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Steelers Defense Smothers Bengals; Top Cincy 24-16 Win at Heinz Field to Move to 2-0

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers

All week long the talk was about emotions running over, and if one team was going to be able to handle their emotions at a key point of the game.

Just like in the playoff game a season ago when the Steelers won one of the craziest games in recent history, they duplicated it Sunday as they calmly drove down the field with a huge fourth quarter drive to salt away a big early season 24-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field.

The game was, as expected, hard hitting, but when the Steelers offense needed to show resolve the most, they stepped up with a 12-play drive that covered 68 yards that lasted just short of seven minutes.

Jesse JamesThe drive, with the team up 17-9 at the time, ended with a Ben Roethlisberger 4-yard touchdown pass to DeAngelo Williams to put the Steelers ahead by 15 points.

It wasn’t over though, as the Bengals drove down the field and scored their only TD on an Andy Dalton to Giovani Bernard 25-yard pass to cut the lead to 24-16.

The Steelers were not able to run the clock out, and the Bengals again started to move downfield in the final minutes, when a key call from the officials sealed the win.

Bengals rookie wide out Tyler Boyd caught a pass, but was hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison. The ball came out, and Robert Golden picked it up for the recovery.

The replay looked to show Boyd’s knee hitting the ground before the ball popped out, but the officials declined to overturn the call, and the ball stayed with the Steelers for the clincher.

With a rain that lasted nearly the entire game, the conditions were not all that suited to have a big game for either offense, but in the end, it was the Steelers run game that led the way and wore down the Bengals defense on the key fourth quarter drive.

Williams ended the day with a hard earned 94 yards on career-high 32 carries, and he caught

Roethlisberger threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns, and also threw a pair of picks, but was able to overcome some tough weather to get the team the big win.

Tight ends Jesse James and Xavier Grimble caught the first two scores for the Steelers before Williams’ four-yard TD catch in the fourth to put the Steelers in a position to get the win.

The defensive affair had the looks of last season’s game at Heinz in which the Steelers had the game in hand all day, yet fell to CincyDeAngelo Williams 16-10, this time though, the team wouldn’t allow that to happen.

Dalton passed for 366 yards and a touchdown, but never got into a rhythm with his offense, needing 31 completions and settling for three field goals for the the Cincy offense till late in the fourth quarter.

Overall a great win and while it was two very different games to start 2016, the biggest numbers and the ones that matter are 2-0 – as in two wins, no losses.

The Steelers are on the road next Sunday as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles at 4:25pm.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. DrGeorge

    September 19, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Any day we beat the Bengals 24-16 to go 2-0 for the season is a good day, especially on a day as wet and miserable as it was Sunday afternoon. But because the weather was a factor, it’s imprudent to make too much of the performance of either team.

    The Good News.
    1. To me, the most encouraging aspect of the game on defense was our ability to stop the run. The Bengals gained only 46 yards rushing, which forced Dalton to throw for 366 yards. Any time you make a team one dimensional, you usually win.
    2. On offense, I was impressed with the play of Jesse James and Xavier Grimble, who both made key catches, finally introducing a vertical element into our red zone passing game. Before yesterday, I didn’t know Grimble was on the team, but he is fast proving himself a valuable acquisition. And James blocked better than he did against the Redskins.
    3. DeAngelo Williams continues to look like a starting back. No doubt, there are things that Bell can do that Williams can’t; Bell is a superior power runner, for example. But Williams can slither through holes that Bell can’t. Yesterday, on a wet field, Williams turned in a solid performance and enabled Ben R. to remain within the offense. Our 250 yards passing and 124 yards rushing shows how better balanced we were than the Bengals.

    What wasn’t to like? Well, there were a few things.
    1. Ben R. threw two interceptions and two other errant passes should have been intercepted, but were dropped. He also threw behind receivers and threw into double coverage repeatedly. He simply isn’t as accurate from the pocket as he is when he rolls out. Against a better team, that will cost us. In future, defense will try to keep him in the pocket.
    2. I didn’t like the hole in our zone defense about 15-18 yards down the field. Cincy exploited this only a few times; in future games, QBs will be throwing there often. Remember how Kurt Warner exploited the same hole in our zone defense late in Super Bowl 43? We still don’t have a secondary that is fast enough to close the hole.
    3. Again, Toussaint was not used often enough to give Williams a rest.

    Looking Ahead.
    1. Steady Improvement is the key to the future. We get the Eagles next on the road, with a week to improve on our deficiencies, before we face the KC Chiefs in Game 4. The Eagles are playing tonight (Monday night), which will give them only six days of rest for next Sunday’s game. We should win that game. But it is more important that we win efficiently, on both sides of the ball, especially on the road.
    2. Best of a Mediocre Lot. The Steelers still don’t look like a Super Bowl contender. But the good news is that no other team does either – at least, not yet. This is one of those years when there is no dominant team. Even without Brady, the Patriots continue to impress, the Broncos are hanging tough, and the Panthers are putting up big numbers. But none of them look unbeatable. It all turns on who can stay healthy and develop best in the weeks ahead.

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