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Old 10-20-2008, 06:05 AM   #1
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Default Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals
Monday, October 20, 2008
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana / Post-GazetteJames Harrison sacks Bengals quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first half.

Watching the fitful operation of Bruce Arians' offense across three quarters of shaggy football yesterday, you wouldn't have suspected the Steelers under the direction of Ben Roethlisberger had any aptitude for something as precise as, you know, timing or anything.

But the reality is that this fifth Steelers win of 2008 was essentially an indecorous little monument to that very thing.

There is no better illustration of good timing than putting the three worst quarters of conceptual offense this season on stage against the perfectly awful backdrop that is the Cincinnati Bengals. Winless and virtually skill-less, the Bengals still kept the Steelers well within range all the way into the fourth quarter, making the thousands and thousands of Steelers fans in Paul Brown Stadium wonder what might have happened to Mike Tomlin's fellas had they been matched against a pro team.

"It's not what professional football is all about," was the way Bengals coach Marvin Lewis chose to characterize this mismatch.

No, what this was about was the Steelers dickering for two and half hours over how to take the Bengals apart, then hitting on a couple of big plays and a turnover in the fourth quarter to gallop off, 38-10.

"We killed ourselves in the first half; I called a bad game," said Roethlisberger, who pitched a bad game as well until very late. "I told [offensive coordinator] Bruce [Arians], now I know what it feels like to do that. He told me I did. I should have just stuck to what I saw a lot of times rather than trying to force things. I really felt that we could have had 28, 30 points at halftime."

That's only because they should have.

Instead they ran three consecutive pass plays on first-and-goal from the 3 (settling for a field goal), threw a swing pass to Mewelde Moore on third-and-2 from the Bengals' 44 that Moore fumbled out of bounds well short of the sticks, and pretty much seemed intent on not allowing Moore to take over the game for them until it was almost too late.

"We left a few scoring opportunities out there in the first half, we messed up a third-and-1, we just barely moved ourselves out of field-goal range with a few penalties," Tomlin noted without apparent alarm. "I think any judging at this point is putting a mental ceiling on what we're capable of."

Funny, for most of this winning afternoon, his offense was a lot closer to the floor than the old mental ceiling. It's immensely evident as the most difficult stretch of schedule begins that the Steelers' injuries are precluding the total development of any clear offensive profile.

"We haven't developed our full personality," said center Justin Hartwig, whose linemates managed to keep Roethlisberger vertical all day. "Sometimes we sputter. It's my first year at center and I've got a lot of responsibility, and there are going to be some errors here or there. But we're getting into the hard part of the schedule so we need to start peaking."

Fortunately for the Steelers, while the offense was shooting itself in the foot, as Tomlin described the first half, the Bengals were shooting themselves in the head. The NFL's worst offense started with five three-and-outs, one of which ended in a punt that went virtually straight up, not even reaching the first down marker.

The Steelers refused to capitalize, settling for a 10-7 halftime lead and a flimsy 17-10 cushion entering the fourth quarter, by which point it appeared the Steelers were content just to bore them to death.

Had it not been for the first of Lawrence Timmons' two sacks -- this one coming with the Bengals facing third-and-10 from their 37 with 12 minutes remaining, Cincinnati might even have used a semblance of momentum to launch a tying drive.

"When you're in the football game and you've got the football across midfield down by a touchdown, you've got an opportunity there," Lewis said. "We didn't get the thing done. I'm angry. It's not good."

Instead, five plays later, Roethlisberger found Nate Washington streaking behind emergency roster addition Geoffrey Pope for 50 yards and a touchdown.

"I thought, 'He can't be that open,'" Roethlisberger said. "Willie Colon pushed the defensive end right by me and I just let it go."

Timmons' second sack aborted Cincinnati's next possession, and Roethlisberger went deep again immediately, this time to Hines Ward, who was interfered with by beaten corner Jonathan Joseph at the 14. Moore scored from 2 yards out three plays later to make the swelling arithmetic look more appealing than it was.

Though it was as plain as the black and gold facepaint throughout the stands yesterday that the Steelers will need to be a world more focused and accomplished on offense to deal with the defending Super Bowl Giants Sunday, Arians said it's not a matter of fully developing their offensive personality.

"This is the personality, that whoever we put in there is a starter, no matter that we're without [Willie] Parker, without Marvel Smith, everybody's a starter and everybody is finding their roles," said the OC. "The quarterback missed a couple of throws he usually doesn't in the first half, but I'll tell you, there wasn't a blink at halftime. You knew 7 was going to do it. It's obviously we're going to sink or swim with him, and we're going to swim."

They swam well enough yesterday, but it was good the Bengals were around to show 'em that doggy paddle.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08294/921277-150.stm
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

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Old 10-20-2008, 07:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

Yea, forget the fact that we were without three starters on offense and it was a division game (no matter how bad the Bengals are), we suck.

This is the better article, over let's say how good our D played. Whatever it takes to sell those papers!
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

Wow. If I didn't see with my own eyes that Gene Collier penned that commentary, I would swear it was another of either Smizik's or Bouchette's tear downs.

At least Ben manned up and said he "didn't call a good game" - at least not in the first half, but he did what he needed to do and led his O into the EZ 3 times in the second half to seal the deal.

The O did sputter somewhat in the first half but came alive in the second to pound the Bungles into the turf (literally and figuratively ). I think they showed the Bungles early on, though, who was boss by their physical play which is and has long been the trademark of Steelers football. I hope they carry that intensity with them into next week's matchup with the G-men.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

Quote:
Originally Posted by VASTEELER View Post
What he said.

More hack "journalism." Does this guy realize that we NEVER trailed? Does this guy realize that the same Bengals team took the defending world champs to OT in East Rutherford? Yes, they suck, but they're still a professional team. Jackass.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

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Does this guy realize that we NEVER trailed? Does this guy realize that the same Bengals team took the defending world champs to OT in East Rutherford? Yes, they suck, but they're still a professional team.
Not to mention division rival, which usually means throwing records out the window.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

I Responded to Collier's article and told him I believed he was absolutely correct in his assessment.

Ben being the guy he is takes the blame for the spuittering but I am not sure I believe this to be true.

My simple assessment of the 2008 Steelers.

1-Their defense is more than capable to take them to the Super Bowl.

2-Special team coverage is vastly improved and again acceptable.

3-Offensive personnel , including offensive line is capable simply because we have a true elite QB. BUT

In any game , especially a play off game , Bruce Arian scares the hell out of me. I fear he will get out coached. Believe me I want to believe differrently but Arian has an established pattern of "going out of sync" and screwing up the offense.

I remain optimistic because this is a good football capable of overcoming a poor OC . I am hoping that Ben becomes like P Manning, meaning a coach on the field that ends up caling most of the plays himself.

We are going to find out in the next 4 weeks how good the Steelers are. I think they are capable of being a Super Bowl team just minimize Arian's play calling role.

Please! LOL
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

Fire Arians and let Ben call all the plays.

No-huddle, shotgun, spread offense, 5 wide!!!


Eh, maybe he's just another one of those "smashmouth", stuck in the 70's, run-run-run, 3yrds and cloud of dust, dinosaurs....I thought we weeded all those clods out by now.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Keller View Post
I Responded to Collier's article and told him I believed he was absolutely correct in his assessment.
I wholeheartedly agree with you and posted so yesterday.

Good to hear Ben and the coaches admit to leaving points out there and that they could have had 28 by halftime. I even rewatched the game last night and 10-7 at halftime and 17-10 after 3 quarters it was still anybodys game.....which it shouldnt have.

Yes, we couldnt score a TD in 3 plays from the Bengals 3 yard line. We also had a 3rd and 1 in the 3rd quarter and Moore, without a lead blocker, could not convert. The Bengals defense is so lifeless that on Moore's 1st rushing TD, their RDE stood there, flat footed, waiting for Stapleton to pull around and block his outside shoulder to spring MeMo for 13yards.....when he could have made the tackle in the backfield if he keeps moving.

For the first 3 quarters, the Steelers honestly played a better game in the loss vs the Eagles than this eventual rout of the Bengals. It was just the difference in the strength of competittion.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers lucky they were playing Bengals

You take a 28 point win in this league with no regrets anytime you can. Cincy still has NFL talent that makes million$ just like everyone else.

I think I can find something else in the world to worry about this week.
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