LOL the Steelers are still mathematically alive as we turn to week 16. That's prettty much way better than anyone expected following the 0-4 start from hell.
In a transition year, the Steelers can take their small victories knowing they beat each divisional foe. And this game, as redemption for the week twp loss to Cincy, was how the team should've looked and operated all year if not for injuries and general poor play. There's a certain level of frustration just now seeing this team come out in week 15.
So again LOL at still technically being alive in the playoff hunt, but that rests on an innumerable amount of improbable things happening. So enjoy the good when it shows up these fainl games of 2013.
Ben: Ben threw a pick in this game, his first in 200+ pass attempts. It was a floater that Adam Jones snagged from Manny Sanders near the Bengals goal line. So, basically a long punt. And speaking of punting, the Bengals lost their punter due to SEVERE DENTAL BLOOD LOSS, Cincy responded by having to huck their placekicker out there instead. So, Ben's fault was negligible at best. The rest...efficient. 20 of 25 for 191 and a TD Usually in these games, the first QB mistake dooms a team...the Steelers were already up a bunch that the rest of his game let him outplay Andy Dalton despite the pick. 3.5 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
Bell: Le'Veon Bell didn't have a stellar game on the ground, but it's clear the Steelers love having the guy out there for his ability to gain positive yards on the ground as well as through the air. That latter part didn't really work out well for the Steelers late last wekk, but bygones are bygones and this week it worked to perfection. Bell caught all five of his targets for 50 yards. He seemed to rotate in and out more with Felix Jones and Jon Dwyer more late against the Bengals, but that could be due to both the lead and the circumstances of the current 2013 season. 3 of 5 motorcycle helmets for Bell. I could've given him another helmet solely based on his repeated use of the hurdle.
Defense: Great game. If this defense shows up all season, fortunes are completely flipped. Without an INT and just one sack on Andy Dalton, the Steelers were fine with playing safe coverage being gifted an early lead. Guys like Al Woods, Will Allen and Vince Williams came up with big tackles, Lawrence Timmons was again everywhere and Ike Taylor even had a game where A.J/ Green got his 93 yards, but was held to 9 catches on EIGHTEEN targets. And then the forcings of punts when Cincy had no punter like mentioned in Ben's section above. 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
Antonio Brown: What a beast. The early TD catch was enough to be considered one of the ultimate game-breakers in this tilt, but then he one-upped himself a minute later with a ridiculous punt return right up the middle to glory. He accounted for 66 of Ben's 191 yards and those two TDs in such a quick span that the Bengals could never truly recover. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
The Steelers travel to Lambeau Sunday to take on Green Bay and a hopefully-rusty Aaron Rodgers.