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12-07-2010, 06:58 PM
Week 14 matchup: CIncinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

PUBLISHED Tuesday, Dec 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm EST

http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2 ... h-steelers (http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2010-12-07/week-14-matchup-cincinnati-bengals-at-pittsburgh-steelers)

Three story lines

Home for the holidays. After going a league-best 6-1 on the road, the Steelers play the first of three consecutive games at home. And, after their victory in Baltimore, they are in position to win the division and get one of the two first-round playoff byes. The Steelers have a chance to sweep the Bengals for the third time in the past four years.

Bengals bumbling … again. The Bengals have lost nine in a row, the third time they have done that in a single season since 1991. They can tie the franchise record of 10 if they don’t beat the Steelers. The Bengals lost the first meeting at Heinz Field, 27-21, a game that was more lopsided than it appears because the Steelers held a 27-7 lead in the fourth quarter.

The nose knows. QB Ben Roethlisberger, who has been bothered by a sprained right foot, will play with a facemask shield for the first time after having his nose broken against the Ravens. Roethlisberger has not missed a play since returning from a season-opening four-game suspension and continues to make big plays at critical times, despite his injuries.

Three key Steelers

TE Matt Spaeth. After missing two games because of a concussion, he will return and is expected to start for Heath Miller, who sustained a concussion against the Ravens. Spaeth has only five catches for 49 yards because he spends most of his time blocking as the No. 2 tight end. But he has good hands and size (6-7, 270).

RT Trai Essex. Having already lost both starting offensive tackles for the season, the Steelers are expected to be without another, Flozell Adams (ankle sprain), against Cincinnati. That means Essex, a former tackle who has been playing guard, will shift back to the outside.

CB William Gay. He is the nickel back in the Steelers defense and the Bengals attacked him in the first meeting by lining Terrell Owens in the slot on several occasions. But Gay has played well the past couple games and will need to make some plays in the secondary.

Three key Bengals

WR Terrell Owens. He had a big game in the first meeting, catching 10 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and the Bengals did a goob job creating mismatches for him against the Steelers coverage. The Bengals will have to come out throwing to beat the Steelers, who will shut down the running game.

CB Johnathan Joseph. Ben Roethlisberger has been very productive, even with an injured right foot and broken nose, and his favorite target is WR Mike Wallace. Because teams are protecting against the deep pass, Wallace has had lots of room on underneath throws and is beginning to make plays with yards after the catch.

DE Carlos Dunlap. The rookie defensive lineman has helped improve the Bengals pass rush, registering 3 ½ sacks in the past two games and bringing lots of pressure off the edge. Dunlap lines at left end in their pass-rush formations, meaning he will be facing Essex, who will make his first start at RT.

Bottom line: The Bengals need to start faster against the Steelers, a problem they’ve had several times in games against top opponents. And that means they will probably have Carson Palmer attack the Steelers secondary immediately, especially after the Ravens were able to beat them for a pair of 60-yard passes last week. But the Steelers dominated the Bengals for nearly three quarters in the first meeting and have won four of their past five games since that encounter at Heinz Field. The Steelers have done a good job overcoming all their setbacks, including injuries to post the second-best record in the AFC. They’re not about to stop now. Prediction: Steelers, 34-20

-- SN correspondent Gerry Dulac

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12-07-2010, 09:44 PM
You'd think Dulac would know that the first Steelers-Bengals game was in Cincinnati, not at Heinz Field....

12-08-2010, 03:49 AM
Bengals-Steelers scouting report

By Joe Reedy • jreedy@Enquirer.com • December 7, 2010
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/2010 ... ing-report (http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20101207/SPT02/12080348/1062/SPT/Bengals-Steelers-scouting-report)

Bengals (2-10) at Steelers (9-3)

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, Heinz Field


Radio: WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (1530), WEBN-FM (102.7)

Series: Steelers lead 49-32. They won the Week 9 game at Paul Brown Stadium 27-21. Steelers lead 26-14 in games played in Pittsburgh but only 5-4 at Heinz Field since it opened in 2001.
Early storylines

The Bengals, losers of nine straight, can tie the team record for longest in-season losing streak. They have dropped their last four on the road. Seven of the nine losses have come by eight points or less.

The Steelers, who have won four of their last five, have injury concerns. TE Heath Miller is likely to miss the game with a concussion. The team signed punter Jeremy Kapinos after Daniel Sepulveda suffered the third ACL tear of his career in his right (non-kicking) knee. There's also quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's broken foot and surgery on Monday for his broken nose.

Special teams could be huge. The Bengals had one of their best all-around games last week (despite a missed extra point). They had a meltdown in the first meeting with Pittsburgh with two missed field goals, a fumble on a kick return and a blocked punt.
Three Steelers to watch

Roethlisberger: He is 27-7 in games against AFC North teams, including 14-4 at home. He has three fourth quarter/overtime game-winning drives, including last week. He will wear a face shield after suffering the broken nose Sunday against Baltimore.

RB Rashard Mendenhall: He is fifth in the AFC with 1,007 yards rushing with nine touchdowns. Needs 102 yards to surpass his career high for yards in a season.

LB James Harrison: Leads the team with 10 sacks, which is tied for second in the AFC and tied for third in the league. He needs 11/2 sacks to reach 50 for his career and become the seventh player in team history to reach that.

Bengals: Coach Marvin Lewis is from McDonald, Pa., and was the Steelers linebackers coach from 1992-95. Lewis also coached at Pitt from 1990-91. ... Defensive line coach Jay Hayes, who is from South Fayette, Pa., was the Steelers' special teams coach from 1999-2001. ... Tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes, Jay's younger brother, played tight end with the Steelers from 1994-96. ... Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski was the Steelers' wide receivers coach from 1999-2000.

Steelers: Coach Mike Tomlin was defensive backs coach at the University of Cincinnati (1999-2000). ... Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was an assistant with the Bengals from 1980-91 and 1997-00 and head coach from 2000-02. ... ... Defensive backs coach Ray Horton played for the Bengals from 1983-88 and coached with Cincinnati from 1997-01. ... Assistant special teams coach Amos Jones coached at University of Cincinnati (1999-2002).

12-12-2010, 02:27 AM
Ochocinco used to hurt Steelers, but times have changed

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Several years ago, when he was known as Chad Johnson, Chad Ochocinco was a pest for the Steelers' defense.

Times have changed -- as have the Bengals' fortunes against their AFC North nemesis.

Ochocinco, who has averaged 62.4 receiving yards in 19 games against the Steelers, was held to one catch for 15 yards in the Steelers' 27-21 win last month in Cincinnati. Ochocinco was so frustrated that he left for a couple of plays to regain his composure.

Ochocinco, normally confident and cocky, complained that Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau slants his coverage to take him out of the game and that there's nothing he can do about it.

"I just need to be patient," he said. "My time will come."

Ochocinco's most recent 100-yard receiving performance against the Steelers came in 2003 at Heinz Field, when he had six receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown. That's 13 games ago; Ochocinco hasn't scored a touchdown against the Steelers in the past three games.

Since that 2003 game, the Steelers are 9-4 against the Bengals. And that doesn't include the Steelers' 31-17 playoff win at Cincinnati on Jan. 8, 2006, en route to winning Super Bowl XL.

Home sweet home

The Steelers begin a stretch of three consecutive home games in 12 days today. They host the New York Jets next Sunday and Carolina four days later.

This stretch is the first time since 1986 that the Steelers have played three straight home games. And it's the first time in franchise history that they have played three home games in 12 days.

Series of streaks

Last season, Cincinnati swept the Steelers for the first time since 1998.

The Steelers had won the previous five games.


12-12-2010, 03:31 AM
Steelers wary of bad-record teams like Bengals ruining another season

By: Alan Robinson, The Associated Press
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports ... 38329.html (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/football/steelers-wary-of-bad-record-teams-like-bengals-ruining-another-season-111738329.html)
Posted: 11/12/2010

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Pittsburgh Steelers know all too well how difficult these supposedly easy games against non-contending teams can be.

A close-escape 19-16 overtime win against the Bills (2-10) nearly derailed their chances of winning the AFC North, even before they came back to beat Baltimore 13-10 last weekend and seize the division lead.

Last season, losses to the Chiefs, Raiders and Browns — with six victories among them — kept the reigning Super Bowl champions out of the playoffs.

Up next: the bungling Cincinnati Bengals, losers of nine in a row amid a mishmash of penalties, missed field goals, squandered opportunities and way too many locker room distractions.

The late Myron Cope, the longtime Steelers broadcaster who was fond of calling them the Bungles, no doubt would have guffawed over the latest way they lost — allowing Saints quarterback Drew Brees to draw a lineman offside so he could throw a decisive touchdown pass in the final minute.

Yep, the same old bad news Bengals. Can't get out of their own way, can't seem to win, can't seem to get along. Wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco have their own weekly TV show, but the one topic that almost never gets discussed is a Bengals victory.

So did someone in the Steelers locker room go "Uh, oh?"

The Steelers (9-3) have an offensive line that's badly thinned by injuries, two tight ends with concussions, a quarterback — Ben Roethlisberger — with a broken nose and a walking cast on his injured right foot. Their pass defence is one of the NFL's worst. And one of the league's best linebackers, James Harrison, probably feels like there's a price tag attached to every quarterback because he keeps piling up fines for hitting them.

No, the Steelers know they can't overlook any opponent, regardless of record, especially one that won in Pittsburgh last season and narrowly missed rallying from a 27-7 deficit in the fourth quarter last month in Cincinnati before losing 27-21. Three years ago, the Steelers nearly lost the division after losing to the one-win Jets.

Three of the Steelers' final four opponents — the Bengals (2-10), Panthers (1-11) and Browns (5-7) — have losing records.

"We can't go out and think we're going to roll over these teams, because if we do that, we'll lose," wide receiver Hines Ward said.

Remember that inexplicable 13-6 loss last season to the Browns, who were 1-11 at the time? Ward recalls a desperate team that was willing to do anything to win because it was so tired of losing.

So what could happen in this game?

"An onside kick, like they did in the first game," Ward said. "Going for it on fourth down. Blitzing a lot. When you play a team like that, it makes it dangerous. We have to prepare for everything, because their approach to the game might be different from somebody else who's in contention for a playoff berth. I wouldn't be surprised if they came out with an onside kick to start the game."

Ochocinco, though his statistics are way down, and Owens give the Bengals the ability to exploit the Steelers' primary weakness, a pass defence that ranks only 24th. Owens had 10 receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh last month, and he needs 39 yards to join Jerry Rice and Randy Moss as the only NFL receivers with 10 1,000-yard seasons.

"It seems like every week we play, I am reaching some kind of milestone and I am not really aware of it until after the game," Owens said. "I will get some tweets or a text message or an email congratulating me, and I am like, 'For what?' "

What Owens is aware of is what a miserable season it's been for a team that went 10-6 and won the division only last season. The Steelers, by contrast, could wrap up their seventh playoff spot in 10 seasons by winning and getting some help from multiple teams.

"It's not like we can't play," Owens said. "It's not like we are not a good team. We've been in every ballgame we played. Again, it's the penalties and the turnovers that have obviously killed us."

With a freshly resodded playing field to run on, the Steelers are hopeful of getting more production from a running game that was limited to 54 yards by Baltimore. Over the last 10 seasons, they're No. 4 in rushing during the final month of the season. And the Bengals have allowed a run of at least 20 yards in every game.

Since 1992, the Steelers have never lost a division after being ahead at this stage of a season. But they've had so many injuries, they must be wondering how much longer their offensive line can keep going if one more key player goes down.

"I'm not saying we're a hot team right now, but we have to win games coming down the stretch," Roethlisberger said. "And that's what we didn't do last year."

Roethlisberger himself looks so beaten up, he said, "Mario Lemieux told me I finally look like a hockey player."

Asked what his problems were after the Ravens' Haloti Ngata smacked his nose during Pittsburgh's opening series, Roethlisberger said, "Breathing, vision, blood running down my mouth and throat and face the whole game. So just little things like that."

Sounds like just another Ravens-Steelers game. What the Bengals want to do Sunday is make it a typical Bengals-Steelers game.

"They've got a good record," Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said. "We've got a bad record. ... We're going to go in there and try to spoil what they've got going on right now."

12-12-2010, 03:36 AM
Game 13 match up: Steelers versus Bengals
Sunday, December 12, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When the Bengals have the ball: It doesn't seem to matter whether the Bengals jump out to big leads or fall behind. They keep finding ways to lose. QB Carson Palmer is one of seven NFL quarterbacks to pass for more than 3,000 yards (3,009) and at least 20 TDs this season, but he has also thrown 15 INTs -- seven in the past four games. Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco have combined for 130 catches, 1,685 yards and 13 TDs -- most by a wide receiver duo in the league. But Palmer has been utilizing his other targets. Rookie WR Jordan Shipley, who lines in the slot, has been the team's leading receiver with 14 catches for 124 yards in the past three games. They have been involving rookie TE Jermaine Gresham, their No. 1 pick, more in the passing game, too. He had a season-high nine catches for 85 yards against the Colts -- all in the fourth quarter -- and is third on the team with 47 catches and 409 yards.

When the Steelers have the ball: Ben Roethlisberger will be wearing a protective shoe on his injured right foot and a protective helmet visor to cover his broken nose, which might be a good reason for the Steelers to use RB Rashard Mendenhall and last week's hero, Isaac Redman. Here's another: The Bengals are giving up 124.9 yards rushing per game -- 26 more than last season. Part of the reason is injuries. They have allowed a league-high 16 runs of 20 yards or more, an indication their linebackers are having problems getting off blocks. But it's not just the run defense. Against the Saints, the Bengals allowed four passes of 42 yards or more, and their secondary is considered a strength with CBs Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall and S Roy Williams. Despite missing the first four games because of suspension, Roethlisberger has 34 passes of 20 yards or longer.
Keep an eye on
DE Carlos Dunlap... The Bengals have lost four defensive linemen with season-ending injuries -- Tank Johnson, Antwan Odom, Frostee Rucker and Jonathan Fanene -- but that has allowed Dunlap, a rookie No. 2 draft pick, to get more playing time. He leads the team with 41???2 sacks, all in the past four games, and has 31???2 in the past two. He will be matched against RT Flozell Adams, who is expected to start despite a sprained ankle.


This is the third time the Bengals have lost nine games in a row in a single season since 1991 -- a dubious distinction achieved by only 16 other teams in the past 20 years. They will tie a franchise record of 10 in a row with a loss to the Steelers this afternoon at Heinz Field. This is the first of three consecutive home games for the Steelers, who are 6-1 on the road. Their only remaining road game is Jan. 2 at Cleveland. They will be trying to sweep the Bengals for the third time in the past four seasons.
Keys to victory

To win, the Bengals must ...

1 Keep Ben on the mend. Roethlisberger has thrown three touchdowns in each of the past three home games.

2 Keep Palmer calmer. The Steelers have 12 of their NFL-high 36 sacks in the past three games. The sacked Palmer four times Nov. 8.

3 Not be generous. A fumbled kickoff and a blocked punt on the first two possessions gave the Steelers a 10-0 lead in the first meeting.

To win, the Steelers must ...

1 Keep T.O. from TDs. He had two in the first meeting against the Steelers, who have allowed seven TD passes in the past five games.

2 Give Benson an Ex-Cedric headache. The Bengals RB has just two runs of 20 yards or longer this season, eight fewer than 2009.

3 Get a Hall pass. The Saints hit four big pass plays against the Bengals, something Roethlisberger Will attempt with WR Mike Wallace (NFL-best 21.2 ypc).

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12-12-2010, 03:37 AM
Head to head: Bengals WR Terrell Owens vs. Steelers CB Bryant McFadden
Sunday, December 12, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Do not be quick to blame cornerback Bryant McFadden for everything.

While opposing teams have chosen to target his side for a lot of pass attempts, McFadden is not always the culprit for some of the long passes that have nearly cost the Steelers the past couple games.

And he even made one of the big plays in the 13-10 victory against the Ravens Sunday night that likely went undetected.

McFadden and the Steelers secondary will need plenty of big plays today against the Cincinnati Bengals, especially after the problems wide receiver Terrell Owens caused them last month in the first meeting in Paul Brown Stadium.

Having one of the best seasons in his remarkable 15-year career, Owens had 10 catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals' 27-21 loss to the Steelers on Nov. 8 -- the most receiving yards against the Steelers this season. One of those touchdowns was a 27-yarder over McFadden in the back right corner of the end zone.

"There are a bunch of examples of that in the AFC North -- Hines Ward, Derrick Mason and T.O.," coach Mike Tomlin said. "There are a bunch of seasoned wide receivers who are very talented but also very smart and call on experience and know-how. He has some of those characteristics."

And something those others don't -- speed.

Owens turned 37 on Tuesday and is the oldest starting receiver in the league, but he is on pace to have his most productive year since he was with the San Francisco 49ers in 2002. He leads the Bengals with 71 catches, 961 yards and nine touchdowns and needs just 26 more receptions to pass Marvin Harrison (1,102) and move into second place on the league's all-time list.

"I don't know what his workout regimen is, but it's something that's working," McFadden said. "You really don't see a 36-year-old guy do that."

And rarely do you see a team complete passes of 61 and 67 yards in the same game without a touchdown, which the Ravens did against the Steelers.

Anquan Boldin beat safety Ryan Clark on the 61-yarder to set up the Ravens' only touchdown, and Donte Stallworth appeared to get behind McFadden on a 67-yard completion in the second quarter. But Steelers coaches absolved McFadden of any blame, saying he did what he was supposed to do and was merely trying to cover for a mixup elsewhere in their zone defense.

But maybe McFadden's biggest play was the one he didn't have to make. On fourth-and-2 from the Steelers' 31 with 37 seconds remaining, McFadden had such tight inside coverage on Boldin that it forced quarterback Joe Flacco to go away from his intended target and bounce an incompletion to tight end Ed Dickson on the other side, ending the Ravens' chance at victory.

"Usually Boldin is an inside guy and when he went outside, I kind of anticipated something very quick to him because he's a big body and a lot of guys his size usually use their body to get inside," McFadden said. "It looked like [Flacco] got nervous. He checked one way and checked another and he had a guy in the flat but his first couple reads weren't there."

Thanks to McFadden.

A closer look at the game within the game

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12-12-2010, 03:38 AM
Tomlin on the Bengals

http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... 50badbfa98 (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Tomlin-on-the-Bengals/03ad6af5-c4f1-4812-a829-c950badbfa98)

Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at this week’s opponent – the Cincinnati Bengals.

Q. What do you remember about the first meeting between these teams?

A. That we had some splash plays early and it set the stage for us. We had some significant plays in the kicking game – we caused a fumble on the opening kickoff and blocked a punt early – and it was a shot in the arm that we needed to get started. We’re going to need a similar shot in the arm from some of those guys again this week.

Q. Will we see more of the pistol-formation from Ben Roethlisberger this week, where he lines up in a short shotgun with a running back behind him?

A. If need be. That’s solely based on his mobility. We did what we had to do in Baltimore to give him an opportunity to be effective. We know we’re capable of calling on it.

Q. Is Ben’s pocket presence what makes him unique?

A. He has a unique skill set. It’s what makes him him. He’s mobile, he’s aware, he’s competitive, he’s a big guy who’s tough to get on the ground. All of those things, all of those ingredients, provide a recipe that makes him different than most.

Q. How did Shaun Suisham do last week as an emergency punter?

A. I thought he did a really nice job. I was less concerned about his ability to punt and more concerned about him just catching the ball. It’s not like placekickers use their hands too often. There was some uneasiness in terms of watching those snaps go back there, but we knew he was a capable kicker.

Q. In Baltimore, Ravens guard Chris Chester committed a false start penalty on an extra point and James Harrison took it personally. Do you agree with James?

A. I do, and the reason is this: that technique is not consistent with PAT/field goal protection. It leads you to potentially believe it was premeditated and therefore deliberate.

Q. The Bengals come here with a nine-game losing streak, but seven of those games were lost by a single score. What does that tell you?

A. They’re not making the significant plays at the significant moments to win football games. This is the ultimate parity league, and there’s not much difference between being a good team and a bad team. The good teams consistently make the necessary plays situationally to win games, and the bad teams consistently do not. For whatever reason, the Bengals haven’t made those plays this year – very similar plays that they made in winning the division a year ago. I’m not necessarily worried about their ability to make those plays and more concerned about ours, and thankfully this year we have made those plays.

Q. Is there one area where they seem to be consistently coming up short?

A. It’s popcorn, as we say in the business – it’s a combination of things. There’s no question they’re a well-coached team, no question they’re a talented team in just about all areas. It’s just not coming together for them, for whatever reason.

Q. Has the theme from the coaching staff to the players this week been about not letting Cincinnati un-do what you accomplished in Baltimore?

A. It really hasn’t. It’s really been more about AFC North football for us. We set out at the beginning of this journey to be a world championship caliber football team, and we realize that starts with division dominance. It’s an AFC North game, these guys swept us a year ago – all of those are reasons why we’re fired up.

Q. Do the Bengals run a pressure defense?

A. They’re capable of that, particularly when they put those two linebackers in the A-gap. Look for that with Dhani Jones and Brandon Johnson standing in that A-gap. They have a myriad of pressures that come out of that look, but they’re also capable of dropping into coverage.

Q. If you had to boil it down to one player on their defense you fear, who would that be?

A. Probably it would be Leon Hall. They have a first-round shutdown cornerback in him. He’s capable of playing inside in sub-package football, also getting involved against the run, and pressuring and covering. He’s a linchpin kind of guy for them.

Q. One of the Bengals offensive tackles – Andrew Whitworth – leads the fan voting for the Pro Bowl. What have you seen from him on tape?

A. He’s playing extremely well, especially considering some of the things going on around him. The other tackle position has been a revolving door in that they’re played three people at that spot. Whitworth has really distinguished himself and done a nice job.

12-12-2010, 11:24 AM
Q. In Baltimore, Ravens guard Chris Chester committed a false start penalty on an extra point and James Harrison took it personally. Do you agree with James?

A. I do, and the reason is this: that technique is not consistent with PAT/field goal protection. It leads you to potentially believe it was premeditated and therefore deliberate.

You all caught that, right? Interesting insert from Mr. Nostatment himself.

12-13-2010, 12:19 AM
Steelers Postgame Quotes

DECEMBER 12, 2010


Opening comments:

It was a good AFC North victory for us. Obviously we rode the wave that our defense provided today with the turnovers and touchdowns, it was a good team win. We are not perfect by any stretch but we are 10-3 and pleased to be that. We will evaluate this one like we have all the other ones and kind of learn from it and continue to move forward. It was a good win for us today. From an injury standpoint there doesn’t appear to be much. Anthony Madison I think hit his kneecap. That might limit him a little bit. I think there was one other. They are all the bumps and bruises that come along with playing. I don’t think there is anything significant at this juncture. We will accept this AFC North victory and move on.

On Troy Polamalu’s two interceptions:
Well I am glad Troy is on my team. The first one was Troy being Troy. This guy, no one is playing as good as Troy Polamalu in football right now in my opinion. When we need a play he provides it, and he did today.

On the interception sparking the offense:
We don’t panic. These games are 60 minutes. I think that happened early in the second quarter. We don’t panic. We did convert a third down or two there initially. We got a stop on the first possession of the game, but we were offsides and gave them a new set of downs and they eventually scored. They were self-inflicted wounds, but they were nothing to panic about. I didn’t sense that from the group. We just continued to play and let it sort out over the course of a 60-minute game.

On the penalties stopping your offense:
Penalties, when you are looking at first-and-30 it’s tough, somehow we overcame that. For the most part we have all year when we get behind the chains with the penalties. We find ways to overcome them. That’s because of our leadership, starting with number seven. There’s no doubt you like to stay on schedule. That will make the job a lot easier.

On Ben changing his helmet:
The rain I think was an issue, or sleet was an issue. But nothing to get out of sorts about. We’ll just continue to move forward.

On LaMarr Woodley’s performance:
He provided plays, but he owed us.

On playing the Jets:
Man I hadn’t thought about the Jets until you just mentioned it. We’ll see them on Sunday I guess.

On Troy pitching the ball on the second interception:
Ask Troy. He will be available after he washes his hair.


You’ve worked pretty hard to stay poised through these hits to the head and other blows that haven’t been called against you. Did you get a little frustrated after that facemask that wasn’t called?
“Yeah, I did. I lost my cool there for a second. But I didn’t swear at him.”

Is that the magic words you were avoiding?
“Yeah. Obviously, it doesn’t work. But, once again, I got the same response that I got last week – that he was just trying to tackle you. So I just kind of let it go.”

It is no coincidence, is it? Did he really just happen to hit you in the head?
“I guess. It is what it is. It’s a violent game. You’ve never heard me complain about injuries or the calls or anything like that. So I’m not going to start now.”

You abandoned the visor. Was it not doing what it should have been doing?
“It was raining. We talked to you guys earlier in the week and that was going to be a factor. That two-minute drive going down there, it was really starting to get wet. And, every time I hit the ground, it made it harder to see. So, we just took it off and went with a different kind of facemask to hope I wouldn’t get hit.”

How about [Antwaan Randle] El’s catch?
“I was laying on the ground. I didn’t see it.”

Did you see a replay?
“I have not yet. I knew when it came out of my hand that it wasn’t a good throw. I heard the crowd cheering, and I know it wasn’t an interception cheer, so that’s a good thing.”

Can you talk about possessing the ball but not scoring a lot of points?
“It’s funny because I had that talk with Charlie and Byron [Leftwich] on the sidelines. I felt like we did some good things offensively like we possessed the ball. I don’t know what the time [of possession] was, but it had to be pretty good. I think one drive, we might have gone about 140 yards because we kept going and backwards and going backwards. And those things feel good. But it’s not good enough because we have to score points. Field goals aren’t good enough. Luckily our defense bailed us out and played such a great game today. It was fun to watch them.”

Can you talk about Hines [Ward]’s effort?
“That’s Hines Ward. I could sit here and talk all day about the effort, the will to win, his determination and his toughness. But, we’ve been seeing that for 15 years or however long he’s been playing. I take my hat off to him. He’s a warrior.”

Did your nose and everything else come through the game OK?
“I got a little ankle [injury], but I’ll be OK.”

Was that your other ankle?
“No, the same ankle. The guy kind of came down on the back of it. Lucky I had my shoe spatted up because of my foot. It might have saved me a little today.”

It’s rare that you see two pick-sixes. Talk about that.
“Our defense is just something else. Troy [Polamalu] and I always talk before the last couple of games. I tell him to do something magical and he tells me to do something magical. Troy always does it. It’s something special, that whole unit, LaMarr Woodley. It’s funny because Larry Foote and I were talking right around the beginning of the fourth quarter and he said, “Can you say AFC defensive player of the week.” And he was all about Woodley. So I said, well what about Troy? Then he got that second pick, and I looked at Foote and he said, “co-defensive players of the week.”

What are your thoughts on seeing Santonio Holmes next week?
“We’ll see him on the field, but I’m going to enjoy this win. Then we’ll get ready for the Jets. I’m playing the defense. It’s not about Santonio.”


What was it like kicking here for the first time – to get an in-game field of what it’s like to kick here?
“I kicked extra points my first game here. You try to treat every kick the same. I’d basically come off of five field goals last time, in my mind. It was fine. It was just like another game.”

Could you have expected a better start that what you have going on right now?
“I certainly am happy to have contributed. I feel like I’ve made the transition in here now and I’m really looking forward to moving on.”

You mentioned how excited you were to get the job here, but how excited is your family?
“It’s been great. We’re living the hotel life right now, but it certainly is worth it. It’s just part of the gig right now.”

You mentioned the transition. It’s not an easy thing to step into. How difficult was it? Do you think about it much? Does it bother you?
“No. It’s just back to playing football again. And that’s all I’ve known since I started college. It’s just more comfortable for me to be kicking than to be at home. Being home as the season is going on certainly is much more difficult than being out here kicking field goals.”


You have a reputation for making the big play on offense. Can you talk about that?
“I’m just trying to help my team. That’s all I want to do is just win ball games. And anything I can do to help, I’m all for it. That’s just something God gave me – big play making ability. I try to do it to the best of my ability all the time.”

Was it a case of being patient on offense and taking what they gave you?
“Sometimes. It was a nasty day outside. We started out pretty slow, but we were getting some big plays. We just weren’t scoring touchdowns. We were getting down there. We just have to finish drives. That’s our biggest problem. We don’t really ever have a problem moving the ball. It’s just finishing drives. We have to score when we get to the red zone.”

Is that a concern going forward?
“Not at all. We’re a team; we’ll get it right. Some games, we do really good in the red zone. Some games we don’t. I feel like this just wasn’t a game where we did well in the red zone. The next game we’ll be looking to capitalize when we get down there.”


Troy Polamalu’s first interception really got the team going. Could you feel the energy out there?
Yeah, it definitely got me going. I was feeling a little down after allowing them to score a touchdown on that third down situation that I jumped offsides. I was down, but when Troy got in I got excited.

Did you feel like you owed the team after jumping offsides on their first drive, allowing them to score a touchdown?
Yeah definitely, jumping offsides and letting a team like Cincinnati drive down the field and put seven on the board. That was definitely on me, but my teammates were very supportive telling me that it was no big deal just keep your head in the game and go out there and make plays. I was able to go out there and make plays, Coach Lebeau put me in position and we did a great job as a team.

On their touchdown with the tackle eligible:
I really couldn’t tell you I was rushing on that play. I have outside contain, and the tackle just went out, he was eligible on that and they just tossed it into him.

Did you think touchdown the whole way on your interception?
Definitely, last week I couldn’t get in. I was moving a little slow, but the opportunity presented itself and I was able to get an interception and this time I wanted to take it to the house and I was able to get it in there.

With the fumble recovery last week and the interception this week, a couple of sacks, are you playing your best football of the season?
We still got a lot of games to go. I have to continue to do it. I came out here and had a great game today, but I have to show up again next week and for the rest of the season so we can get to that Super Bowl.

On jumping the out routes:
On the play that I got my interception, it was just my play to drop back into coverage. Throughout the year I’ve been knocking them down. I remember the Tampa Bay game where I just swatted the ball down, this time I just took advantage of it and was able to get both hands on the ball and put some points on the board for our team.

Have you had many pick-sixes?
That was my first one ever.

How big was this win, knowing the New York Jets are coming in next week?
It means a lot, but we still have the Jets. We still have Carolina and the Browns. When you start looking ahead that’s when teams beat you. We just have to focus on what’s in front of us.

How did it feel to get you first interception for a touchdown?
It felt great. Good thing I didn’t have to run a long distance because it takes me a while to get to the end zone. I just made sure I got the ball and didn’t run out of bounds and just ran in. it was a great feeling and it put more points on the board for us. It forced them on the next drive to throw the ball a little more.

Is it the defense’s mindset to score?
That is always our objective, usually when teams score on defense you win football games.


Did you feel like with the offense struggling that it was up to you guys to carry the day today?
“I don’t think they did a bad job. They did a good job of controlling the ball. They held the ball for a lot of the game. We just made a couple of big plays to help them out a little bit. That’s the sign of a good team. When the other guy is down you have to help him out.”

Did Troy [Polamalu]’s play pretty much turn the game around?
“Yeah, that opened it up. We spotted them seven [points] early on. After that, I think everybody woke up and we started playing good, sound defense.”

They held the ball, but you scored the touchdowns.
“Yeah, we’ll take it. I’ll take that all day, make it as easy as possible for our offense.”

Is there anything you see these days that amazes you that Troy Polamalu does?
“No. Troy is Troy. He’s been like that for years. I know you guys can’t be surprised at what does every week, because he does it every week. We’re definitely not surprised and we’ve come to expect that from him.”

Your quarterback took a lot of hits again today. What do you make of that?
“It’s terrible, man. I think they protect all of the quarterbacks but ours. But we’re going to keep on fighting, we’re going to keep on going. Hopefully they’ll catch it one day.”

Do you ever say to yourself, “our guy is taking a lot of shots, we should take some shots at theirs.”
“No. We don’t play like that. That’s kind of dirty. But, we see the hits that Ben [Roethlisberger] takes every week. It’s kind of ridiculous that they always miss those calls, but any time we breathe on a quarterback, they always seem to find that one.”

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