Steelers Vs. Bengals: Pittsburgh Withstands Cincinnati Comeback Attempt, Wins, 27-21

The Pittsburgh Steelers finish their three-game road trip this coming Monday night with a divisional matchup against the reeling Cincinnati Bengals. After falling to the defending champion Saints this past Sunday, the Steelers will be eager to get back in the win column before returning home in Week 10 to play the AFC-leading New England Patriots.

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Steelers Vs. Bengals: Max Starks Could Be Done For Season

It's a tough year to be a Steelers offensive lineman. The Post-Gazette reports that tackle Max Starks could be done for the season with a neck injury. Starks left the game last night in Cincinnati.

Starks was consulting with doctors late today to determine if the injury required surgery, or if it would heal over time without surgery using physical therapy instead, a source close to Starks told the Post-Gazette.

The source emphasized that the injury does not threaten Starks career.

Starks, the Steelers starting left tackle, left Monday night’s game in Cincinnati with what coach Mike Tomlin described as “stingers” in his neck. He returned to play but then left the game for good. Tomlin again described Starks’ injury as a “stinger” at his press conference today.

But an MRI later showed it to be a more serious injury of a disc in the upper verterbrae or neck area.

This is tough for the Steelers and, more importantly, tough for Starks. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery.


Attention NFL: Quit Doubling Ochocinco, You're Hurting His Feelings!

It's been a rough season for the Cincinnati Bengals and for their outspoken receiver, Chad Ochocinco, in particular. After a loss to the Steelers on Monday Night Football, the team is the AFC North cellar dweller at 2-6, and Ochocinco is on pace for one of the least productive seasons of his illustrious career. It probably doesn't help that his friend and fellow drama queen receiver Terrell Owens is tearing it up on the opposite side of the field.

Through eight games, Owens has already matched the number of receptions he caught during his 2009 campaign with the Buffalo Bills (55) and is on pace to finish with well over 1,500 yards - an absolutely absurd benchmark for a soon-to-be-37-year-old wideout. He's also been the most targeted receiver in the NFL.

Ochocinco attributes the disparity to persistent double-coverage:

"They double me every week ... It's not flattering, because they do the same thing every week. It doesn't become flattering, it becomes frustrating. You have to put yourself in my shoes. To go week in and week out, to take 85 away and not do anything. It's not a compliment, not after Week 9."

That's weird. I thought teams were doubling Ochocinco to take him out of the game, but apparently all that added help from opposing safeties was a misplaced attempt to flatter him. Sorry for hurting your feelings, Chad. I can only guess that in your world, Ray Lewis was just trying to hug you on this play:

Not cool, Ray.

Ochocinco was visibly upset in last night's loss and had to at one point be pulled from the game by head coach Marvin Lewis. He finished with just one catch for 15 yards.


Steelers Vs. Bengals: Assessing Monday Night's Injuries

Injuries have been a prevalent theme for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season, and their Monday night victory over the Cincinnati Bengals was no exception.

Numerous players in black and gold were helped off the field last night, especially the big guys on both sides of the ball. Left guard Chris Kemoeatu sustained a knee sprain and will likely sit out of this week's practices. Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey bruised his tibia but was able to return to action after sitting out a couple series. Left tackle Max Starks was limited with "stingers," as well. On defense, Brett Keisel, who had missed a couple games with a strained hamstring, played sparingly in the contest.

Three different Steelers - safety and special teams ace Will Allen, and running backs Mewelde Moore and Issac Redman - sustained concussions against the Bengals. Their participation against New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football will be contingent on post-concussion tests this week.   

So the injury report is lengthy, but nothing catastrophic. Head coach Mike Tomlin summed up the situation, sounding optimistic about his players' capacity to bounce back:

"We've got somewhat of a laundry list. We're working off of a short week. It's important that we prepare smart."


Steelers Vs. Bengals: Pittsburgh Outclasses Cincinnati As Steelers Move To 6-2

The Monday Night contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals really shouldn't have been that close. The Steelers (6-2) handily beat the Bengals (whose playoff hopes dashed at 2-6), but the contest remained close through the last few minutes, thanks to a heroic effort by wide receiver Terrell Owens, who caught ten balls for 141 yards and two scores. 

Owens caught an absolutely beautiful ball (video) from Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer (6.9 ypa, 88.7 rating) in the fourth quarter. It was the receiver's second TD. You've got to feel bad for that security guard. I guarantee that being run over by Owens wasn't in the job description. Ouch.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (6.0 ypa, 76.6 rating) really fouled up by throwing a lazy ball to tight end Heath Miller, resulting in an interception (video) by safety Roy Williams. Various penalties against Pittsburgh resulted in a Cincinnati 1st-and-goal from the one-yard line. Running back Cedric Benson punched it in to narrow the Steelers lead to 27-20.

Later, Pittsburgh overcame some severely conservative play-calling from offensive coordinator Bruce Arians; they were up by less than one score on the Cincinnati side of the field, yet the Steelers called three straight running plays, including a draw on 3rd-and-6, resulting in a failed 46-yard field goal attempt by struggling kicker Jeff Reed.

Personally, I go for the win there on third down and put the ball in Roethlisberger's hands. With just a few minutes left in regulation, a conversion basically equates to a Steelers win, and a failed third-down through the air presents little downside, as the best you can hope for is a long attempt for Reed. Go for the jugular in that situation by identifying "the most plausible winning scenario - to hell with playing for the friendliest loss." 

Fortunately, Pittsburgh was bailed out by a LaMarr Woodley sack (video) preceding the two-minute warning. Cincinnati drove down the field to the Pittsburgh six-yard line, but Bengals penalties led to failed conversions on 3rd- and 4th-and-five, sealing the Steelers win.

After nine weeks of regular season play, the Steelers barely trail division rivals the Baltimore Ravens, who lead Pittsburgh by merely a tie-breaker. The two teams will meet again in Baltimore on December 5th (Week 13), this time with Roethlisberger under center.

Some random thoughts about tonight's contest on Monday Night Football:

- Props to Jaws (Ron Jaworski) and Jon Gruden for setting aside their obvious disdain for one another long enough to pantomime a helmet-to-helmet hit in the broadcast booth. You two are thespians of the first order. Without your noble reenactment, I'm not sure I could've imagined such a collision myself.

- How long do y'all think T.O. spent practicing his first touchdown dance (video) in the bathroom mirror? I mean, it looked good and all, but still.

- On Roethlisberger's absolutely perfect touchdown strike to Hines Ward: Gruden couldn't have said it better. "They [did] what two great players do. They beat you."

- Chris Berman's halftime segment "Fastest Three Minutes" should be entitled "Most Obnoxious Three Minutes." That is all. Berman embodies everything that is wrong with sports journalism.

- Very shaky clock management by Pittsburgh late in the first half. After Roethlisberger converted deep to Mike Wallace (22 ypc), the Steelers ran to the line and spiked it on first down ... with two timeouts left. The better decision there is to run another play or call a time out. Wasting a down on the spike nearly came back to bite the Steelers. Fortunately, Reed bailed Pittsburgh out after two incompletions, connecting on a field goal attempt from 46 yards out. I know that NFL coaches have to make decisions quickly in a high-pressure environment, but it's always shocking to me how all of them not named Bill Belichick don't seem to understand simple clock management.


Steelers Vs. Bengals: Cincinnati's' Fourth-Quarter Comeback Attempt Comes Up Short As Steelers Win 27-21

The Bengals’ fourth-quarter comeback attempt wasn’t quite enough, and the Steelers won 27-21. After a scoreless third quarter, the Steelers added a touchdown early in the fourth on a play in which Ben Roethlisberger handed off to former Indiana University quarterback Antwaan Randle El, who threw to Mike Wallace for the score. The Bengals added a 27-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to Terrell Owens and, after a Roethlisberger interception and a series of penalties that moved the ball to the one-yard line, a one-yard touchdown run by Cedric Benson. But the Steelers managed to drain several minutes off the clock despite failing to score in their next drive, and they got the Bengals to turn the ball over on downs to effectively end the game with 34 seconds remaining. Close call.

Overall, Roethlisberger had an uneven game, going 17-for-27 with 163 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 99 yards, and Wallace had 110 yards receiving to go along with a touchdown. Owens had 141 yards receiving and two touchdowns for Cincinnati.


Steelers Vs. Bengals: Cincinnati Errors Help Pittsburgh To 20-7 Halftime Lead

The Steelers currently lead the Bengals 20-7 at halftime. The Bengals got off to a horrible start. Their problems began on the opening kickoff, when Jason Worilds recovered a fumble by Bernard Scott. Rashard Mendenhall scored a one-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive. The Bengals’ next possession ended with a blocked punt by William Gay, and the Steelers were then able to score on a 25-yard field goal by Jeff Reed. The Steelers finished the first quarter with a 10-0 lead.

Here’s video of Gay’s blocked punt:

In the second quarter, a fumble by Hines Ward led to a 19-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to Terrell Owens. But after a punt by the Steelers, Lawrence Timmons intercepted Palmer, leading to a seven-play drive that ended with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Ward. Reed added another field goal before the end of the half.


Bengals Vs. Steelers: Inactives For Week 9 Monday Night Football

The Pittsburgh Steelers enter Week 9 relatively injury free. Yes, they did lose Aaron Smith several weeks ago, an injury that could prove to be very consequential. But other than that, the Steelers’ are in fairly good health heading into tonight’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. Here are both teams' inactives for Week 9.

Steelers: Charlie Batch (third QB), RB Jonathan Dwyer,CB  Crezdon Butler, DE Aaron Smith, CB Keenan Lewis, OL Tony Hills, OL Ramon Foster, WR Antonio Brown

Bengals: LeFevour (third QB), RB Peerman, C Stephens, LB Muckelroy, DE Fanene, OT Collins, WR Simpson, DT T.Johnson

Fanene , in case you forgot, ate up the interior of the Steelers’ offensive line in his two-sack performance in the teams’ second meeting. Hopefully he’ll get healthy, but it’s not such a bad thing that he’s sitting this one out.

Go Steelers!


Bengals Vs. Steelers: Ravens And Surprising Browns Win AFC North Sunday Games

Both the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns won their games Sunday as the AFC North started the week 2-0. Joe Flacco went 20 of 27 with 266 yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens’ 26-10 win over the Dolphins, while Ray Rice had 83 yards rushing and 97 yards receiving. Billy Cundiff kicked four field goals. The Ravens also intercepted Chad Henne three times.

The Browns, meanwhile, shocked the New England Patriots 34-14 in a game that left the Patriots baffled:

"We were out of sync all day," Brady said. "It was not a good day at all. As an offense, we didn’t do much to advance the ball, and that includes the quarterback. If we play like we played today we are not going to beat anybody."

Colt McCoy went 14 of 19 for 174 yards for the Browns, while Peyton Hillis ran over the Patriots for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Since losing to the Steelers in Week 6, the Browns have now beaten the Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. The Browns are still only 3-5, but they can’t be considered a joke now at all.

The Ravens took a half-game lead over the Steelers in the AFC North.


Bengals Vs. Steelers: Divisional Games To Watch On Sunday

As you know, the matchup between the Bengals and Steelers isn’t until Monday night, but there are two divisional games to check out on Sunday. The Browns take on the Patriots at home at 1:00 on CBS; that certainly could be a bloodbath, but the storyline to watch, at least in the papers, will be the dynamic between coaches Eric Mangini and Bill Belichick. Mangini used to be Belichick’s mentor, but in 2007 he blew the whistle on Belichick for what became known as “Spygate,” and the two no longer speak.

The 1:00 matchup between the Ravens and Dolphins (also on CBS) could be a bit more interesting. Both are playoff contenders, and the Dolphins see the game as a big test after having lost to the Steelers, Jets and Patriots.

“It’s not going to be a pretty game,” Marshall said. “Both football teams are tough, physical and I think this is going to be a defining moment on what type of team we’re going to be for the rest of this season.”


Bengals Vs. Steelers Injury Report: Pittsburgh Relatively Healthy

The Steelers appear relatively healthy in advance of their Monday night game against the Bengals. Here’s the injury report. As expected, Aaron Smith (triceps) will be out for the Steelers. (He should be gone until December, at least, but he still hasn’t been added to injured reserve.) Brett Keisel (hamstring), tackle Flozell Adams (ankle) and running back Isaac Redman (ankle) all practiced today and should be ready to go Monday, so it looks like the Steelers are in pretty good shape, despite Smith’s absence, and it will be nice to have Keisel back.

For the Bengals, defensive tackle Tank Johnson and lineman Roddrick Muckleroy aren’t practicing, and defensive end Jonathan Fanene definitely won’t play. Linebacker Keith Rivers and defensive end Frostree Rucker were limited in their involvement in practice.


Ben Roethlisberger To Make 90th Career NFL Start Against Bengals In Week 9

His life away from the gridiron has left plenty to be desired, to say the least, but when Ben Roethlisberger is suited up in the black and gold as the starting quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he's been exceptionally consistent in the one statistic that matters most - winning.

Roethlisberger sports a 62-27 (.679) career record as the starting quarterback of the Steelers since taking the field for the first time back in Week 2 of his rookie season in 2004. Big Ben will make his 90th career start against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football, and if Mike Tomlin's teams were to remain perfect on MNF since he took over for Bill Cowher, Roethlisberger would match Jim McMahon with the third best winning percentage through ninety starts in the past forty years. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The best record through a quarterback's first 90 starts since 1970:






Tom Brady




Ken Stabler




Jim McMahon

Bears, Chargers, Eagles, Vikings



Danny White




Donovan McNabb




Ben Roethlisberger







*Through 89 career starts



a national showcase that Mike Tomlin's teams have excelled well in since he took over for Bill Cowher in 2007.


Mike Tomlin Looks To Join Elite Company With Win Next Monday Night

I imagine that Mike Tomlin would quickly quiet you if you were to tell him this, but the still-young head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers is on the verge of joining some big names in the NFL coaching fraternity were the Steelers to win next Monday night in Cincinnati against the Bengals. Tomlin is 5-0 on Monday Night Football through the first three years of his coaching career. A win would push him to 6-0, a feat matched by the man who preceded him in Pittsburgh, and just a handful of other accomplished coaches.




Bill Cowher


Tom Flores


Steve Mariucci


George Seifert


Don Shula

Colts, Dolphins



Bengals (2-5) Vs. Steelers (5-2): NFL Week 9 News And Notes

The Pittsburgh Steelers are still over five days away from returning to action next Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, a squad that had the Steelers' number a year ago. But let's take a look at some stats, figures and trends for both teams in anticipatory preparation for the important divisional matchup in The Queen City next Monday night.




  • Club has 5-0 record on MNF under head coach MIKE TOMLIN...
  • Incl. playoffs, QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER is 11-2 (.846) in his home state of Ohio (6-1 at Cin., 5-1 at Cle.). Incl. playoffs, team is 37-4 (.902), when Roethlisberger has 100+ passer rating. Has 7-2 record on MNF...
  • RB RASHARD MENDENHALL (6) needs 2 rush TDs to surpass career high of 7 in '09. Mendenhall is averaging 81.5 receiving yards per game vs. AFC North in '10 (163 total)...
  • WR HINES WARD has reception in 185 consecutive games & needs 1 catch to pass TERRELL OWENS (1996-2009) for the 3rd-most consecutive games w/ rec. in NFL history. Has 14 career TD rec. vs. Bengals, most vs. any opponent. 
  • WR MIKE WALLACE had 102 receiving yards in last game at Cin...Defense allows league-low 14.6 points per game this year...LB JAMES HARRISON has 8.5 sacks in past 5 games on MNF...
  • LB LA MARR WOODLEY has 4 sacks in past 4 vs. Cin...
  • CB IKE TAYLOR had 2nd INT of season last week...


  • Club has won 4 of past 5 at home on MNF...
  • QB CARSON PALMER has 21-12 (.636) career record against AFC North with 53 TDs & 84.8 passer rating...
  • Club has 9-1 record when RB CEDRIC BENSON has 100+ rushing yards in game...
  • WR TERRELL OWENS posted 31st game with 2+ TD receptions last week, 3rd most in NFL history (JERRY RICE, 44; RANDY MOSS, 36). Owens (50) needs 1 100-yard receiving game to surpass DON MAYNARD for 4th-most in NFL history (JERRY RICE, 76). Aims for 5th consecutive game w/ TD reception. 
  • CB MORGAN TRENT had 1st career INT in 1st NFL start last week...
  • CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH has 2 INTs & 2 FFs in past 4 vs. Pit...In 2 games vs. Steelers,
  • KR-RB BERNARD SCOTT has 80 career receptions vs. Pit... has 41.2 KR avg., incl. 96-yard KR-TD.

Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: NFL Week 9 Previews

After winning the first two games since Ben Roethlisberger's return from suspension, the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to 5-2 this past Sunday night by losing to the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, 20-10. The Steelers next travel to Cincinnati for their third divisional tilt of the year, and their first of two against the reeling Cincinnati Bengals. Even though the Steelers lost in disappointing fashion to the Saints, there's no time to feel sorry for themselves or spend too much time thinking about what wrong. With a win against the Bengals, the Steelers would be in plenty good shape, and will have finished their tough three-game road swing with a 2-1 record. Here's a few facts, figures and trends about the two teams' series history, as well as up-to-date season stats fro both squads.











5 of past 7

Past 2


Tomlin: 4-2

Lewis: 5-10


L 20-10 at Saints

L 22-14 vs. Dolphins


11/15/09: Bengals 18 at Steelers 12. Cincinnati K Shayne Graham kicks 4 2nd-half FGs as Bengals sweep season series vs. Pittsburgh for 1st time since '98.


9/27/09: Bengals 23, Steelers 20. Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer passes for 183 yards & throws game-winning 4-yard TD pass to WR Andre Caldwell with 14 seconds remaining.


ESPN (8:30 PM ET): Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden. Westwood One Radio: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Mark Malone (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 124 (WW1), 125 (Pit.), 126 (Cin.). XM: 124 (WW1), 102 (Pit.), 103 (Cin.).




Roethlisberger: 52-82-754-5-2-103.4

C. Palmer: 168-282-1,855-12-7-83.0


Mendenhall: 146-603-4.1-6

Benson: 143-545-3.8-2


Ward: 27-365-13.5-3

Owens: 45 (T3C)-629-14.0-5





+9 (1L)



302.0 (2C)



Harrison: 6

Crocker: 2


Polamalu, I. Taylor: 2

Hall: 4 (T1C)


Sepulveda: 46.9 (3C)

Huber: 43.4


Reed: 51 (15/15 PAT; 12/17 FG)

Nugent: 54 (12/12 PAT; 14/16 FG)

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