Steelers vs Bengals. Ain’t it fun? Winners/losers.
Killer B’s: Let’s just lump all of them in. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and yeah, Chris Boswell deserves to be included. After a bumpy start, or, really, half, they all got going out of the break. Roethlisberger wasn’t as good as he was but made the comeback happen. Bell was excellent out of the backfield and as a runner, his patience really on display this week. Brown, despite a toe injury that is worse than what is probably even being led on, was again the “guy.” And Boswell finished the job. Kudos all around.
Vince Williams: There wasn’t a lot of good on defense today. But I thought Vince Williams stood out. Inspired after the team lost Ryan Shazier, Williams was rarely out of position and played well against the run. Picked up his 7th sack of the year, a stat I’m sure most people wouldn’t have believed at the beginning of the year.
Mike Hilton: Arguably the best in the secondary tonight though that’s a low bar (Sean Davis seemed to have an ok outing too), Hilton continued to rock out against the run and had a pass breakup. Not always spectacular but gritty and consistent.
Mike Tomlin: I know, I know. It didn’t start well. Tomlin wasn’t perfect. But man, under these circumstances, it’s easy for a team to totally fold. On the road, in the rain, Shazier’s status uncertain, a ton of new faces in the game…a lot of groups would’ve just taken the L.
But led by Tomlin, he rallied the troops and the Steelers earned another comeback victory. We saw Marvin Lewis’ Bengals implode again. And the Steelers rose to the moment. Difference in coaching we all can see.
Coty Sensabaugh: You know it’s bad when you get benched for a rookie with literally zero career snaps. Sensabaugh was bad, though Keith Butler’s scheme didn’t exactly do him any favors. We’ll see if he gets his job back next week. But yeah, it was rough.
J.J. Wilcox: Two holding calls in one game. Wilcox’s not playing on defense so when you make such a negative impact in football’s third phase, it stings all the more. Especially when one negates a kick return TD, something of a unicorn in Pittsburgh.
Edge Pressure: And really, this is true of the defensive line too. They got beat up tonight. Bud Dupree’s “missed” sack was just bizarre, I am assuming he thought the ball was out, and it took Butler scheming it up for guys to get home. Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt had some big struggles up front and the Bengals definitely looked like the more physical team for a large chunk of the game. Run defense not good enough.
Tyler Matakevich: To be fair, it was a tough spot to be in. Replacing Shazier after he as carted off. But Matakevich didn’t play well before bowing out with an injury. Not enough athleticism to get depth in coverage, not getting off blocks quickly enough in the run game. Depth was certainly tested and I honestly think L.J. Fort is the better option as the Mack linebacker.