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Old 09-26-2009, 10:44 PM   #1
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Default What to Watch for in the Steelers-Bengals Game

What to Watch for in the Steelers-Bengals Game
Posted Sep 26, 2009 9:33PM By JJ Cooper (RSS feed)

After rewatching the Bengals-Packers and the Steelers-Bears games, here are some things to keep an eye on this Sunday:

If the Bengals have a weak link on the offensive line, it's right tackle Anthony Collins. Collins has some problems with his footwork (he slipped and fell down a couple of times while blocking last week) and he's had a hand in four of the five sacks the Bengals have allowed the first two weeks. That should give outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley a chance to have a big day. James Harrison will have a tougher matchup in left tackle Andrew Whitworth. For Steelers fans who don't follow the Bengals, first-round pick Andre Smith is out with a broken foot. For the first time since Tim Krumrie or Kimo Von Olhoffen was playing on the Bengals defensive line, the matchup of the Bengals front four against the Steelers offensive line looks to be a tough one for the Steelers. Even in recent years when the Steelers have given up sacks left and right, the Bengals has been two games where the offensive line could feel good about itself. Pittsburgh has given up one sack to the Bengals in the past four games, and that one sack happened when Ben Roethlisberger stepped out of bounds for no gain when he found no one open to throw to.

Pittsburgh will have a much tougher time this week. Antwan Odom leads the NFL with seven sacks, five of which came last week. But he's not the only defensive lineman capable of creating pressure. The Bengals like to use a three defensive end lineup in some passing situations, moving Odom inside to pair with Robert Geathers, Justin Fanene and/or Michael Johnson out at defensive end. Johnson, a rookie, has shown some pass rush moves while Geathers and Fanene are two solid veterans. And Cincinnati also can get pressure by blitzing outside linebackers Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga.

Inside Domata Peko has slowly developed into a legitimate defensive tackle who will give Trai Essex and Justin Hartwig some problems. He's much more effective now that Tank Johnson is lined up at the other defensive tackle spot.

The Bengals front seven is much improved, but if Ben Roethlisberger has time, the Steelers should find some holes in the secondary. Aaron Rodgers threw for 261 yards last week and the Packers left some plays on the field with a series of bad drops.

The Steelers defense was not happy with its play against the Bears, and two sacks in two games is a pretty strong sign the Steelers pass rush hasn't been what it needs to be. It will be interesting to see if the Bengals follow the Bears approach and spread Pittsburgh out to dink and dunk their way down the field with short passes. Cincinnati has had lots of success with tailback Cedric Benson running the ball this year, but if Cincinnati lines up in a lot of base formations to focus on the running game, they'll be doing Pittsburgh a favor. With Troy Polamalu out, Pittsburgh's biggest problem is covering tight ends and slot receivers with an injury-depleted secondary. Cincinnati's tight ends aren't much of a pass-catching threat, but the Bengals do have enough depth at receiver to go three and four-wide and see if Pittsburgh can cover them.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: What to Watch for in the Steelers-Bengals Game

I truly am tired of hearing all about this so called much improved defense for the Bungles. Ben and the entire offense shows the world that they are still the same old Bungles defense.
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: What to Watch for in the Steelers-Bengals Game

The only thing I'm going to watch for is field turf in Carson's teef.
"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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