Steelers vs Bengals I Second Half Notes And Observations

Below are my notes and observations from the second half of the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

  • Special teamer Terence Garvin got the half off to a good start by making the tackle on the opening kickoff at the 15-yard line.
  • The Steelers were able to collapse the pocket on first down and make Andy Dalton uncomfortable, resulting in Cameron Heyward cleaning it up with a sack.
  • Lawrence Timmons changed the tone of the drive after a couple first downs with a run stop on first down. The Steelers bottled up the run on second down, and then a penalty set up third and 13, on which Dalton was wide for an incompletion.
  • On third and two, Martavis Bryant converted with a 12-yard completion cutting in front of the cornerback.
  • Later in the drive, Antonio Brown came back to the ball after a pump fake from Ben Roethlisberger for a 32-yard connection.
  • On third and six from the 10-yard line, Le’Veon Bell showed nice footwork to blow past the linebacker to the sideline, taking it in for the touchdown as the Steelers grabbed a temporary 17-14 lead.
  • On first down, Steve McLendon made an athletic tackle upfield for a five-yard gain to minimize the damage, which helped the defense force a three and out.
  • The offense, however, was quickly swept off the field, and the Bengals struck back quickly.
  • On second and seven from the 19-yard line, Ike Taylor was left one on one on A.J. Green. That was a common theme throughout the game, but it hadn’t been the case on deep routes. Green obviously beat Taylor down the field, but Mike Mitchell took an awful angle and was easily sidestepped on the 81-yard touchdown as the Bengals retook the lead.
  • Taylor raised his hands after the play, questioning where the deep help was.
  • The Steelers went right back to the counter left on first down, with David DeCastro and Heath Miller It wasn’t the cleanest blocking execution on this play, but it opened enough of a hole for Bell to get through to the third level before he was finally chased down after 53 yards, the second-longest run of his career.
  • The Steelers were unable to get another first down, however, and were forced to settle for a field goal to close the scoring gap to 21-20.
  • Fortunately, the Bengals botched the handoff on second down, as Dalton tried to pull the ball out from the grasp of Giovani Bernard. As he pulled the ball out, it slipped from his control after bouncing off his leg. Arthur Moats
  • The Steelers were quickly in a third and seven situation after recovering the ball deep in Bengals territory, but Roethlisberger was able to connect with Brown to move the chains.
  • On the next play, from the 13, the Steelers took to the counter left once again, with DeCastro, Miller, and Will Johnson throwing the key blocks to spring Bell free. Bell used a shoulder charge to get through the first defender and ran through a shoestring tackle to extend across the goal line for the score as the Steelers regained the lead.
  • The Steelers wanted to take a seven-point lead, so they went for the two-point conversion. Heath Miller stumbled after tripping over a defender’s foot, but recovered in time to receive Roethlisberger’s pass for the successful conversion.
  • On a deep ball on third down to Green, Antwon Blake was in position to deflect the ball away. Mitchell came in at the end to bat the ball away and prevent a rebound catch, but failed to record an interception.
  • Instead, the Bengals punted, getting off a good one and pinning the Steelers back on their own six-yard line.
  • The offense really broke the game open on first down, as Roethlisberger connected deep with Bryant, who beat Leon Hall. The safety was too far away to get into the play as he raced into the end zone for a 94-yard touchdown, his seventh of the year, which gave the Steelers a 35-21 lead.
  • Stephon Tuitt got a hit on Dalton on second down, an Blake blasted the receiver after allowing the ball to bounce off his chest. An instance of the defense showing its rediscovered toughness, perhaps? There were a few hard hits in this game.
  • On third and 10, Bernard gained nine yards, but the Steelers chose to accept a penalty to make it third and 20 instead of fourth and one.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Steelers largely took the air out of the ball for the rest of the game, with third down situations being the exception. After one such completion down to the 22, Bell beat the second level defenders along the left sideline for his third touchdown of the game to put the score well out of reach at 42-21 with five minutes to play.
  • On third and eight, Tuitt was able to trip up the quarterback as he fled the pocket, preventing a first down and giving the Steelers the ball back to run out some clock.
  • Josh Harris was given three straight carries, taking the game to the two-minute warning.
  • Moats ended the game when he sacked Jason Campbell after a couple first down, stripping the ball out. The Steelers secured the victory, sending them to 8-5 and in great position to close out the regular season.
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