Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Great Escape: Steelers Win


A Monday Night Game on the road means one thing for Steelers fans: we had to listen to Jon Gruden fawn over every single player involved in the game. Gag.

Matt Millen said some dumb shit on the pregame show. But it's Matt Millen. He drafted WRs 3 consecutive years in the first round, including picking Charles Rogers over Andre Johnson. If anyone knows how not to run a football franchise, it's Matt Millen.

First Quarter

Steelers win the toss and defer.

On the opening kickoff, Emmanuel Sanders makes up for his kick return fumbles by forcing one that Jason "Powerman" Worlids falls on, giving the Steelers great field position inside the 30 to start the game.

Ben hits Heath and Mendenhall to quickly work the ball down inside the 5. Mendenhall pounds it in on the first try to give the Steelers a big early lead.


The Bengals start off trying to calm things down, keeping the ball on the ground and grinding out a first down with Benson. Benson gets them into 3rd and 1 and the Bengals opt to throw after getting 20 yards on 4 carries. B-Mac breaks up a pass intended for OchoStinko. Willie Gay comes untouched on the punt and lays out for a HUGE punt block to give the Steelers great field position again.

Ben goes for the jugular on the first play but can't hook up with Hines. The Bengals try to blitz up the middle but Raise Some takes it to the left and gets out in space for a big gain, taking it all the way down to the 10. The drive stalls out at the 10 and Reed comes in to tack on some more.


The Bengals shit on themselves. Palmer almost throws 2 INTs. Punt.

Steelers go to the no-huddle and Ben is able to move the chains with a 3rd and 5 pass to EL Yeah. Ben eludes a bunch of pressure on the next first down and flips it to Heath who comes up just short of the sticks. Punt.

Bengals come back with the hurry-up, Palmer completing his first pass of the game to get across the 25. Benson grinds out some more yards and another first down. 

Second Quarter

Harrison stops a 3rd down completion to Gresham by taking out his legs rather than hitting his body. Cincy pins the Steelers at the 1.

Ben is able to hit Spaeth over the middle to get out of the shadow of the goalposts. Mendenhall bounces one out for a big gain but Pouncey goes down behind the play. Arians goes to the bubble-screen, hitting Hines, then goes to the well again and Hines gets the ball knocked out. Fumble city. Momentum killer.

Palmer hits TO over the middle to start things rolling for the Bungles. Three plays later, Palmer slings one for TO who just smokes Willie Gay on a post route.


The momentum has swung and the Steelers can't capitalize, going 3-and-out.

Palmer starts looking exclusively for TO, since he's apparently the only one who can catch. After the refs finally call a penalty for holding James Harrison, Palmer tries to force one and Lawrence Timmons, who is covering TO one-on-one steps in front of the pass and makes the INT. Timmons single-covering TO? Is there any more evidence we need that this guy should go to the Pro Bowl?

Mendenhall gets it to 3rd and 2 and Ben takes a shot downfield for Mike Wallace who reels it in on the sideline. Marvin Lewis challenges, but to no avail. First down Steelers. A false start sets us back, but Mendenhall gets those yards back on a swing pass to set up a 3rd and goal from the 8. Ben stands in and hits Hines at the goal line for the score.

You can't cover Hines with a linebacker.


Two Minute Warning

Cincy takes over near midfield. Willie Gay pressures Palmer into a bad throw on 2nd down but then takes an illegal contact penalty to give Cincy a first down. Palmer can't move the ball and has to settle for a 51-yard field goal attempt the Nugent shanks. 

Ben takes over with 45 seconds to play and 2 timeouts and goes right to work hitting Mike Wallace to get down to the Bengals 35. After 2 incompletions with 10 seconds left, Tomlin opts to give Reed a shot at a 53-yarder. Against all odds, Reed nails it.


Third Quarter

A good sign for the Steelers is that Pouncey is back to start the 3rd. The Steelers start the quarter with a sweep to Randle El that goes nowhere. Ben gets swarmed on 3rd and 11, forcing a punt.

Farrior rips through the A-gap for the first sack of the game but Palmer converts the 3rd down hitting Shipley on the post. The Bungles stall out when they try to run on the Steelers base defense in 3rd and short. Yeah right. Timmons and Harrison blow it up. Cincy misses another field goal.

The Steelers go to the ground 3 times and Redman comes up short on 3rd and 2. Punt.

Woodley storms in untouched and sacks Palmer on first down. Cincy can never get going. Punt.

Ben goes for the jugular on the first play and barely underthrows Mike Wallace. Two incompletions later, it's Sepulveda time again.

The Bengals look like they really don't want to be here, and James Harrison takes advantage, storming in and pulling Palmer down by the ankles for the sack.
Priceless look on Palmer's face.

Mendenhall dances for a few yards and Ben converts the first down with a QB sneak on 3rd and short.

Fourth Quarter

Having Ben go deep for Mike Wallace hadn't worked much, so the Steelers run the Randle El sweep and El Yeah spins back to the middle of the field and fires it downfield where Mike Wallace beats 2 guys to the ball in the end zone.


The Bungles look ready to crap on themselves as Palmer throws to another zip code and Stinko starts throwing a hissy-fit. Marvin Lewis makes the smart coaching move and benches Stinko and all of a sudden the Bengals offense comes to life. Palmer starts hitting TO then stands in under a hit from Farrior and slings it downfield and TO comes up with the ball in the end zone.


The Steelers get the ball back with 13 minutes to play in need of a time-consuming drive.

Ben makes a great play against the blitz, stepping up and scampering for the first down. The clock ticks down around 10 minutes. For some reason, the Steelers opt to throw and Ben's pass gets picked off near midfield. To make matters worse, Flozell takes an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, giving the Bengals even better field position.

The flag-fest continues as Hampton gets flagged for "going at the knees of the quarterback" when he got blocked into Palmer's thigh? Okay then. TO buys a call from the backjudge getting a pass interference call on Ike to give the Bengals the ball at the 1. Apparently Cincy can't move it without help from the refs. Jokes. Benson takes 2 tries to pound it in from the 1.


9 minutes to play. Tense times. 

Mendenhall is able to get good yardage, catching the Bengals over-pursuing and grinding out a few first downs to wind the clock. With the ball near midfield, Mendenhall rips off a bit 20-yarder to move into field goal range. Rashard keeps grinding, and Arians calls a draw on 3rd and 7 with 5 minutes to play.  He barely gets brought down by his ankles and Tomlin calls on Reed to put it away. But Reed can't convert, pushing the kick to the left.

4 minutes to play. Up by 6. Yikes.

Woodley rings up a sack to start things off. In 3rd and 15, Palmer flips it to Benson. Farrior tips it and Benson reels it in and scampers for the conversion.

Two Minute Warning

 Ike gets called for a ticky-tacky Pass Interference to give Cincy another first down. Palmer hits TO down the seam to get inside the 20 with a minute to play. A holding call on first down sends the Bengals back to the 27. Palmer throws it away under pressure on first down. Palmer stands in with only a 4-man rush and hits Stinko to get back to 3rd and 5. Palmer overthrows TO to bring up a HUGE 4th and 5 from the 12. Palmer tries to go over the middle to Shipley who gets sandwiched by Harrison and Ike, knocking the ball out and securing the victory.

Victory Formation.

Suck it, Goodell.

Players of the Game:
Offensive Game Ball: Rashard Mendenhall
Defensive Game Ball: James Harrison

Honorable Mentions:
LaMarr Woodley
Lawrence Timmons
James Farrior
Ike Taylor
Hines Ward
Mike Wallace
Antwaan Randle El
Willie Gay

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Momentum-Killing Turnovers

We're not hanging this one on the defense. It's hard to play defense when you get called for a penalty every play. No, the Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game goes to the Steelers 2 turnovers, both of which were huge momentum-killers. The first came early in the game with the Steelers up 10-0 and driving for what looked to be more points. It's well-documented that we absolutely hate the WR Screen play, so we won't even get into that. Hines' fumble put wind back in the sails of a Bengals team that was looking like the Bungles of old. Let's set this straight: we're not blaming Hines for this, just saying that in the grand scheme of the game, the fumble hurt. The second turnover was Roethlisberger's interception with 10 minutes to go in the game. After just picking up a first down, the Steelers could have opted to run the ball two more times to take another minute and a half off the clock. Instead, they went to the air and turned the ball over, giving the Bengals hope at a comeback.

Final Thoughts
  • Lawrence Timmons. Pro Bowl. Period.
  • How much can you say about the job Ike Taylor does against OchoStinko? He just completely takes him out of the game.
  • Nice game for Mendenhall with 99 yards and a TD, plus 33 more receiving yards.
  • Cincy was using a lot of the same blitzes New Orleans did last week. Good to see our offense adapting and adjusting.
  • Hopefully Pouncey and Kemoeatu are okay, tough to lose 2 guys on the O-line to injuries in one game. Pouncey did return to the game in the 3rd quarter.
  • EL YEAH is back!
  • Mike Wallace. Wow. This guy might be a top 10 receiver in the league next season.
  • Woodley and Harrison both had sacks. Solid game.
  • How good has Emmanuel Sanders been for us on Special Teams this year? The two fumbles (that weren't really his fault) aside, he's busted off big returns and he forced a fumble on the opening kickoff tonight. This kid is going to be something special.
  • Buckle up, it's Patriots week. We're not out of the water yet.
  • We said at the beginning of the year if we could go 2-2 through the Gauntlet of the schedule we'd be in good shape. Guess what? We're 2-1 right now. Beating New England would go a long way to securing some tie-breakers that will be useful come playoff time.

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