hold onto that, and he needs to jump on that when it comes out. I know the refs blew it dead, but still.

  • Intropy

    WTF is this? You blow the play dead, the play is dead. Paulson could have recovered that ball had he known it was live.

  • Randy Steele

    Getting gouged on the run.That is worrisome. Where’s the gap control?

    • Terribletoweler

      Big snack isn’t plugging two of them.

      • Intropy

        Neither is anyone else…

        • Terribletoweler

          Touche.

  • Terribletoweler

    Well, that wasn’t what we were hoping out of a trip to the redzone. Paulson fumble, then a quick Bengal touchdown. Paulson just made a name for himself in the worst way. If MNF is an audition to make your name in the NFL, he is the next Sweed, but worse.

    • Intropy

      It doesn’t help that the refs flat out cheated for the Bengals on that play. Deplorable. The Bengals really do not need the help.

      • Terribletoweler

        Blowing the whistle early was pretty cruddy. No telling what happens if the play is live.

  • Intropy

    I know Ike Taylor missed that tackle, but he held him up pretty well. Where was the pursuit? Thomas was the first guy over but he was very late and he missed.

  • Terribletoweler

    I feel like this next possession we should just come out with passing plays. We can’t run the ball very well, so just make our running plays short passes and quick drops, then let Ben do what Ben does on the other passing plays that are not “running plays.”

    • Terribletoweler

      Wasn’t there a point last year where we just said running plays were a waste of a down?

  • Randy Steele

    A turnover for the Steelers would be nice. Too much to ask, I suppose.

  • Intropy

    Thomas has looked poor thus far.

  • David

    Well, at least we’re going for long passes…

  • Terribletoweler

    Oh no! Brown’s punt return gave us field position that led to our only 3 points. Joshua Cribbs flashback.

  • Terribletoweler

    Why an end around to our slowest receiver!? He was caught from behind. Cotchery is wiley, not fast. Smh.

  • Randy Steele

    Antonio Brown magically tackles himself. Duh…

  • Terribletoweler

    Great play to Sanders! I feel like such a debbie downer to not be optimistic that they will score down there. I think I’d rather be ten yards out, but I am hoping they prove me to be a pessimistic fool.

    • Randy Steele

      I am a bit ashamed to admit that the first thought I had was that Mike Wallace would have scored with that easily.

  • Randy Steele

    I had absolutely no faith that Moye would hold onto the ball and/or keep his feet inbounds. So what do I know…

    • Terribletoweler

      That makes two of us.

  • Intropy

    Derek Moye sighting. Does the opposite of a Limas Sweed.

  • David

    MOYE!!

  • Randy Steele

    Any other season and I would have been furious with the Steelers that they only managed a tie score with the Bengals at the half. This season? Not so much.

  • Intropy

    More home cooking with the phantom trip and the no call on an extremely late hit on Ben.

    • Cols714

      Boy that was a horrible call.

      • EasyalikeSundayMorning

        And then a defender tried to decapitate Ben and it wasn’t called.

        • Intropy

          That’s allowed when it’s four seconds after the play ends. See also, fumble recoveries.

  • Cols714

    I think the defense misses foote in the running game.

    • Intropy

      Missing Ziggy Hood too.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      And in the passing game, too. Wilson and Williams have made more mistakes in a game than Foote does in a season

      • Intropy

        Especially this season.

      • Ted

        What does it say for Lawrence Timmons’ intellect that Kion Wilson is calling out the plays when he’s on the field and if not, then it’s the soft-spoken SS Polamalu?

  • Cols714

    That really sucks. We had something going, a phantom tripping call later and are now down 7

  • Terribletoweler

    1 running play, 1 wasted down. I know at some point you have to keep the defense honest, but we can’t consistently gain yards on their 4 man front. There’s no need for them to be honest.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    The fumble and the tripping call each were a big swing.

    • Cols714

      Yep. This is why it’s so hard to judge NFL teams. Those two plays could easily be 14 points for the Steelers instead of the bengals.

      • Terribletoweler

        Well, we used to overcome those calls.

  • Terribletoweler

    0 first downs in the third, including switching to the no huddle before the 2 minute warning.

  • Randy Steele

    Hapless. Poor routes. Poor throws. I haven’t seen this kind of sloppy play since… last week.

    • Cols714

      Hey that what happens when you get rid of Arians and replace him with Haley.

  • Cols714

    Our defense has to be worn out at this point.

    • Terribletoweler

      Yea, it happened a few drives ago.

  • Cols714

    Remember when we had an OC who helped us lead the league or be top 5 in time of possession year after year?

    • Terribletoweler

      I just looked back to 2009, and every year it was in the 32 minute range.

    • Eric

      We get it. Arians is you BFF. Seriously, the horse isn’t just beaten into glue – the glue dried too. Give it a rest.

  • Cols714

    So Steelers message boarders got what they wanted. They wanted Mendenhall gone, they wanted Wallace gone, they wanted more short passes and screens and dump offs to the backs.

    Well they got all that and we suck.

    • Terribletoweler

      I don’t know if that is fair. No one said “forget the need to block the defensive line well.”

      • Cols714

        No. But our OL sucked for years and all we heard was get rid of Arians and Wallace shouldn’t be resigned and Mendenhall’s a bum. We did that. We now have no offense.

        • Eric

          Have you seen the Steelers cap situation? They couldn’t pay what Miami did and shouldn’t have anyway.

          Mendenhall is mediocre. Just like the rest of them.

          Did the message boarders want our 2 NFL caliber TEs hurt? Because the complete inability of Paulson to block is killing the offense.

          • djanyreason

            Could we have paid what Miami did if we didn’t sign AB? Quite possibly.

            Could we have signed Wallace for less than what Miami paid if we signed him before he hit FA? Quite possibly.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Eff! That was a bad pass from Ben.

  • Cols714

    On a positive note, the Bengals are considered to be pretty good and we hung with them despite getting screwed on some calls. So not all is lost. It’s a long season and we can see some improvement from the younger players on the team.
    Plus the OL looked pretty good pass blocking a good Bengals defense.

    • Terribletoweler

      True, I just didn’t like the amount of times he got hit. He was throwing in the face of pressure, though not getting sacked. .5 second difference.

  • Cols714

    Let me put it this way. We’ve looked bad, but we did play two decent teams. The Patriots looked worse but had the good fortune to be playing rookie QBs making their first starts.

  • David

    I hate to say it, but this loss is on Ben. Very inaccurate. Case can be made he didn’t have time, but he missed several wide open receivers high.

    I’m not gonna complain about that phantom tripping call or the 15 yarder on Woodley. We had time to win/tie and got -2 yards in the 3rd.
    Players of the game: Punter (>50 yd avg) and Velasco played pretty solid.
    DeCastro and Adams are making that draft yr a bust.

    • Terribletoweler

      I kind of agree, but he got hit so many times. I’ve got to think that it gets to any quarterback after a while.

    • Canadian Steeler

      One thing on Ben is that he looks so uncomfortable under Haley’s system. It could be him being stubborn and not wanting to adjust because he liked Arians’ offence better, but it’s still a giant concern. Regardless of why, I have huge doubts in Haley’s ability to maximize Ben (and therefore the entire offence). We don’t have as talented an offence as previous years, but it’s honestly incredible to see an NFL offence be this terrible with a franchise quarterback behind centre. Regardless of Haley’s credentials or merits, it has to be clear he’s not a fit with Ben. If Ben was a rookie, or even in his first few years, I’d side with the coach, but we’ve got a limited amount of time left to win with Ben. Just give him Fichtner or Wilson and they’re bound to install a similar offence to Arians.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    We’re 0-2 after two winnable games. But we’re only one game out if the division lead despite two of our worst consecutive offensive games in memory. If our offense can be even average, we can compete with any team in the AFC outside of Denver. There is a lot to improve, but Ben has been bad on third down after being spectacularly good to start last year.

  • Eric

    The defense looks like last years. Good overal, great at limiting big plays but zero sacks/turnovers. A turnover would have been huge in the 2nd half.

    • Terribletoweler

      I think it will come as our younger players integrate more, and if Allen can get on the field.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      True, although when the offense goes on 1-14 stretches on third downs (as I believe it did both games), that leaves the D on the field a lot.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    And now Ray Lewis is talking. Unless he’s going to trot out his bloody clothes, I’m not interested. Ok, yes, I’m a little bitter. It’s midnight, so time to turn into a pumpkin.

  • ted

    Haley is horrible and Tomlin still has game mgt. problems. But this debacle of a team is to be blamed on Colbert and the Rooneys, the latter of whom fired Arians and insisted on being a ground and pound team in a run-and-spread era.

    Colbert deserves tremendous credit for being the best exec. in football for the first decade of the century. But he has been one of the worst in the NFL at roster/cap mgt. in recent years. This team has remained competitive only due to the best DC in the NFL, some aging but still effective stars, and a franchise QB.

    We simply have low talent and our best players are old and injury-prone. This team is only going to be worse next year and the front office is making it a poorer team each year.

    The early-round offensive linemen have not panned out, with the exception of the injured Pouncey and he is overrated. We took defensive ends in 2 first rounds and neither could start until year No. 3, and then when one does start he is rated as the worst starting defensive lineman in the NFL by PFF.

    We made the stupidest second-round I have ever seen in Jason Worilds, something all of us who are not homer-fools criticized at the time. You don’t use a second-round pick for a positional player who will not start before year No. 4 barring injury, has an injury history himself, and you reached to take him.

    Yes, we mortgaged lots of the future to make runs a few years ago. That was not wrong, but we refuse to admit we are rebuilding (e.g., not taking the 3rd-rounder for Sanders) and are in perpetual salary cap hell.

    Among the awful decisions, we signed Colon to a 5-year, $29 million contract after he missed a season due to injury. That was risky, but not dumb, in part because we were so desperate on the offensive line. But then after he misses a second consecutive season due to injury, we restructure and fully guarantee every penny, because we were so desperate to create space.

    We gave Antonio Brown $43 million after one good season and more than a full year before he becomes a RFA? That was just dumb. He is a decent but athletically-challenged No. 2 WR, who must have an athletic, legit No. 1 on the other side to be effective. Sanders does not fit that need.

    There is not a team in the NFL (including the Jaguars) who would trade their healthy RBs, WRs and TEs for our skill-position players right now. Ben has no weapons. And outside of Jarvis Jones, what young defense player are you truly excited about becoming a star? All of our best players on defense are in years 7-13 (Polamalu, Taylor, Clark, Timmons, Woodley, Kiesel). They are old, and most are on the downsides of their careers. Just disgusted and see little/no reason for overall optimism.

  • Gretz

    The Steelers ran an end around to Jerricho Cotchery tonight. They deserved to lose for that play alone.

    • ted

      That was absurd, but continually trying to run behind Paulson as a solo tight end on the strong side makes less sense.