Having been swept by the Baltimore Ravens, it’s important that the Steelers win all of their remaining AFC North games to even have a chance at the playoffs. A loss to the Cincinnati Bengals may have brought the Steelers 2011 season to a crashing halt. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
The Steelers beat the Bengals 24-17 in a game that wasn’t really as close as the scoreboard made it seem.
The Steelers set the tone for the game early by scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions. Simultaneously, they forced the Bengals into two consecutive 3 and outs on their first two possessions. It looked like it was going to be a long day for the Bengals, and an easy day for the Steelers. But that’s when the mistakes started happening.
On the Steelers’ next possession, Heath Miller bobbled a pass that ended up being intercepted by the Bengals. Cincinnati went on to score on that possession, and suddenly they were back in the game.
But the Steelers’ offense was simply too much for the Bengals’ defense. Ben Roethlisberger continued his recent trend of spreading the ball among all of his receivers. Big Ben completed passes to 9 different receivers.
While Roethlisberger hasn’t completed any 40+ yard touchdown passes to Mike Wallace lately, I really like the way Ben is distributing the ball around. It makes the offense much less predictable, and keeps everybody involved. In particular, it’s been nice to see Jericho Cotchery making a contribution over the last few weeks.
Roethlisberger wasn’t the only player on offense who had a good game. Running back Rashard Mendenhall ran for two touchdowns during the game. Mendenhall was held to only 44 total rushing yards for the game, but he got into the end zone when he needed to.
But the player who was probably the hero of the game was William Gay. That’s right, William Gay.
Steelers fans probably aren’t used to hearing William Gay’s name in such a positive light. Gay has had some struggles during his time with the Steelers. Most recently, he let a Baltimore receiver get behind him for the game winning touchdown last week. But that was then, and this is now.
Gay swatted a pass away from the intended receiver on one play, and Lawrence Timmons ended up intercepting the ball. Most people probably credited Timmons with the interception, but if you go back and watch the tape, you’ll see that it was actually Gay who deflected the pass that resulted in the interception.
More importantly, with the Bengals driving late in the game, Gay stepped in front of a Bengals receiver and intercepted a pass that ultimately put the game out of reach for the Bengals.
Because he played an integral part in two key interceptions, I give the game ball to William Gay for his performance on Sunday.
Way to go, William. Keep up the good work!
Other AFC News
The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Seattle Seahawks 22-17. Seattle was a pathetic 2-6 coming into the game. Most experts thought there was no way that the Ravens could lose to to the lowly Seahawks. But lose they did. Bwahahahaha!!!!!!!
Losses by the Ravens and the Bengals leave the Steelers in first place in the AFC North with a record of 7-3. The Ravens and Bengals are both tied at 6-3, and the two teams have yet to face one another this season.