NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

5 Things We Learned from Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15

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5 Things We Learned from Week 15

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 30-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals wasn’t unexpected by the players and coaching staff, but it was most certainly unexpected by me. The Steelers dominated from the very start of the game and left no doubt that they still believe that they can make the postseason after such a horrific start to the 2013 NFL season.

Everything from Pittsburgh’s balanced offensive attack to the defense’s ability to stop the Bengals’ two-headed running game of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and rookie Giovani Bernard proved to be vital in this all-important must-win for the Steelers.

Unfortunately for the Bengals, this loss has pushed them a step back in the race for the divisional crown and has taken their destiny out of their own hands. However, they won’t have to worry about Pittsburgh chasing them down. Even if the Steelers finish the regular season on a winning streak, they still won’t be able to beat out Cincinnati for first place in the AFC North.

With Pittsburgh traveling to play the Green Bay Packers in Week 16 and the possibility of not having to worry about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Steelers could still have a heartbeat heading into the regular-season finale when they host the Cleveland Browns.

We have definitely learned that this win was much-needed. In addition, we have also learned that in the event that all of the planets are aligned perfectly and Pittsburgh makes the playoffs, the Steelers are more than capable of beating the Bengals if they were to cross paths again.

Let’s take a look at the five things we learned from Week 15.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.

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5. Defensive Line Showed Dominance Even with Reserves

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers’ defense needed reserve defensive linemen Ziggy Hood and Al Woods to step up, and that is exactly what they did. They both were instrumental in stopping Cincinnati’s running game and combined for eight tackles and a sack on the night.

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4. Antonio Brown is Undoubtedly the Team’s Impact Player

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Game after game, wide receiver Antonio Brown tends to make huge plays. Week 15 was no different. Brown scored two of the team’s first three touchdowns in the first quarter. The first was a 12-yard reception, and the other was a 67-yard punt return. Whether if it’s on offense, or special teams, Brown has proved that he is lightning in a bottle, and he is one of the NFL’s most dangerous weapons.

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3. Special Teams Fortunate for Refs’ No-Call on Garvin’s Hit

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

On the 67-yard punt return for a touchdown by Brown, linebacker Terence Garvin laid a vicious block on Bengals punter Kevin Huber. After an evaluation, the hit was said to be illegal and led to Garvin being fined $25,000 by the league. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, the officials didn’t bother to throw a flag which would have negated Brown’s touchdown and could have possibly changed the entire game.

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2. Steelers Are Capable of Fast Start

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Virtually all season long, Pittsburgh has found themselves playing catchup early in games. In their win against the Bengals, the Steelers jumped out to a 24-0 lead and never looked back. This proves that they are capable of being aggressive and can take full control of a game from start to finish.

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1. Steelers’ Run of Luck Continues

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

After a 0-4 start to the season and dealing with a laundry list of injuries, the Steelers are still in the playoff hunt. Whether it’s fate or just pure luck, Pittsburgh can sneak in to the sixth and final spot in the AFC with an 8-8 record and some help along the way.