Steelers’ record: 6-2
One year ago: 6-2
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 49-32
To be the champ, you gotta be able to beat the champ, and despite their record coming into this game that is the Cincinnati Bengals, who swept both the Steelers and Ravens in winning the AFC North in 2009. In Mike Tomlin’s first two seasons as coach, the Steelers were 5-1 and then 6-0 in games within their division. But last season, they were only 3-3, including an 0-3 on the road.
Throwing when they should’ve been running – with a 27-14 lead with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter –
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
WHAT WENT RIGHT
* One year after Bernard Scott returned a kickoff for a touchdown against the Steelers, he fumbled the opening kickoff.
* Again, with the special teams being an asset. On the Bengals’ first punt,
WHAT WENT WRONG
* Red zone offense was a problem for the Steelers in last year’s game at Paul Brown Stadium, and it bit the Steelers following the blocked punt by William Gay. Last year the Steelers had to settle for field goals last year after getting to the 2-yard line and the 7-yard line. The Steelers got to the 8-yard line this time, and Jeff Reed’s 25-yard field goal gave them a 10-0 lead.
* Cedric Benson had 37 yards on eight carries in the first quarter, and the Bengals were having success running the ball out of their three-wide-receiver formation. The Steelers typically counter that with their nickel defense, which only has two defensive linemen on the field.
* Antwaan Randle El decided not to fair catch Kevin Huber’s second punt – early in the second quarter – at the 10-yard line. The ball hit and was downed by Andre Caldwell at the Steelers 1-yard line.
* It wasn’t much of a play anyway, and at the end of a quick throw to Hines Ward midway through the second quarter, Leon Hall forced a fumble that Roy Williams recovered at the Steelers 38-yard line. Four plays later, it was a 10-7 game after Carson Palmer’s touchdown pass to Terrell Owens.
* With a 27-7 lead one play into the fourth quarter, the Steelers defense allowed the Bengals to drive 66 yards in five plays and use only 1:38 of the game clock to answer with a touchdown of their own.
Within a span of three plays in the second quarter against the Bengals in Cincinnati, the offensive line depth was tested severely.
On a first down play in which
Pouncey was taken into the locker room on a cart to have X-rays. He returned late in the first half and finished the game. Then in the second half,