Last week could have been rock bottom for the black and gold, a three-point loss to a Titans team on Thursday night in a game where they simply couldn’t make a play to put the game away.
Now the team at 2-3 heads to Cincy, where they take on a Bengals team that has lost two in a row, and last week lost to the Browns, a team that hadn’t won a game all season.
It’s a must win for the Steelers, and today we take a look at what the Steelers have to do to get out of Cincy with a win.
1. Find a way to Finish – It was the motto last week vs the Titans, and may become the calling card of the 2012 Steelers once and for all. Find a way to finish. Consider this, the Steelers have held fourth-quarter leads in each of their three road games, yet found a way to lose all three of those games by a combined 16 points to the Broncos, Raiders and Titans. They have to get off the field on third down (something they haven’t done), and how about a late turnover, something they should have had against the Titans. It’s 1-2 plays to win a game, and the Steelers are not getting them.
2. Let Him Throw - It’s not going to be a secret on what the Steelers have to do to beat the Bengals – throw the football. While the Bengals have had major issues stopping the run, the Steelers don’t exactly have a bunch of healthy running backs, as they will likely be without Rashard Mendenhall and Issac Redmen. That puts the pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, who is having a great season while the team isn’t right now. Ben is 7-1 lifetime at Cincinnati, and has thrown for 747 yards with five TD passes and one interception in his last two road games. Put the game on him Sunday night, and it very well could be a win.
3. Pick Off Dalton - Bengals QB Andy Dalton has yet to get through a 2012 game without an interception, and the Steelers have gotten to him with picks in the past. They have to do it again, create short fields and give the offense a shot to pile up the points. Dalton is dangerous with second-year receiver A.J. Green, who’s scored in every game since the opener and lit the Browns up for 135 yards and two touchdowns last week. If the Steelers can focus in on Dalton and make plays on him, they have a great chance to pull off the win.
Prediction - This may be the most beat up I have seen the Steelers in quite awhile, and there’s no doubt the Bengals know about it. The Bengals passing game should keep the Steelers on their toes, and with injuries to the top two Steelers RB’s, it will put the pressure on Ben to make a lot of plays downfield. The Steelers D is just not playing well, and I think in the end they will give up too many points to win this one. Cincinnati 34 Pittsburgh 26