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On location: Bengals 20, Steelers 10

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

CINCINNATI — Looking ahead to kickoff …

Game: Steelers (0-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

Time: 8:42 p.m.

Site: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

TV, radio: WTAE-TV (local), ESPN (national) WDVE-FM, ESPN Radio 970

Here is the official live summary.

Here is our Steelers page. Alan Robinson, Mark Kaboly, Ralph Paulk and I are on the scene. If you missed it, the Monday column cringes at the likely game plan.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

222 Comments

  1. Steelers by 3.

    Oline will hold up (marginally); D will get them the win.

    DK: Not without a takeaway or two, Bill, right?

  2. 1. Key matchup for tonight, Cincy tightends vs Steeler DB. Who will cover the two young Bengal Te’s? It is a big mismatch for Bengla’s advantage. Second Cincy’s D coordinator(who should be first head coach hired next year) will exploit Steeler new center. Steeler’s have problems figuring out blitz’s even when healthy, I imagine several sacks coming tonight on up the middle blitz. Harrison vs Gilbert or Adams, huge advantage Cincy.

    2. How long does Redman get? Till he runs backwards several times in a row or fumbles and blames everyone but himself?

    3. Does Ben get frustrated and throw picks? Hall and before him Joesph, always seem to have a big one vs Ben.

    4. Haley said he plays to player strengths. Question on offense is what strength? It is now fact Ben cannot do it himself. We have no tight end threat, weak running game, porous line, so Antonio Brown? That is your one playmaker now.

    5. Bengals 23 Steelers 10. Bengal TE score 2 TD’s. Ben sacked 6 times.

  3. *****ATTENTION*****
    Lurkers and newbies, we want to chat with you. If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum. Don’t be shy, we don’t bite :)

  4. Just asking, but should we have serious doubts about the people putting this roster together?

    The center gets injured in Game 1, so they put a guy in there who they now think is better suited for TE. Then, that guy is moved back to TE for Game 2 and some guy seemingly comes in from out of the blue to be the starting C because the guy who used to be the back-up C was sent packing in the off-season and the C from last week is now a TE.

    They cut their most productive RB, and question a lot of things about his character, only to immediately pick him back up after Game 1. He may very well be getting the majority of carries by the 2nd half of this game.

    By the way, they knew their all world (and I mean that) TE was not going to be ready for the start of this season, so they signed Matt Spaeth in the off-season. Matt Spaeth would still be available to be signed today, if the Steelers had not already signed him.

    Does this sound normal to anyone? Is there not cause for a whole lot of alarm? Just asking, because I don’t remember it being this way until about 2 years ago.

    This entire organization has lost its way, if you ask me.

    • I think we are starting to maybe realize how much more of an impact Cowher had on personnel. I think the Cowher/Colbert relationship is working out a lot better than the Colbert/Tomlin one.

      The cap situation is a mess and the fact that it’s locked in for what 3 straight years of the same in the new CBA sure isn’t helping the Steelers either. All those restructured contracts are going to be coming due for Woodley and Timmons, and Ben is definitely going to need a new contract in this coming off season.

    • Agreed 100%. Goes back to Arians Retirement/firing announcement. The Amos Jones, let’s let him sign elsewhere instead of firing him, the what should we do with Sanders. The New Steeler way is puzzling at best

      • The firing of Al Everest still puzzles me as well. I though Everest was a good special teams coach myself.

        Either was I was fine with Sanders. I think he’s a good WR, and well draft picks are hit and miss, but 2 3rd round picks last year would have been nice, seeing how we traded a pick to Cleveland this year for Thomas when we could have used the extra 3rd on him this year.

    • Actually they only appear lost to those who don’t think through the dynamics of the salary cap and the effects of the francise QB contract.

      Under Cowher they were able to keep a good/great team together because they were paying bottom dollar at the QB position. Won a lot of games, made the playoffs but couldn’t win the AFC Champ until they drafted BBR.

      While they had BBR under his rookie contract, they were largely able to keep the team together and had a great run. Once BBR got his $100 million dollar contract, along with a few others, their window started to close. They lost more FAs, couldn’t replace them and larely had to rely on the crap shoot that is known as the draft.

      They had a great run, including Tomlin’s first years. Remember the team he “inheirited” was 8 – 8. But now it’s all coming home to roost. Just like Baltimore, with their dumps, ie Boldin for a 6th round pick. Dallas will now too. The other teams with franchise QB’s all have holes. Notice Brady, after a couple of injuries, had no TEs and 3 rookie WR’s….and was damn lucky to be in the AFC East, playing the Bills and Jets or he could be 0 – 2. GB had no running backs (until they drafted that “softy” Lacy”) and little depth on D. Colts with Manning, the same way. The two deepest teams, SF and Seattle both have franchise QB’s under rookie contracts.

      And when they DID get rid of old vets, like Ward, Aaron Smith, Hampton, Harrison the fan base went nuts. Can’t have it both ways and hindsight is always 20 -20.

      The only move that I regret was drafting Worlids instead of Sean Lee…other than that I think they are going in the right direction. The injuries over the last two years have been incredible and certainly delayed things. Anybody who thought this OLine with young players and others playing out of position was going to come together before October…probably weren’t thinking correctly (trying to be PC), especially with Pouncey down. Verasco was huge to be able to get…will it work…we’ll see. But it was absolutely the best they could do.

      Hoping for a win tonite, but if so, it probably will have to be an ugly win. I really don’t care if it is.

      • I think it is the Steelers who didn’t think through a lot of things, tpb.

        Franchise QB and related salary cap issues aside, this team is slipping badly. They have almost no impact players now. If you want to dismiss the OLine situation as bad luck, go ahead. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

        • I guess we will, because you can not take the salary cap issues aside. It has absolutely dominated all the decisions that have been made for the last two years. Some were right and some were wrong, obviously.

          What has hurt as much as anything was the inability to sign any significant FAs. No more Farriors, Ryan Clarks, Jeff Hartings, Kevin Greenes and a few others that came in and filled holes AND covered up bust draft picks, which now just simply stand out more. I would have to see actual data to suggest that their draft outcomes have significantly changed.

          I do not dismiss the OLine as bad luck, other than that injuries and position changes have delayed the evaluation of this group. They have the potential and for now that’s all. If they do not reach it, then I will agree with you.

          Most experts that I’ve read believe that the only position tougher to learn than offensive tackle is QB. The Steelers certainly have made a few rookie and second year tackles look as bad as similarly experienced QB’s.

          Cheers

  5. Without Cortez Allen, the defense will play passive coverage and get eaten alive. And in one critical situation where they come with a blitz, their hand will have been tipped and a Dalton to A.J. Green bomb for a TD will result.

  6. Going to re-post my post from another thread.. only because the “knowledge” comes from my favorite Steeler (in my lifetime).
    “”"
    According to Jerome Bettis (Espen’s newest analyst), the steelers O-line is the X-factor and they won’t figure it out this game. Jerome thinks Bengals will blitz early and often and Ben will come up short.

    Jerome Prediction:
    Bengals 28, Steelers 21.

    Which is strange, because unless two of those TD’s are defensive, not sure how this team is able to punch it in the redzone. Therefore, my prediction is such:

    Bengals 17, Steelers 13. Polamalu will intercept the ball early and take it for a TD. Steelers O-ffense will generate two more scoring opportunities for FG. Ben will be intercepted on the last play of the game to come up short.”"”

  7. I have noooo idea what the Steelers will do tonight. But I don’t have a particularly good feeling, either.

  8. I just do not see how this offensive personnel puts up more than 10-13 points. With no oline to give Ben time, the short quick receivers don’t have enough time to consistently get separation. Couple that with no running game to keep defenses honest, and it makes for a lot of 3rd downs. A win will need to come from the defense, which mans a little Lebeau magic and a all-too-infrequent turnover or 4.

  9. OK,

    Steelers on Monday night, Pirates racing for the division. I’ll have to bounce back and forth, hope I remember which thread I’m in.

    By the end of the night, I probalby won’t care!!

    Let’s Go Pittsburgh Sports!!!!

  10. I’m not a total ESPN basher. But the MNF pre-game show? I’d rather watch a Ray Lewis testimonial.

    Well. Maybe not.

  11. WHO RIDE? WE RIDE!
    WHO RIDE? WE RIDE!
    WHO RIDE? WE RIDE!

    LETS RIDE ON 3! 1, 2, 3… LETS RIDE!!

  12. If seeing LeBeau can move Harrison to tears, he should’ve taken his pay cut and continued to play for the man.

    Stay greedy #92.

  13. How long will Roethlisberger stay upright?

  14. Call 2 runs and go nowhere. Run number 3 for 5 yards…punt!

    Scintillating!

  15. That was a GREAT first offensive series.

    At this rate, we will score over in London.

  16. Way to substitute there and cost them a possession.

  17. Low football IQ permeates…

  18. Do the Steelers have enough tight ends in case Tomlin starts going “bench crazy”?

    Horrible coaching tonight, folks.

  19. I see their TE knows how to hold onto the ball. We could’ve had Eiffert. Just sayin

  20. Is this any different than any reasonable Steelers fan thought it would be? Nothing to see here. Move along…

  21. Bah I missed it. We were driving and were in position to score another field goal and instead Cindy scores?

  22. That, ladies & gentlemen is what bad teams do.

  23. Same old, same old. Offense turns the ball over. Defense? A tough 3 and out? No. How about a virtually uncontested 87 yard TD drive. Ridiculous.

  24. Ben knew that was a fumble but the joke of Tomlin/Haley made him huddle up and that gave the Bungles a chance to see replay. Tomlin/Haley delay gave Cincy the ball. What a joke of a coach

  25. Bengals D gets a 3 and out after the big score.

  26. William Gay. 2 second head start for blocking FG. Still not even close.

  27. Really don’t see this team winning a game until after the bye week…0-4 to start at least…

  28. Why is Worldis on the field and where is the pass rush????

  29. If I’m Ben, I play out my contract and get the hell outta here…

  30. This is frigging embarrassing…

  31. Exciting offensive game plan. Crisp execution as well.

    Only thing keeping them in this is how bad the Bengals are playing on offense.

  32. I like the WR screens….a lot. But I’m not pleases that this is the only pass that can be completed.

    Felix Jones is running the ball OK. Looks like he can bust one.

  33. HALEY MUST GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Whay is Cotchery running a reverse?>? Where the hell is Wheaton???

  35. If I am going to run an end around with a wide receiver I don’t think I am going to use Cotchery. Just a thought.

  36. Did Gruden just say he hasn’t seen anyone like Wallace since he left town?

    Ah, 2nd game without the overpriced cry baby.

    I like the receiving corp. Don’t like the play calling and the fade away jumpers Ben is putting up.

  37. 1. Reverses don’t work anymore in the NFL. Defenses have too much speed.

    2. Let’s run one with the slow guy.

    Other than that it was a good idea.

  38. Can we stop throwing to #89?

  39. 2nd down. I say run up the middle

  40. Great news !!!

    The Steelers offense is making the Pirates offense look good!

    Todd Haley is the Nick Leyva of the team.

  41. See what happens Haley when you take the reins off of Ben??

  42. Sanders between the hashes . . . where he belongs, not split outside.

    Can someone please tell Gruden that Ben’s last name is not Rothillsburger? He’s been in the league now, what, 10 years?

  43. TD Steelers!!!!

  44. Wait, that was the correct play. You can’t call that! Congrats Moye!

  45. Cam Heyward sighting? I’m shocked to say he’s had a pretty good game so far.

  46. Heyward and JJ need to stay on the field. DEFENSE!!

  47. Need another Bengals choke-fest in the second half.

    Bengals have talented players in light of numerous high draft picks, and they may very well get to the playoffs over the next few years, but they aren’t going to get a sniff of the Super Bowl as long as Dalton is their QB.

    • He’s no blond bomber, but he is a red headed step child. LETS GO BOYS!

      • From the Bengals standpoint, you would almost not have wanted a very mediocre QB (Dalton) and have preferred waiting for a quality QB to be drafted in the top 5.

        So instead of suffering through an extra year or two of sucking, they opted for Dalton and, in the process, squandered their chance to get really good.

  48. It’s all Nuttings fault!!

  49. I see. A phantom tripping call. Then no penalty when Bengal tries to rip helmet off BB. Sounds about right.

  50. Gilbert should be cut immediately! Another HUGE penalty on this team…

  51. Worst. Call. Ever.

    Unreal penalty.

  52. The Zebras always trying to influence the game. Tripping my a$$.

  53. Refs cost us there. By the way if that is Tom Brady that sack is a flag

  54. Paulson is the worst excuse of a football player in the league.

  55. The call was wrong–it must be INTENTIONAL.

  56. Lol. I thought Pirates fans were ridiculous. Apparently I’m wrong.

  57. Every time Cincy moves the ball JJ is on the bench.

  58. Nice D………….. if you are looking at a matador score………..

  59. Horrible defense…

  60. Fire Dick Lebeau!!

  61. Missed int by Clark in 1st half, then missed tackle, and now takes bad angle on the td. And can he be any slower

  62. Am I the only one who would rather be seeing Sylvester than Lewis at ILB? Can LeBeau change to a 4-3 immediately? Would better suit the personnel.

  63. They continue to pick on Kion Wilson.

  64. Worilds swallowed up by the offensive lineman on TD rush.

    Someone needs to tell Tomlin there is only one dog (Jarvis Jones) for one bone

  65. What the hell, we might as well go for it right here…

  66. If the Steelers never ran one more WR screen, I would be very happy, and the offense would improve.

  67. Trying to get two yards running behind DeCastro and Adams is hopeless. DeCastro getting mauled again tonight. Center is playing better than Pouncey.

  68. Still no sacks or TO’s for this defense…inexcusable…

  69. Two big plays in this game:
    1. Paulson fumble
    2. Phantom tripping call

    Steelers would likely be leading, if not for those 2 plays.

  70. Big Ben overthrowing everybody tonight

  71. It’s like a slow death watching this team now…

  72. Hey Defense. We need the ball back. Thanks.

  73. Jesus Christ Woodley…

  74. Apon further review. Not offsides.

    Joke.

  75. Hey, let’s just bomb this season and get Clowney. Who’s with me!

  76. Best Steeler cheerleader is one Mike Tomlin. I just wish he’d coach and not cheerlead

  77. Once again..defense being worn down in part due to no offense…

  78. Keisel’s beard could be the only positive to look forward to for the rest of the season…

  79. DK’s column was on point. Outside of LeBeau, the coaching staff appears they are in self-denial.

    Dejan must walk out of the room some days thinking “Is it me missing something here, or can they really be this stubborn . . . and wrong in their entire perspective and approach?”

    • . . . then again, maybe DK doesn’t even ask himself the question and proceeds directly to the second part.

    • But DK just wants them to pass more and Ben isn’t playing well enough to put it on his shoulders. He throws to many picks in big situations and has been downright horrible in the 4th quarter the last 2 years

      • I would like to see them switch it up right out of the gate. They are too ridiculously predictable.

        How about coming out to establish the pass first, then mixing in the run from there? Try something different . . . coach them up . . . adjust . . . recalibrate.

  80. At the beginning of the year, I predicted 6-10.

    Who thinks I overshot??

    Good night all.
    Take your vitamins and say your prayers for this team.

    • A poster in another forum I participate in predicted 4-12.

      Now, I’m going to ask you the same question I asked him: Who do you expect them to beat? The Browns? Maybe, but definitely only once. The only team that may be worse is Jacksonville, and we don’t play them.

  81. Markus Wheaton must be in the dog house…

  82. Ben again. Man , has he been bad in the 4 th quarter the last couple years. That’s his 5 th pick in last 6 minutes of the game in last 2 years. Wow!!! I guess he’ll blame Haley again like he did after Dallas and Cinncy losses last year

  83. Lets call it like it is: the offensive line has been bad since Russ Grimm left. Those are the facts.

  84. Time for an honest moment. The new center may have played better than Pouncey has in a while.

  85. Steve McClendon’s drivers license photo should have him on his back.

  86. The new center looks better than Pouncey. ProFootball Focus rated Velasco 11th best center and Pouncey 20th

  87. The worst part of these first 2 performances is the way they’ve been physically manhandled.

  88. Tomlin better hit the Thesaurus hard after this loss. Hope he brings it in the presser, since he does not do jack during the game.

  89. I continue to be amazed how teams all over the league mangle the ends of games when they’re down 10.

  90. Next year’s draft is going to be ridiculously rich.

    Assuming the league outlaws cut blocks, the Steelers fire Haley, Bell turns out to be a real #1 rb, Jarvis Jones can stay on the field, Heath comes back healthy, Pouncy comes back healthy, and Ben doesn’t get killed…..this could be a really good team in another year or two.

    It’s a cycle. Fortunately for us, the Steelers have been on top of that cycle for a while. Now it’s time to re-load.

  91. - “My coaching substitution-awareness today was below the line”. “I recognize the importance of my QB trying to run a play to ensure a fumble was not overturned”. “Bringing Vince Williams in was my early trick or treat Oct football decision, clearly he and I were tricked and it was momentum shiftingSplash play”. MT

    - Marcus Gilbert is hIgh school capable pass blocker.

    -Manny Sanders is a gifted #5 WR, I am sure we could get a third round pick for him

    -Zero turnovers.

    -Only 2 games, keep thinking that

    -Gilbert !Decastro another sack, loved first sequence of plays, Haley must have been up all night thinking of those plays.

  92. House cleaning won’t come this year bit I could see Lebeau retiring and Haley getting fired. Tomlin and Colbert will get at least another year or 2 so we may have this year and next to really stink.

  93. Does anyone doubt that Heath rightfully earned team MVP last year? Ben doesn’t.

    They miss him immensely in the middle of the field on offense . . . to say nothing as to his blocking.

  94. It is what it is with the Steelers.
    They are not a good team and really haven’t been in awhile now.
    It’s tough….But one has to just bite the bullet and get the highest possible pick next year.

  95. Would like to see Tomlin throw caution to the wind a bit more, taking some chances that lay a foundation for the future. He seems to take the conservative approach now, trying to preserve his win-loss record and his “First Coach to X Wins in Y Years” reputation.

    Sometimes “career wins” landmarks stifle coaches from evolving. It’s not a concept lost on Tomlin either. Jamie Dixon and Dan Bylsma have suffered to a degree from early successes as well. The mark of a great coach is not one who is stubborn but one who adapts and still succeeds.

  96. Same old weak offensive line-Ben not as good as he once was-he was overthrowing his
    receivers all night long, but, of course, if he had as much time to throw as the apposing
    qb, he would do better. On almost every pass play, the defense was on Ben almost
    before the ball got to him. Every season we have the chance to select real good
    offensive linemen, but every season the offensive line sucks. The Steelers are headed
    for a long season if they don’t get their running game going soon. Got to get Heath
    Miller back in the mix soon, too. GO, Steelers!!!

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