Cincinnati, OH-It was all fun and games for the Steelers as they came in unbeaten in Paul Brown Stadium since 2001. The Steelers took an early lead and never looked back, as they got their fifth victory of the season improving to 5-1 by decimating a winless Bengals team that is completely out of place.
Frank Caliendo said it best on his picks segment on FOX Sports by making a joke of how the Bengals were having the day off, just like John Madden. The boys over at NBC even ragged on the Bengals by naming this game a "practice game," which was almost exactly what it was.
The Steelers looked like they were back on the playground, as they put up a season high 38 points. Roethlisberger threw for two TDs and 216 yards in the victory. Roethlisberger's best statistic, however, or the offensive line, was the goose egg in the sack column; it was the first time this season.
Questions were raised on what the running game would be like without Willie Parker again, but Mewelde Moore quickly answered those questions by racking up 120 yards on 20 carries with a reception TD and two rushing TDs. "He's become a locker room favorite," said Mike Tomlin in his postgame press conference. "He's doing his deeds." Moore received the Steeler game ball after the game and deservedly so.
Another impressive stat was the seven sacks the Steelers racked up, along with the fumble recovery. James Harrison, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, and LaMarr Woodley gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a rough time in the backfield. However, Troy Polamalu and Bryant McFadden each left the game with injuries.
Byron Leftwich, the backup quarterback, saw playing time for the final three minutes of the game, as did the entire second team offense and defense. Leftwich was 3-3 for 34 yards and a TD to Hines Ward, his fourth of the year, and extended his streak to 152 consecutive games with a reception.
The Steelers played well against a lame Cincinnati Bengals team, scoring 38 points and only giving up 10. Mewelde Moore stepped up yet again, getting his first 100-yd rush game since Nov. 2005 and scoring three TDs. Hines Ward caught his fourth TD of the year and 70th of his career.
Ward is the Steelers' franchise leader in receiving yards and needs one 100-yard game to surpass Louis Lipps for second place in franchise history. Ward also leads NFL active receivers with the most red-zone TDs (40).
The Steelers have elevated their record to 5-1, and in a struggling AFC, they have become a contender to be the powerhouse. Injuries plague the team, Polamalu's is uncertain, and their schedule only gets tougher ahead, taking on the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants next week.
The Steelers have the talent, but with their schedule ahead, can they make a legitimate run at postseason immortality?