View Full Version : Must-Win Game

11-08-2011, 03:43 PM
Got to beat Ben's-Gals this week. Realistically, if we lose this game, our playoff chances are very slim.

NW Steeler
11-08-2011, 03:44 PM
Biggest game of the year at this point. I hope they dont have a hangover from Sunday night like I do.


11-09-2011, 01:11 AM
Advance Scouting: Cincinnati Bengals

Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011
By Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com

PITTSBURGH - Two months ago when the season started, never were the Cincinnati Bengals considered a Super Bowl contender. But right now, they're the AFC's No. 1 seed.

It's been an amazing turnaround as the 4-12 "Bungals" of a year ago have transformed themselves from worst to a tie for first in the AFC North.

"They are the division leader, a 6-2 football team," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "They are as hot as anyone in football right now.

Yes, the Bengals are red-hot. They're riding high on a five-game winning streak. They're starting to draw attention from the national media.

However, the Bengals will soon have to prove if they're legitimate contenders or pretenders.

Yes, they do have a signature win against the Buffalo Bills (5-3). But the combined record of their opponents is only 16-33. Starting Sunday, the competition gets significantly tougher. Four of the Bengals' last eight games come against the Steelers (6-3) and Baltimore Ravens (6-2).

That tough stretch starts Sunday when the Bengals host the Steelers.

"We anticipate a tough, highly contested battle, AFC North style," Tomlin said. "They are extremely hot."

Here's a look at what's made the Bengals so hot:


This is a new era for the Bengals offensively speaking. Gone are the long-time faces of the franchise, quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Chad Ochicino.

Fed up with all the in-house bickering and poor personnel decisions made over the years by the front office, Palmer refused to play for the Bengals this year. He in essence retired until he was traded to the Oakland Raiders two weeks ago.

Ochocinco, a talented player but a cancer in the locker room, was traded to the New England Patriots where he hardly plays.

No one in Cincinnati misses Palmer or Ochocinco, not with the way Bengals' top two picks in this year's draft have played as rookies.

A.J. Green, a wide receiver out of Georgia taken with the fourth overall pick of the draft, is tied for 17th in the league with 40 catches for 599 yards and five touchdowns.

Andy Dalton, a quarterback out of Texas Christian drafted in the second round, has thrown 12 TD passes and seven interceptions, and has an 85.0 passer rating. Nicknamed the "Red Rifle" because of his red hair, Dalton has a better passer rating than established NFL QBs such as San Diego's Philip Rivers, Atlanta's Matt Ryan, Kansas City's Matt Cassel and Baltimore's Joe Flacco.

"He has been pretty rock solid," Tomlin said of Dalton. "He's not your typical rookie, first and foremost, because he's playing. He's come into a situation that a lot of rookies don't come into, in that he's been the guy since day one. They've had complete clarity in that area. That has helped them, and that has helped him. So these are not normal rookie circumstances, if you will."

When the Bengals run the ball, they hand it off to veteran Cedric Benson, who's 13th in the league with an average of 76.6 rushing yards per game.

Offensively, the Bengals rank 22nd in the NFL in total yards.


As hard as it is to believe, the Bengals are just as efficient as the Steelers' defensively.

The Steelers and Bengals rank Nos. 3 and 4 in the league in total defense.

Despite allowing the Ravens to drive 92 yards for the winning touchdown this past Sunday, the Steelers are still third against the pass. But the Bengals, who play a 4-3 base defense, are second in stopping the run.

In scoring defense, the Bengals are fourth (17.5 points per game). The Steelers are fifth (18.0 ppg).

"When you start talking about Cincinnati, it starts with their defense," Tomlin said.

"Coach Marvin Lewis and (defensive coordinator) Mike Zimmer have done an awesome job with that group, developing them over the last number of years.

"If you look at areas of where they excel, and there are many, first and foremost they are second in league at stopping the run, and they do a nice job of creating turnovers and forcing fumbles."

Unlike the Steelers who've only taken the ball away from opponents four times, the Bengals have 12 takeaways (three interceptions and nine fumble recoveries).

"A couple of new acquisitions appear to be leading that charge," Tomlin said. "Nate Clements appears to be very ball aware in terms of playing through the ball or ripping and stripping the ball, as does Thomas Howard."

Clements is an 11th-year cornerback who was the Buffalo Bills' first-round pick in the 2001 draft. Howard is an outside linebacker taken in the second round of the '06 draft by the Oakland Raiders.

Another of the off-season acquisitions that have helped the Bengals defensively was the signing of outside linebacker Manny Lawson, the San Francisco 49ers' first-round draft pick in 2006.

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local ... 2ab5f.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local_sports/advance-scouting-cincinnati-bengals/article_dc29da5a-54fd-5002-bf5a-c24f8a82ab5f.html)

11-10-2011, 01:55 AM
Feels like a repeat of 2009 coming up.

11-10-2011, 10:17 AM
Those Steeler fans that have automatically checked off the Bengals games as automatic wins this year are going to be sorely disappointed. While my head says that the Steelers should win, something in my gut is telling me we're looking at 6-4 going into the bye.

Iron Shiek
11-10-2011, 12:18 PM
If i'm not mistaken, we typically own them in their house. While they are better this year, I still feel confident that if we perform the way we did this past week, we should win. I'm not ready to jump off the bridge since our schedule seems pretty soft. But I will agree with the thread topic, we HAVE to win. A loss here changes everything, and yeah, it begins to feel like 2009...especially with games against the Chiefs and Browns still upcoming.

11-10-2011, 12:24 PM
9 Fumble recovery by Bungles (12 TO) is an interesting Stat. Steelers Offense need to take care of the ball.

Hopefully Steelers Defense will create Turn Overs in this game.

NW Steeler
11-10-2011, 02:31 PM
We were a play away from winning Sunday night. Would everyone feel the so pessimistic about our chances against Cinci if we had won? We are playing a solid team with a rookie QB. I like our chances. This feels nothing like 2009 to me.

11-10-2011, 03:59 PM
Bengals comfortable in whole new offense

By Associated Press
Thursday, November 10, 2011


CINCINNATI The task seemed overwhelming at first. The Cincinnati Bengals were trying to teach an entirely new offense to a group led by a rookie receiver, with only two weeks to go before the first preseason game.

Everyone expected a rough start. A 6-2 mark at the season's halfway point? Dream on.

"I think it's definitely better than anybody would have expected it to have been," left tackle Andrew Whitworth said Wednesday. "We continue to keep our heads down and be stubborn and push the envelope to be what we can offensively."

They've been good enough to get to first place.

The Bengals are tied with Baltimore at 6-2 atop the AFC North heading into a pivotal game Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Steelers (6-3) are known for making rookie quarterbacks feel they still don't belong.

It'll be the best test yet for Andy Dalton and rookie receiver A.J. Green, who have carried an offense severely lacking in experience at the marquee positions. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is known for disguising his schemes and confusing the passer.

"It's a challenge for a veteran offense with a veteran quarterback," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said after practice Wednesday. "They've made days miserable for a lot of great, great quarterbacks. Rookies are no different.

"I'm sure they're going to do whatever they can to keep him off-balance and make him hurry his throws and struggle. We have to help him out."

Dalton's quick emergence has gotten the Bengals through an eight-game stretch that seemed daunting.

The NFL's lockout prevented Gruden from coaching the second-round draft pick or introducing his West Coast offense, which is much different from the one used by former coordinator Bob Bratkowski. So many things were stacked against Dalton that his new teammates felt for him.

"I don't know," offensive guard Bobbie Williams said, after a voluntary workout in June. "I'll just say: God help the young man."

Nobody's feeling sorry for him now.

Dalton is the 15th-ranked passer in the league with 12 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a passer rating of 85. The only other rookie ranked higher is Cam Newton, who is 12th with 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a passer rating of 87.1.

Cincinnati's offense ranks 22nd in the league overall, but has managed to pull games out in the second half.

"When you have a new system coming in with limited time and some young guys playing and actually, everybody's new to the system so everybody's like a rookie quite frankly it has gone better than expected," Gruden said. "I think the leadership from the offensive line has been a big help. And of course, Andy's ability to learn very fast has been a big help, also."

Gruden's system is similar to the one that Dalton ran at TCU, so he's been able to get comfortable quickly. And Gruden has tailored the weekly game plans to what Dalton does best throw quick, accurate passes.

"It's an offense that's been tweaked to fit what they have," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said on a conference call Wednesday. "It's an offense that's been tweaked to protect a rookie quarterback."

One who's overcome his rookie moments with strong finishes.

The Bengals have won their last five games, something they hadn't done since 1988, and Dalton has been the key. He led them to a tiebreaking touchdown in the fourth quarter in Jacksonville, and pulled off second-half comebacks in two other wins.

The Steelers don't expect him to get rattled.

"I don't necessarily see that being a challenge to Dalton as of late," Clark said. "For a quarterback to lead a team to five straight wins clearly he's not the only one playing, but it is impressive that he's been able to do that."

Dalton has gotten better at recognizing what the defense will try to do to confuse him.

"I feel like I've gotten better each week and I'm starting to see things a lot better," he said.

This week, he'll see some things he's never seen before.

Notes: The Bengals have a three-week roster exemption for LB Keith Rivers, who had wrist surgery over the summer and hasn't played. Coach Marvin Lewis was noncommittal about his status, other than to say, "He's progressing." ... CB Nate Clements (knee), S Chris Crocker (knee), DE Carlos Dunlap (hamstring) and RB Brian Leonard (knee) were held out of practice Wednesday. TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring), CB Adam "Pacman" Jones (hamstring) and MLB Rey Maualuga (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1dKYCxKgc (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_766554.html#ixzz1dKYCxKgc)