Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Ocho Cinco deactivated for tonight

November 20, 2008 By: Admin Category: Players

According to, wide receiver Chad Johnson has been deactivated for tonight’s game against the Steelers.  Johnson apparently violated a team rule.  No specifics have been released as to why Ocho Cinco was deactivated.

according to Bengals’ radio play-by-play man Brad Johansen, Ocho Cinco said that he “begged and begged” Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis not to sit him after he overslept an 8:30 p.m. meeting.

The Bengals are looking at starting Chris Henry or Glen Holt in place of Johnson.

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Steelers vs. Bengals Key Match-ups

November 20, 2008 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

Before reading this week’s key match-ups, please read my Steelers-Bengals Preview.  Also, you may want to read our Top 10 Reasons Pittsburgh is Better Than Cincinnati.

This Thursday, the Steelers will face their AFC North rivals the Cincinnati Bengals on NFL Network. While the two teams sit at opposite ends of the AFC North standings, Cincinnati has won 2 of the last 3 games in Pittsburgh.

These are the match-ups that I believe will have the highest likelihood of impacting the outcome of the game.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger vs. Bengals defense

Big Ben has been sacked quite a bit this season. Teams have learned that Ben is susceptible to the all-out blitz. Fortunately, the Bengals’ blitz is one of the weakest in the NFL. The Bengal’s defense only has 11 sacks this season. That’s one fewer than Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison has by himself. The Bengals didn’t sack Big Ben once in their meeting earlier this year. Expect more of the same this time.

When Roethlisberger is given time to find his targets, he can pick any defense apart. He passed for over 300 yards last week against a San Diego Chargers defense that is much better than the Bengals’. Advantage: Steelers.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison vs. Bengals tackle Anthony Collins

Bengals’ starting left tackle Levi Jones is out with a back injury. His backup, rookie Anthony Collins, gets the unenviable task of trying to block Pro Bowl LB James Harrison. This will be Collins’ first NFL start. Talk about a baptism in fire. Last time the Steelers met the Bengals, Harrison abused starter Levi Jones for 2 sacks. Nine hundred sacks against Collins may be attainable. By the end of this game, Collins should be curled up in a fetal position crying uncontrollably. Welcome to the NFL, rookie. Advantage: Steelers.

Steelers Defensive End Brett Keisel vs. Bengals guard Nate Livings

The entire left side of the Bengals’ offensive line has been decimated by injuries. Not only is left tackle Levi Jones out with an injury. Starting left guard Andrew Whitworth is also out with an ankle injury. Number 2 left guard Scott Kooistra is also out with a knee injury. So third string guard Nate Livings gets to make his first NFL start against the league’s #1 defense. Let’s see, a starter on the #1 defense against a third stringer on the league’s worst offense. You do the math. Advantage: Steelers.

Dick LeBeau vs. Bengals Offensive Coordinator Bob Bratkowski

Not only is Bengals’ Offensive Coordinator Bob Bratkowski going to have to run his offense without the left side of his offensive line, he’s also going to have to do it against the league’s top ranked defense. Bratkowski’s first thought will be to try establishing the run by sending his top running back, Cedric Benson, against the Steelers’ defense that is rated #1 against the run. Yeah, good luck with that. Bratkowski’s second thought will be to try focusing on the pass, and using Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Steelers’ defense that is also #1 against the pass. Hmmm, that option isn’t much better than the first one. Is suicide an option?

Steelers Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau loves playing against the team that once fired him. Early in the first quarter he should have Bratkowski in check. By the end of the first half, it should be checkmate. Advantage: Steelers.

Heath Miller vs. Chris Crocker.

It looks like Heath Miller will be playing this week. Last week, QB Ben Roethlisberger threw 6 passes to backup tight end Matt Spaeth. Hopefully, Big Ben and Steelers Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians have finally realized that the tight end can be a valuable weapon if they actually throw to him. If they do, Heath Miller will find himself going against Bengals’ safety Chris Crocker. Crocker will be starting at safety in place of injured starter Chinedum Ndukwe (foot injury).

Heath Miller is one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Against a backup, he should have a good game. That’s a nice way to come back from an injury. Advantage: Steelers.

Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden DeShea Townsend William Gay vs. T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Ocho Cinco.

Despite the difficulties that the Bengals have had establishing their passing game this year, these are two of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL. Few tandems are as talented. Ike Taylor has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success against Ocho Cinco during his career. However, Gay will have his hands full with T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Houshmandzadeh leads the league in receptions, and this will only be Gay’s second start. This may be the best match-up of the game. Advantage: Bengals.

Update:  Ocho Cinco won’t play tonight.  Advantage: Neither.

NT Casey Hampton vs. C Eric Ghiaciuc

Bengals’ center Eric Ghiaciuc struggles against large nose tackles. Casey Hampton is a very big, Pro Bowl nose tackle. Casey should eat him alive. Ummm, that was just a figure of speech, Big Snack. We don’t mean it literally. The NFL frowns upon cannibalism. Advantage: Steelers.

We anticipate the Steelers should have a commanding lead by halftime. Backup quarterback Byron Leftwich should see a significant amount of playing time in the second half to avoid unnecessary injury to Big Ben.

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview

November 19, 2008 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

You may also want to check out our Top 10 Reasons Pittsburgh Is Better Than Cincinnati, and our Steelers vs. Bengals Key Match-ups.

This Thursday at 8:15 PM, the Cincinnati Bengals come to Heinz Field to face the Steelers. The game will be aired on NFL Network.

It would be easy for the Steelers (7-3) to become complacent going into a game against the Bengals (1-8-1). Afterall, the two teams sit at opposite ends of the AFC North standings. The Steelers are in first place, and the Bengals are in last place (sound familiar?).

The Bengals’ offense is ranked #32 in the NFL (that’s last, for those of you who aren’t aware). They average a mere 158.9 yards per game passing, and an even more meager 83.7 rushing yards per game.

The Bengals’ rushing attack (if you can call it that) is led by Cedrick Benson (yes, Cedrick Benson. Stop laughing!), the NFL’s 50th ranked running back. Benson is averaging 47.2 yards/game (Bwahahaha!!!!!). Benson will be going up against the Steelers’ #1 ranked defense. They’re #1 against the pass, and #1 against the run (I like the way that sounds). Given the difficulty that REAL running backs like Clinton Portis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Brian Westbrook, and Brandon Jacobs had trying to run against the Steelers, Cedrick Benson is probably in for a long and painful night on Thursday. Benson should be scrambling to get a doctor’s excuse or a note from his mom before Thursday.

The Bengals’ passing game is led by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. His 71.3 passer rating ranks #30 in the NFL, right behind JaMarcus Russell and Tyler Thigpen, and just ahead of Dan Orlovsky. That is not the type of company that any quarterback wants to be in. Fitzpatrick has connected with loud-mouthed wide receiver Chad Johnson 41 times this season for a total of 383 yards. That’s 10 yards less than Steelers’ #3 receiver Nate Washington has accumulated. The self-proclaimed “future hall of famer” has an unimpressive 4 touchdowns this season. Johnson has never had much success against Steelers’ cornerback Ike Taylor. That shouldn’t change this week.

The Bengals’ defense is just slightly more intimidating than their offense. They give up an average of 24.9 points per game. That puts a lot of pressure on their offense.

The Bengals have difficulty putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That should be welcome news to Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Bengals’ defense has a total of only 11 sacks this season. That’s one fewer than Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison has accumulated. In fact, the Bengals sack leader, DE Robert Geathers, has 1.5 fewer sacks than Steelers backup linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

But before Steelers fans get too excited, we should note that Cincinnati played the Philadelphia Eagles to a 13-13 tie last week (yes Donovan, there are ties in the NFL). That’s the same Eagles team that beat the Steelers like a drum earlier this year. Moreover, the Bengals have beaten the Steelers at Heinz Field as recently as 2006. So the Steelers have to be diligent not to allow this to become a “trap” game. As they say, “on any given Sunday”.

Yeah right. Who am I kidding? The Bengals don’t have a chance in this game. I predict the Steelers will win big. Final score: Steelers 32, Bengals 10.

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Polamalu Island commercial for Steelers vs. Bengals game

November 18, 2008 By: Admin Category: Players

I know that with the last few posts, Steelers Today is starting to look like a memorial to Troy Polamalu. That is why I am reluctant to post this particular item. However, the commercial for this Thursday’s game between the Steelers and Bengals was so cool that I had to post it. It’s called “Polamalu Island”. Take a look, if you haven’t seen it already.

I don’t have a “man-crush” on Troy, and I promise this will be the last Troy Polamalu video for a while (unless he makes another great interception).

(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. Thanks.)

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