A funny thing happened on the way to a Steelers blowout of the Bengals. Terrell Owens decided that he didn’t want to lose.
The Steelers started the game by stripping the ball from Cincinnati on the opening kickoff. Four plays later, the Steelers were in the end zone and had taken a 7-0 lead.
On the Bengals’ next possession, the Steelers forced them to punt, and William Gay broke through to block the punt. Six plays later, Jeff Reed kicked a field goal and the Steelers led 10-0. It looked like the Steelers were on their way to an easy victory over the Bengals.
Watching the looks on the Bengals’ faces as they stood along the sideline, it appeared that they were ready to give up. Unfortunately, someone forgot to send Terrell Owens the memo. Owens caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter that made the score 10-7 Steelers, and the Bengals were back in the game.
Of course, the Steelers were having none of that. Following a Big Ben touchdown pass to Hines Ward and a 53 yard field goal by Jeff Reed, the Steelers were back in the drivers’ seat. Leading by a score of 20-7, the game once again looked like a blowout.
When Antwaan Randle El threw a 39 yard touchdown to Mike Wallace to start the 4th quarter, I’m sure that many in Steeler Nation turned off their TVs and went to bed. After all, the Steelers couldn’t possibly blow a 20 point 4th quarter lead to the Bengals, could they?
Ordinarily, I’d say that the answer was a resounding “no”. Unfortunately, Terrell Owens is still new to the AFC North, and he doesn’t seem to realize that he’s supposed to be afraid of the Steelers. Owens caught another touchdown pass from Carson Palmer, and the score was suddenly 27-14.
On the next Bengals possession, Carson Palmer threw a long pass to T.O that fell incomplete. Unfortunately, the refs called pass interference on Ike Taylor, and the Bengals had the ball on the 1 yard line. So even when he didn’t catch the ball, T.O. hurt the Steelers. One play later, Cedric Benson ran the ball into the end zone for a touchdown, and the score was 27-21 in favor of the Steelers. Gulp!
The Bengals forced the Steelers to punt on their next possession, and got the ball back with 3:59 remaining in the game. Suddenly, the Steelers fans who were still awake were reaching for their heart medicine, and the ones who had gone to bed early were probably wishing they hadn’t.
The Bengals drove the ball down the field, and it was looking like they might score again, which would have potentially given them a 28-27 victory. Things looked scary on a 4th and 5 play from the Pittsburgh 12 yard line as Carson Palmer connected with rookie wide receiver Jordan Shipley. Fortunately, Ike Taylor and James Harrison both hit Shipley as he caught the ball, and Harrison’s hit knocked the ball out of Shipley’s hands. The Steelers had the ball with :34 seconds remaining, and Steeler Nation breathed a big sigh of relief (as they took a big sip of Pepto Bismol).
Despite the scare, the Steelers improved their record to 6-2, and are still tied with the Baltimore Ravens atop the AFC North.
Other Steelers Notes
- Injuries are becoming a real problem for the Steelers. On defense, they have been playing without Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel. And now injuries are starting to decimate the offensive line. Maurkice Pouncey, Chris Kemoeatu, and Max Starks all missed plays due to injuries last night. The Steelers had only dressed 7 offensive linemen, and had no options left if another player had gone down. James Harrison might have had to line up at guard. Harrison is so strong that he could probably play offensive line (wink, wink).
- Is anyone else getting tired of watching Ben Roethlisberger under-throw Mike Wallace on sure touchdowns? He did it again last night. Wallace can outrun any cornerback or safety in the league. If only Big Ben would lead him with the ball instead of making him have to come back to the ball. Grrrrrrr!!!!!!
- Some Steelers fans got mad at Jeff Reed when he missed a 46 yard field goal attempt. Need I remind you that Reed made a 53 yard field goal earlier in the game? That was the longest field goal of his career. So cut Jeff some slack. Even the best kickers miss sometimes.
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