BENGALS 20 – STEELERS 10
In another anemic offensive effort, the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) are off to an 0-2 start, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) 20-10 on Monday Night Football.
Running back Giovani Bernard scored his first two NFL touchdowns and the Bengals made the necessary plays on offense and stops on defense to secure a 10 point victory against what is looking like a bad Steelers team. The Bengals had the ball for 35:34 and ran 24 more plays than the Steelers.
Next up for the Pittsburgh Steelers is the 2-0 Chicago Bears coming to town Sunday night at Heinz Field. The Steelers offense has scored 17 points in two games, compared to the Bears who have put up 55 points in two games. Another sign to be worried. The Bears defense has created 6 turnovers in two games, Steelers NONE
“There’s a certain amount of misery with the position that we’re in,” head coach Mike Tomlin said after the Steelers 20-10 loss. “We will wear it. We don’t like it. We’ll wear it.”
1. While a lot of people seemed to dismiss an 0-4 preseason, the Steelers are a group that doesn’t know how to win. When including the preseason, the Steelers have lost 11 of their last 13 games.
2. The Steelers had what seemed to be an atrocious first half but went to the half tied at 10-10 and with momentum after a 5 play, 60-yard scoring drive that saw Derek Moye haul in a beautiful 1 yard fade pass for a touchdown with 1:54 left in the half. From there it was all downhill for the offense which went 3-12 on third down and produced no first downs in the third quarter and the Steelers didn’t have a first down in the second half until their 15th play of the 2nd half (4th quarter) which came with under seven minutes left in the 4th quarter. Just unacceptable that the Steelers could not build off the big drive they had late in the first half. Cincinnati adjusted like what a good coached team does under defensive coordinator Mike Zimmerman.
“We didn’t move the ball enough in the second half collectively to remain in the thing in a manner in which we would like to,” Tomlin said.
3. The Steelers, as expected, couldn’t run the ball, rushing for 44 yards on 16 carries. Felix Jones had a team-high 37 yards on 10 carries. Jonathan Dwyer torched the Bengals last year in Cincinnati but barely saw the field running the ball just once for 2 yards. Count me among those who don’t want to see Isaac Redman out there anymore. Redman is showing no cutback ability and a lack of vision.
4. Ben Roethlisberger went 20/37 for 251 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Roethlisberger’s passing yards were inflated at mop up time and he was sacked twice and finished the game with a QBR of 44.3. Roethlisberger has the least amount of talent around him in his career and OC Todd Haley is not putting him in the best position to succeed, but Roethlisberger could be at the point in his career where he’s a step below where he use to be. Hard to place much blame on him due to the supporting cast and one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines, but he needs to find a way to be better as he’s missed some throws.
5. Jerricho Cotchery is a good possession receiver but he’s playing too big of a role in the offense. Cotchery was targeted 9 times and that just shouldn’t happen. Antonio Brown desperately needs a deep threat opposite him to emerge to open space for him. The Steelers only hope is Markus Wheaton being that guy but at this point he’s had a minimal role in the offense. The wide receiver group as a whole lacks physicality and size to create consistent separation.
6. Andy Dalton was very erratic at times but he made the plays he needed to make going 25/45 for 280 yards and 1 touchdown. The key stat: No interceptions.
7. The Steelers defense was solid but it’s hard to overlook the defense producing no sacks and no turnovers. The Steelers defense has no turnovers through two games. If this group doesn’t make a big step in becoming more opportunistic, it’s going to be a very, very long season.
8. Most of the positives in this game were on defense and special teams. The return game was effective and Jarvis Jones was a beast on special teams and he’s reaching the point where he shouldn’t be coming off the field on defense. The Steelers sure do have a player in Jones who made his first career start….. Ike Taylor held A.J. Green to 6 receptions for 41 yards……Brett Keisel created pressure and had 1 QB hit and 1 pass defensed.
9. Conclusion from tonight’s game. Things like David Paulson’s fumble in the redzone, the iffy tripping call on Marcus Gilbert is the type of stuff that happens to bad teams.