There’s a playoff atmosphere in Pittsburgh as the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals with with is essentially a playoff berth on the line. The first half of the game has gone pretty much as advertised as both teams are playing a little tight and neither team really looks to be in any sort of rhythm on offense as the Bengals cling to a 10-7 lead.
The story of the first half for the Steelers has been mistakes. On offense, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got beaten on an amazing individual play by Bengals cornerback Leon Hall for a pick 6 at the end of the first quarter. They also have a missed short field goal on a bad snap. On offense both teams have had problems getting any traction. This is due in some part to both offenses being a little tight, but also these 2 defenses are playing really well. Sound fundamental football on both sides of the ball is making for tough sledding for either offense.
The Steelers offense has at least attempted to play with balance, but struggles with Roethlisberger and his receivers getting on the same page and pressure by the Bengals has made completions difficult to come by. On a positive note however, the running game looks to be getting it’s feet under it and better yet the Steelers seem to be ok with sticking with it. Obviously how the score goes in the second half will dictate how much the Steelers can run, but for now I am glad to see them playing well. And with their late touchdown drive you can see the confidence in the passing offense starting to grow.
On defense, defensive coordinator has decided to take a very aggressive approach to attacking the Bengals offense. They have hit quarterback Andy Dalton and stuffed the run. I fully expect the Steelers to keep this up in the second half, allowing the secondary to deal with star wide receiver AJ Green, and they’d done an excellent job. I predicted the Steelers would focus on the line of scrimmage and trust in the secondary and they’ve stuck to that plan to this point.
In the second half the Steelers are going to have to come out and work off the momentum they finished the first half with. The offensive coaches will make some adjustments to get the ball down the field a little more on offense and try and take control of this game. The defense is doing its job, the Steelers offense has to hold up it’s end of the deal and take this game over.