For as prolific as the Pittsburgh Steelers were offensively for most of last season, they sure didn’t fare well at all against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers scored just 32 points in two contests a year ago – 20 in their first encounter; 12 in the second. I don’t need to remind you that the Steelers lost both games. If next Monday night’s game plays out anything like last year’s defensive slug-fests, the Steelers might again struggle to find the endzone. The Steelers did score two TDs in Week 3 of ‘09, but they had to settle for field goal attempts on numerous other occasions. Jeff Reed had a combined seven attempts (3, 4). He converted six-of-seven, with the lone miss coming late in the first game and ultimately costing the Steelers’ an early-season road win.
Through seven games this year, Reed has had a startlingly high number of FG attempts (17), including four and five attempt outings in the first two weeks of the season.
Rashard Mendenhall may be a good bet, as the Bengals are ranked just 20th stopping the run. But despite the fact that the Bengals’ defense hasn’t been able to get a key stop with their secondary with the game on the line, the pass defense has actually not been that bad, allowing just over 220 yards a game (17th).
If Mendenhall’s not an option, consider seeing if opposing owners have gotten impatient with Reed. Sure, he’s missed some important kicks this year, but three have been from 50-plus yards out, and two have clanged off the uprights. The worst of his ’10 season may be behind him.