The Steelers have quietly won four in a row, which doesn't make the loss to the Patriots sting any less, but does show how a team like this responds after their weakest point of the season. And after 2-straight 3 point games, the Steelers (and the defense in particular) looked to make a statement. That statement was "Hey, our defense can beat your whole team. Let us show you."
There were rumblings of this being a trap game, or the Bengals looking to exact revenge after a loss in Cincy earlier this season. The Steelers dug in and took care of business. Someone asked Tomlin earlier in the week if it was possible to overlook the Bengals or something. His response was along the line of "It's an AFC North game. Enough said." That mentality manifested itself yesterday.
Ben: 21 of 33 for 258 yards. No scores or picks, and he took a few unnecessary sacks. Not bad considering the elements. And the nose. And the foot. He also took off for a nice run after a bad Pouncey snap disrupted any thought of a passing rhythm. In that rain, he wasn't called upon to win the game. He was just asked to not lose it...leaving that duty to his Cincinnati counterpart. Thank God he's a durable QB, cos there was definitely a few late hits and the shot to the head that could've been bigger had Ben let them affect the game. 3.5 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
Defense: The D did it again. They just have these games where they dictate everything. The Steelers took away the run, since that's all they do this season. And then knowing that Palmer was just gonna pass, they took that away, too. If they play like that every game, there isn't an offense on the planet that can beat them. 5 of 5 helmets. Dick LeBeau knows what's up (h/t ape for coming through with the gif):
Troy and Woodley: Yeah, I already rated the D, but these 2 guys needed extra attention. Both had TDs, Troy had 2 picks and Woodley added another 2 sacks. Without even paying attention to any other individual defensive effort around the league this week, I can still safely say that both Troy and LaMarr should jointly win AFC Defensive Player of the Week. And then I'd get to bust out double the MS Paint. 5 of 5 helmets.
Cheap Trick: I played PSAMP's unofficial 2010 Steelers motivational anthem Dream Police twice, once prior to the start of each half. The offense messed around in the first quarter and were helped by Troy's pick-6 in the second. It took til the end of the half for the offense to finally break through, yet only with a Suisham FG with 21 seconds left. So I played it again right before the Steelers got the ball after halftime to keep the momentum in Pittsburgh's favor. They cashed in with 6 more points to make it a 13-7 game. I'll take it. The song is 8-2 on the season. You can't ignore that hustle. 4 of 5 helmets.
Jets come to town next week. Good, I'll be glad to have 'em outta my back yard here in NYC.
(thanks to Doug for the banner pic)