Physicality on the back end

A look at Steelers 24, Bengals 16 via the magic of the DVR:

BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY: The Steelers were credited with nine passes defensed against QB Andy Dalton, and the physicality with which their defensive backs attacked their coverage

responsibilities was as big a factor as any.

One of the best examples was S Mike Mitchell's well-timed, perfectly-placed hit on TE C.J. Uzomah on second-and-8 from the 50-yard line with just under three minutes left in the second quarter.

Uzomah left his feet and reached up to haul in Dalton's pass at the Steelers' 30. He came down on his left foot and was popped by Mitchell as Uzomah turned and attempted to get his eyes back upfield. Uzomah had two hands on the ball when Mitchell delivered a shoulder-first hit on the ball just prior to Uzomah getting his right foot down and the ball came out.
Incomplete pass, third down.

CB William Gay also got into the act. Gay upended WR Brandon LaFell in the second quarter as LeFell was in the process of bobbling the ball on a shallow cross, and blasted LaFell in the third quarter from behind on an attempted shovel pass.

CB Sean Davis was credited for coverage but not with a pass defensed when he came up hard from behind on WR A.J. Green on a quick slant in the first quarter. But that pass likewise wound up incomplete.


MAKING A STAND:** The Steelers kept the Bengals out of the end zone on a possession that achieved a first-and-goal from the 1 late in the third quarter thanks to penetration and a break.

-First-and-goal from the 1: The Bengals attacked with H-Back Ryan Hewitt and RB Jeremy Hill in an "I" behind Dalton, and with OT Jake Fisher deployed as an extra tight end ("No. 74 is eligible") along with Uzomah and Tyler Kroft.

Hill's run up the middle wound up losing 2 yards when LB Ryan Shazier broke inside of Uzomah and was able to clog the lane. As Hill attempted to deal with the pile created by Jones and Uzomah, who wound up on Jones' back, LB Ryan Shazier broke in unblocked from the left side of the defensive formation and made a reaching tackle on Hill.

-Second-and-goal from the 3: Uzomah went up for a high pass in the back of the end zone but was judged to have come down out of bounds. The play began with a play-action fake to Hill and with Hewitt, from the front of the "I," and Kroft, pulling from left to right, leading an apparent run right. Shazier, LB Ryan Shazier and Mitchell played a run and Uzomah worked his way around LB William Gay on the way to the back of the end zone. Golden broke off from Fisher (Davis also had coverage on the eligible OT) and got to Uzomah in time to attempt to push him out of bounds.

Replays showed Uzomah got a knee down in the back of the end zone but Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said he didn't challenge the call because "I was told he was out of bounds."

Third-and-goal from the 3: Dalton flushed left in response to a three-man rush and tired to hit Uzomah again but the throw was short. CB Stephon Tuitt came off WR A.J. Green as Dalton released the ball and missed an attempt at a diving interception.

The Bengals kicked a 21-yard field goal on fourth down.


Take a look at the best photos from Week 2. The Steelers defeated the Bengals 24-16.

TRY, TRY AGAIN:** QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown experienced a rare off day in terms of timing and execution (Brown was targeted 11 times and finished with four catches for 39 yards).

But when they were needed most the two were as precise as ever.

Roethlisberger initially held the ball on third-and-7 from the Steelers' 35 early in the fourth quarter and then found Brown at the sideline behind S Shawn Williams and in front of CB Adam Jones for a drive-extending, 17-yard gain. The possession ended with a touchdown that put the Steelers ahead, 24-9, with 6:48 remaining in regulation.

"Best throw of the day for Roethlisberger," CBS analyst Dan Fouts observed. "Beautiful timing between quarterback and receiver."

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