Monday, December 16, 2013

Taking the Bengals Down a Notch

The Steelers won't be going to the playoffs, but they showed enough last night to make Steeler Nation proud: Pride, Resilience; Determination.

Le'Veon Bell ran hard. Antonio Brown did his thing. The offensive line blocked okay. The secondary covered. The defensive front seven attacked. Shawn Suisham showed how to nail field goals in the wind at frozen Heinz Field. And Ben Roethlisberger played with composure and poise, and threw accurately.

Cincinnati fans will whine and moan, and bitch and complain because that's how they're constituted, but once again, the Steelers schooled the Bengals. And that's what the Bengals do: They choke in big games. On a day when top-seeded New England lost and the Bengals had a chance to really assert themselves in the AFC ... they came up short. In every way.

If we were Bengals' fans, and thank God we're not, we would have to be very, very concerned about Andy Dalton at quarterback. He was awful last night.  Enough about him, and the Bengals. We're done with them for 2013.

Whither Woodley?
A couple of notes from last night's game, specifically: Terence Garvin showed us something, and not just on the devastating pancake flattening of Cincinnati's punter. When playing linebacker, Garvin showed mobility, speed and spark that LaMarr Woodley (who is hurt again), hasn't shown for quite a while. We're not suggesting that Garvin is the answer at linebacker; just that we liked the way he played. It was refreshing, but the bigger issue is that Woodley's absence will spark more debate about whether he should be back for 2014.

Two Games Left
The Steelers are playing for pride at this point, and there's something to be said for that. This year's Steelers may not have the talent some other teams have, but last night it was if they finally looked in the mirror and realized who they are: The Pittsburgh Steelers.
On that note, we close this post with a quote from Jack Lambert:

"I believe the game is designed to reward the ones who hit the hardest. If you can't take it, you shouldn't play" 
-- Jack Lambert 

And, as As Antonio Brown likes to say, "Head up. Chest up. Prayed Up."

Next up: a visit to Green Bay, where Aaron Rogers will return to action, and the Packers still have a chance to win the NFC North backup after Matt Flynn led them to yesterday's stunning win over the Cowboys in Dallas. And thank God we're not Cowboys' fans.
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