The Steelers beat the Bengals last night at a snowy Heinz Field, 27-10.
The Bengals took an early 7-0 lead into the second quarter but they were quickly derailed. Coach Mike Tomlin admitted as much by saying that both sides of the ball stumbled out of the gate. It could almost be expected with such a short week of preparation.
The Steelers did not come out of the game unscathed on the injury front. Santonio Holmes was knocked out of the game with a concussion. He is expected to be back to normal quickly and not miss any time.
Brett Keisel left the game with a sprained right knee. No word on the severity but losing any of our D-line starters would be a blow. Willie Parker also left the game after "tweaking" the same knee that has bothered him for most of the season. Hopefully Willie gets right soon. The Steelers are much better with him in the lineup.
And Ben Roethlisberger finally figured out that he can still run! Very good scrambles, even one for a touchdown. Nice to see it, and please don't be afraid to do it more.
There were a few dark spots other than the slow start:
1.) Paul Ernster- Simply put, he is just awful. Five punts: 23, 24, 28, 33, and 34 yards. An average of 28.4. Each of those punts went out of bounds. Unacceptable and it will prevent the Steelers from winning games against good clubs. They can't afford to give away 15-20 yards in field position. I wonder if Mitch Berger has healed?
2.) The receivers dropped quite a few key balls. Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, Limas Sweed, and Mewelde Moore all dropped catchable balls, and each was key in keeping drives alive. If those balls were caught, Ben's numbers would have looked outstanding.
3.) Limas Sweed touched a punt after Santonio Holmes waived everyone off. And it cost the Steelers the ball. Again, there was no harm, but against good teams we would have paid the price. Can't give the ball to a good offense at your 35 and expect to come away unscathed.
More as the week progresses.