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mesaSteeler
11-15-2009, 10:58 AM
Beating Bengals is a must
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer, dlolley@observer-reporter.com
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localsports/11-15-2009-Steelers-Bengals-preview
This article has been read 138 times.

PITTSBURGH - Since 1970, the Steelers and Bengals have met only three times in the second half of a season when both teams had winning records.

All three times, the winner of that game went on to win the division.

Unfortunately for the Steelers, the Bengals have won all three, taking the title in 1981, 1990 and 2005.

The Steelers hope to get the upper hand when the two 6-2 teams play today at Heinz Field.

For Pittsburgh, defeating the Bengals is a must. Cincinnati won the first meeting this season at Paul Brown Stadium, 23-20. A Cincinnati win would give the Bengals a two-game lead over the Steelers in the AFC North standings.

Not that the Steelers needed more motivation.

"Any time you lose a game, you want to come out and prove that you can beat them," said Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "But if you need extra motivation to play any AFC North team, there's something wrong with you."

Cincinnati knows what it will face.

"It's not easy at all. I'll be the first to tell you, especially someone like myself, who's very brash when it comes to playing against opponents," said Bengals outspoken receiver Chad Ochocinco. "In no way is this going to be an easy job or task for us offensively. We have to play mistake-free football."

The Bengals nearly did that in the first meeting but still needed to score two touchdowns in the final nine minutes to beat the Steelers, who outgained them by 100 yards.

With strong safety Troy Polamalu out with a sprained knee, the Steelers didn't blitz Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer much in the fourth quarter, choosing to use more prevent defenses.

Palmer picked that apart and beat the Steelers with a four-yard TD pass to slot receiver Andre Caldwell with 14 seconds remaining.

But Polamalu is back and playing well. In four games, he has three interceptions, including one in the fourth quarter of last week's 28-10 win over Denver when the Broncos were attempting to get back into the game.

"I think we got good pressure the first couple of quarters," said Steelers linebacker James Farrior of the first meeting. "I think the last quarter, we didn't get as much as we would have liked. That affected the outcome of the game. Hopefully, we won't be in that situation again. But if we are, hopefully, we'll try to come at (Palmer) with more pressure."

The Bengals will try to slow Roethlisberger and the Steelers' passing game enough to keep them in it. They did it in the first game, with cornerback Johnathan Joseph picking off a Roethlisberger pass in the third quarter and returning it for Cincinnati's first touchdown.

That has been Cincinnati's defensive theme this season. Though the Bengals rank 25th in the league against the pass, they have intercepted eight in the past four games.

"We weren't closing out games early in the year. We weren't scoring touchdowns every time we got the chance," said Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. "We feel like we're doing a pretty good job of that now."

The Steelers have won five straight since the loss to Cincinnati. The Bengals have won six of seven.

"This will be an event, not a football game," said Ochocinco.

Odds and end zones

The Bengals are 3-0 on road and 4-0 in AFC North. They've never been 5-0 in division play. ... The Steelers are 16-3 when Polamalu makes an interception. ... The Steelers' home record of 220-83-1 (.725) since the NFL merger in 1970 is the league's best. ... Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has never lost division game at home, going 7-0.

HometownGal
11-15-2009, 11:49 AM
They've never been 5-0 in division play. ...

And they're not going to be 5-0 in division play after today either. :tt02:

Steelboy84
11-15-2009, 11:50 AM
You can say that again. We can't afford to fall a game behind them because all they have left is Cleveland!

keysmann
11-15-2009, 12:29 PM
Well, when you have Jeff Reed giving up AGAIN on a return tackle. Good God. Can't that guy tackle?

stb_steeler
11-15-2009, 04:31 PM
You can say that again. We can't afford to fall a game behind them because all they have left is Cleveland!

Its far from over, remember 05?. if Steelers lose a division title and still win the Hardware. I'll take that anyday.:thumbsup:

stillers4me
11-15-2009, 04:36 PM
Its far from over, remember 05?. if Steelers lose a division title and still win the Hardware. I'll take that anyday.:thumbsup:

I'd take it, but I'm not sure my heart can.

fansince'76
11-15-2009, 04:38 PM
We've got 7 games to play. Nothing has been decided yet. We are behind the eight ball at this point, though.

Edman
11-15-2009, 05:25 PM
On the standing side we're only a game behind the Bengals. We just lost a few tiebreakers to them is all.

A lot can happen in the next seven weeks.

stb_steeler
11-15-2009, 05:53 PM
On the standing side we're only a game behind the Bengals. We just lost a few tiebreakers to them is all.

A lot can happen in the next seven weeks.

Yep !!! who's to say Bungals lose another 2-3 games and the Steelers win the rest.... Lets all take a deep breath and relax....Its far from over! :tt02:

MasterOfPuppets
11-15-2009, 05:56 PM
there's a reason they don't hand out division titles and playoff spots after 9 weeks ....still a lot of football left to be played.

stlrz fan
11-15-2009, 07:43 PM
Remaining schedule favors us but Baltimore twice is tough. The Rats would love to play spoiler!!