The Aftermath: Bengals 20, Steelers 10

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I really don’t have much to add to this recap that I already didn’t cover in the preview. One of the more predictable Steelers games I’ve ever watched — I even got the final score right. This team isn’t very good right now. The sky is blue.

In many ways, it looked just like the game against the Titans, except they decided to give us a little more hope throughout the game than they did last week (yay, improvement?).

The offense managed to put a field goal on the board first, and even got the ball back and (stop me if you’ve heard this one at all over the past 2.5 years) started putting together a nice drive and looked to be threatening to take a 10-0 lead. The optimism was short lived however because (stop me if you’ve heard this one at all over the past 2.5 years) the drive was derailed by a stupid turnover. The culprit this time was David Paulson.

The Steelers, of course, never recovered from this and the story afterward was pretty familiar. The offense just couldn’t stay on the field. They did manage to score a touchdown right before halftime, via some no-huddle and nifty play by Ben, Emmanuel Sanders, and Derek Moye. That was the most we would see from them, though. The defense tried it’s best (once again) to keep this team in it, but (once again) you could see the life drain out of them as the game progressed. It also didn’t help that they gave up two big plays to each of the Bengals dangerous tight ends, both of which led to touchdowns by rookie Giovani Bernard.

Two turnovers. The defense still couldn’t force a turnover if their lives depended on it. 3 for 12 on third down. The Bengals held the ball for 35 minutes.

Hello 0-2.

Negatives

– The offensive line played better than last week (only two sacks), and I thought Fernando Velasco did pretty well considering the circumstances he faced, but they still mostly feel out of whack and are far from being on the same page. The run-blocking remains atrocious and Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert are bad at football.

– Ben seemed to be turning it on at the end of the half. Enough that I thought this could be one of those games where he puts the team on the back and pulls out the W, but he was pretty bad in the second half. Probably deserved some blame against the Titans as well. I love Ben and think he’s a HOFer (as well as my favorite Steeler ever), but these past few seasons have been tough to watch at times. I know he is the LEAST of their offensive problems right now, but he certainly doesn’t help their case at all at times. Let me put it this way… there are two kind of people in this world: 1. Ben apologists who feel he can do no wrong and 2. Ben detractors who think he’s just the worst thing to ever happen to this team. Both of them are wrong right now.

– I don’t hate Todd Haley like most do, but things like an end-around to JERRICHO COTCHERY ON 2ND AND 8 last night makes it awfully hard to defend him. Hopefully a Kelvin Beachum end-around finds its way into the gameplan next week? Good Lord. That was far from Haley’s only questionable play call last night, but I still refuse to believe that this team would have fared much better against the Titans or Bengals… even if they had the best offensive coordinator in the league.

– The ability this team has had over the past 3 years to completely halt their momentum with a turnover has to be one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen. You can set your watch to it.

– Kion Wilson started at ILB but rookie Vince Williams got most of the snaps… Williams is bad and Wilson is even worse

– Ryan Clark had a horrific game

Positives

– Jarvis Jones is going to be a superstar

– Ike Taylor swagged all over AJ Green’s face last night and had a fantastic game

– Love what I see from Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley… lots of questions about their health (both) and effort (Woodley) and they’ve both been flying around and getting in on a ton of plays thus far this season

– The special teams played pretty well… nice returns and nice coverage (Jarvis Jones being a big part of that)

– Felix Jones didn’t have a good (or even decent) game but I like the way he runs and hope he gets the large majority of carries until Bell gets back… the offensive line gave him zero to work with, but he managed to squeeze every yard he could out of them

– Emmanuel Sanders actually looked like a respectable NFL starter last night

– Ben’s fade to Derek Moye was beautiful!

– Heath Miller is expected to fully practice this week for the first time since before the Bengals game last December, so obviously he’s closer than ever (him playing this week is far from a lock though)

– No injuries

– William Gay didn’t William Gay up the place?

Next Week

The Steelers try to avoid 0-3 when the 2-0 Bears come to town for Sunday Night Football and we all watch Breaking Bad instead.

Just kidding.

(Okay, maybe not)

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