O-line deserves some love, too

It got to the point where even the Bengals defense knew what was coming.

"Yeah, they were calling 'counter this way, counter this way,' for sure," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger confirmed regarding the latter stages of last Sunday's 42-21 win in Cincinnati.

Roethlisberger said he never felt compelled to audible. Not when the Bengals' defense knew what was coming and still couldn't stop it.

"Not at that point of the game, not when it's working," Roethlisberger said. "We have a blocker for everybody so you got to count on our guys kicking butt."

The Steelers will seek a similar finish this Sunday in Atlanta.

The Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for the game against the Atlanta Falcons.

They ran the play that Roethlisberger said is referenced as either "37 counter" or "37 Georgia" approximately 12 to 15 times, multiple players estimated, against the Bengals. And they ran it repeatedly on multiple occasions, Roethlisberger said, foregoing any potential deception and relying instead on relentless execution.

"That was good, though, it was fun," guard David DeCastro said. "That's what you want as an offensive line."

The offensive line's performance definitely got coordinator Todd Haley's attention, to the extent that Haley cited DeCastro as the player who first came to mind as worthy of praise when assessing the Cincinnati game.

In a game that saw Roethlisberger throw for 350 yards, running back Le'Veon Bell rush for 185 yards and pile up 235 yards from scrimmage and wide receiver Antonio Brown amass 117 yards receiving, it was the right guard repeatedly pulling left that really got the offensive coordinator's attention.  

"The Bengals' guys were tired of seeing him by the end of the game," Haley said of DeCastro.

The top photos of RB Le'Veon Bell throughout 2014 season.

It was reminiscent of the way the Steelers ended their 27-24 victory on Oct. 30 at Tennessee, when they took possession with 6:58 remaining in regulation and gave up the ball only after Roethlisberger had twice taken a knee to run out the clock.

"I like winning so I liked both of those games," center Maurkice Pouncey said. "I don't like the games that we lose."

"They were both pretty solid games," DeCastro assessed. "I'll take this game (against Cincinnati), if I were to choose."

DeCastro envisions similar performances from the offensive line in the regular season's stretch run.

"Definitely," he said. "We're just getting started."

Added Pouncey, "We go out there and bust our butts week in and week out. It's coming together, man. We've been together for a while now, it's gelling really well. Hopefully, it stays on that path."

STATUS REPORT
DOUBTFUL: CB Ike Taylor (shoulder, forearm)
QUESTIONABLE: OLB James Harrison (knee)
PROBABLE: CB William Gay (quadricep), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), DE Cameron Heyward (not injury related), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)

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