Steelers Fail To Show Much Life In MNF Loss To Bengals
By Philip Botti
The Pittsburgh Steelers went into Cincinnati on the Monday Night Football stage looking for their first win of the season. All they got was confirmation that the gears aren’t turning for the team. The Bengals’ offense moved the ball almost effortlessly against a slow and seasoned Steelers defense while the Steelers’ offense failed to show many tangible signs of progress against the Cincinnati defense.
A frustrated Mike Tomlin addressed the media after the 20-10 loss. "We got work to do, we don’t hide from that, we accept that and embrace that, and understand we have certain amount of misery that comes with position that we are in," he said. "We’ll wear it. We won’t like it, we’ll wear it, but more importantly we will continue to work and become a better football team.”
Like Week 1, the Steelers couldn’t move the ball on the ground. The running backs and offensive line could only muster up 44 yards on the ground. Without a running game, QB Ben Roethlisberger had defenders in his face all game. Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass before halftime, but that was the only sign of the offense clicking. Big Ben couldn’t seem to connect on any long passes as he overthrew receivers nine times, including an interception after a tipped pass.
The defense looked slow and was unable to stop Bengals QB Andy Dalton. Dalton was able to control the game through the air, including a 61-yard pass to a wide-open TE Tyler Eifert over the middle in the first half. The defense gave up 407 yards without forcing a single turnover. Cincinnati dominated time of possession and held the ball for over 35 minutes of the game.
“Our approach each and every game is to get off the field on third downs and at least try to get some turnovers and we didn’t do that today,” veteran LB Lamar Woodley commented after the game.
The Steelers have failed to run for over 100 yards in eight straight games. Without any form of a running game, the play-action pass has been nonexistent. The team has tons of questions to answer as they search for someone who can help them in the running game. Rookie RB Le’Veon Bell is still out with a foot injury and could give the Steelers a much-needed boost on offense when he returns, although that return may not be for another month.
Next week the 0-2 Steelers will meet the 2-0 Chicago Bears at home in a Sunday night game. Things don’t look good for the Steelers on either side of the ball this season, and it will take more than a week to fix these problems. Without being able to move the ball on the ground, there will be no way to take pressure off of Roethlisberger. The lack of running game keeps that old Steelers’ defense on the field. For years, the Steelers have pounded opposing teams with the running game and were backed by a hard-nosed defense. This year, however, that has been the formula for success against Pittsburgh.