It wasn’t pretty but it was effective. The Bengals went into Heinz Field Sunday as 7.5 point underdogs against the defending Super Bowl champions and they proved the critics wrong….again. They did it without a big day from Carson Palmer and without Cedric Benson on the field. They won the game by playing the way the Steelers have always played, with hard nosed defense. It was a ‘slobberknocker’. Marvin Lewis stated after the game that this was the most physical game he had ever seen.
The tone of the game was set early by each team’s secondary. The Steelers’ corners William Gay and Ike Taylor were all over the Bengals receivers. The Bengals did manage to drive the ball to the Steelers 33 yard line where they set up for a field goal. This move surprised me, not only because there have only been two field goals of 50 yards or more ever made in Heinz Field but because the Bengals rarely give Graham the opportunity to kick from that distance. His kick had plenty of distance but bounced off the right upright for a failed attempt. That setup Ben Roethisberger and company with good field position on their opening drive. They managed to take the ball to the Bengals 10 yard line but were held to field goal.
On the following kick off Bernard Scott fielded the ball at the four yard line at returned it for the games only touchdown. Earlier in the week the Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons had decided to make Scott the primary kickoff returner after Andre Caldwell had do it in the first eight games. It paid off big with Scott scoring the touchdown and averaging 41 yards per return on five returns.
But Scott’s day wasn’t limited to special teams. He had to step in for Cedric Benson when he hurt his hip in the second quarter. It was a tough debut for Scott as the featured back as he was going against the number one rush defense in the league. He only ran for 33 yards but he gained some good experience in tough ball game.
Any time the Bengals can go into
Looking ahead to next week the Bengals travel to
The Bengals had a little bit of a scare last week when Cedric Benson went down with a sore hip and it is questionable if he’ll play this week. The Bengals weren’t waiting around to see if he would be able to go and they went out and signed former Kansas City star back Larry Johnson. Johnson was considered one of the best backs in the league a few years ago but times got tough in Kansas City and his attitude went bad quick. The Chiefs had had enough of his whining and released him last week. Hopefully a change of scenery is enough to get him straightened out. Surely Marvin won’t let him become a distraction. It is uncertain at this point if Johnson will be active for the Raiders game.
The scariest part of playing in
As far as the tailgating crew goes it will be another week before we get to do it up for another home game but with the way the Bengals are playing I expect a fired up crowd to be at Longworth Hall next Sunday.