When the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday in the AFC Wild Card game, don’t expect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to throw deep down the field much.
In the two regular season meetings between the Steelers and Bengals, Roethlisberger was 5-of-18 passing for 105 yards with no touchdowns and 4 interceptions on throws that traveled more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage.
As a whole this season, the Bengals defense has been good at defending deep passes. In fact, only 38-of-110 deep attempts have found their mark against Cincinnati and only 28 of those were caught by wide receivers. Additionally, the Bengals have recorded 15 of their 21 interceptions this season off of deep pass attempts.
As you can see, while Roethlisberger will probably throw deep at least 4 or 5 times against the Bengals on Saturday to keep them honest, I doubt he’ll be slinging the football down the field much more than that. In other words, he will have to use a rhythmic passing game complete with dinks, dunks and screens in order to navigate the Bengals defense.
Expect tight end Heath Miller to be busy against the Bengals once again as well as their cover-2 zone defense will likely open up the middle for the veteran, who registered 10 catches in each of the two games between the two teams this season.
It would also be great if injured running back DeAngelo Williams is able to play Saturday as he could be useful out of the backfield with some designed screens.