Pittsburgh Steelers: Heroes And Sidekicks Tame The Bengals


Observations after the Steelers positioned themselves back into the AFC North crown race:

  • The heroes came out to play Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant lit the Bengals UP when it mattered. But you don’t get 350-yard/3 TDs, 185-yards/2 TDs, and 117-yards/1 TD, 109-yards/1 TD afternoons, unless you have great ‘sidekicks’ to do the dirty work. Kelvin Beachum, David Decastro, Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, Matt Spaeth, Heath Miller, and Will Johnson dominated the Bengals for 25 points in the fourth quarter. Game balls should be shared amongst all of these players.
    • Mike Adams had the lowest grade out of the offensive line. He allowed a quarterback hit and hurry but his fellow lineman helped with defensive end Carlos Dunlap to prevent further damage.
      • The Steelers have drafted high on defense over the past two years. Ryan Shazier, because of his knee, did not play a defensive snap but fellow rookie and second-round pick Stephon Tuitt had the most snaps on the defensive line with 53 out of 61 in his first start. Tuitt was involved in an early scrum with Bengals center Russell Bodine which caused Andy Dalton to waste a timeout early trying to get his team back to the line.

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  • The defensive line grouping of Tuitt, Steve McLendon, and Cameron Heyward was disruptive in the Bengals running and passing game. After Pittsburgh went up 35-21, Tuitt beat his block and laid a huge hit on Dalton. Dalton was forced to take a quick breather on the sidelines. With Tuitt and McClendon playing so well, Cam Thomas saw just 13 defensive snaps. The Steelers seem to have a knack for getting their rookies ready for December football like Le’Veon Bell in 2013.
    • Free agency has largely been a back-up plan for the Black and Gold, but Sunday those pick-ups were two of the biggest reasons Pittsburgh’s defense survived to live another day in the AFC Playoff race. First-year Steeler Arthur Moats split time with Jarvis Jones at outside linebacker. Moats came up with four key plays: two sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
      • By all accounts, corner back Antwon Blake was better competition for Bengals top wide receiver A.J. Green than veteran starter Ike Taylor. Taylor allowed the Bengals top threat to haul in 9 of the 10 targets thrown against him. His bruised knee and conditioning couldn’t hold up as the game worn on and Blake took-over babysitting A.J. Green in the fourth quarter. Blake played 18 less snaps than Taylor but had two pass defensed to Taylor’s zero pass defensed.

Overall it took everyone to beat the division leaders, and the 21 –point team victory to start their December run offers some hope of things to come. As Coach Mike Tomlin said after the game:

"“They [Brown and Bell], get the headlines and do a lot for us, but the other guys step up and answer the bell when their number is called. That creates a level playing field for Brown and Bell to both continue doing what they need to do.”"