Bengals vs. Steelers: 10 Reactions from Pittsburgh's Blowout Win over Cincinnati
A lot of people thought I was crazy when I predicted that the Pittsburgh Steelers would win by two scores versus the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13 and that it would not come down to the last drive like the first matchup.
After scoring on their first two drives against the Bengals in Week 10, the Steelers came out slow and did not score in the first quarter.
Everything seemed to go right from there as the Steelers scored 28 points in the second quarter en route to a 35-7 win versus the Bengals.
Everything was not perfect, however it was a great win and here are 10 reactions from the blowout victory.
Even with his injury problems, I have been a big Daniel Sepulveda fan and thought that the Steelers should have definitely brought him back this season.
Now that he is lost again for the season, I do not think the Steelers will re-sign him and they might just stick with Jeremy Kapinos as the punter.
Kapinos has quietly been very solid for the Steelers and averaged over 54 yards on his five punts versus the Bengals with two being downed inside the 20-yard line.
Special Teams in General
With the offense and defense that the Steelers have, we can only hope the special teams play half as well as they did against the Bengals going forward.
Shaun Suisham may have missed his only field-goal attempt, but the Steelers blocked a Bengals field goal and forced a fumble on a kickoff that set them up to make it 21-0.
Then after the Bengals scored to cut the lead to 21-7, Antonio Brown returned a 60-yard punt for a touchdown.
Antonio Brown has been a force for the Steelers this season and as stated previously, he had his first-ever punt return touchdown of his career versus the Bengals.
Brown has actually led the Steelers in receiving yards the past four weeks and has been a great target on third down for Ben Roethlisberger.
With teams double-covering Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders being injured and Hines Ward being benched, Antonio Brown has stepped up big time for the Steelers.
Rashard Mendenhall started this season off terribly and has only one 100-yard rushing game the entire season.
That being said, Rashard has looked to be running a lot harder lately and has not fumbled since being trampled by Haloti Ngata in Week 1 against the Ravens.
The Steelers offense could be unstoppable if Rashard, along with Isaac Redman, can give the team any semblance of a running game going forward and in the playoffs.
Hines Ward has seen his role in the Steelers offense diminish greatly this season with the emergence of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
Against the Bengals, however, he led the team in receptions and became the 19th receiver in NFL history to have 12,000 yards receiving.
Hines is only 10 receptions from 1,000 for his career and I still think he has a lot left in the tank to help the Steelers offense this season.
The Steelers are notorious for not allowing their rookies and young players to get significant playing time. However, this season has been different.
The team has seen big contributions all over the field by rookies, whether it's Cameron Heyward blocking the Bengals field goal, or Curtis Brown making good stops on punt returns.
Marcus Gilbert has done a very good job as the starting right tackle, Cortez Allen has played a solid defense, Weslye Saunders has improved greatly as a blocker and receiver, and even Chris Carter looked good in his limited time.
Ike Taylor has had a great season so far locking down the opposing team's No. 1 receiver and he even has two interceptions.
Although Ike has been the best player in the secondary for the Steelers in my opinion, in recent weeks I feel like he has been getting beat more often, like on the A.J. Green touchdown this week.
No one is perfect and Ike would be considered one of the top corners in the game if he could just catch a few more interceptions, but he is still great in coverage.
All season the Steelers have been plagued by the fact that they would have to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone.
At least for this week, the Steelers solved their red zone troubles and scored touchdowns on all four of their trips versus the Bengals.
The Steelers need to keep scoring touchdowns and actually put teams away like they did against the Bengals instead of keeping games close like against the Chiefs.
Ben Roethlisberger did not have his best day. In fact, he threw for the fewest amount of yards he has in a game all season.
He did snap a streak of four games in which he threw an interception and had a quarterback rating under 100.
Even though Ben was sacked three times, he never really seemed like he was under pressure and he also broke Terry Bradshaw’s team record for career completions against the Bengals with 2,026.
LaMarr Woodley finally returned from a hamstring injury against the Bengals only to leave early in the game due to the same injury.
It doesn’t appear that he severely hurt it but with the team being up by so much against the Bengals, they played it safe and he sat out the rest of the game.