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A level-headed news-discussion site with a sense of history and community https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/community_logos/47293/steel_curtain_fave.png 2018-10-14T19:39:40-04:00
Updated: 1 min 52 sec ago

Despite loss, Dre Kirkpatrick remains convinced Bengals are better than the Steelers

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 6:39pm

Sometimes people are just in denial...

There are many stages of loss, and denial is one of them.

This must be the stage Cincinnati Bengals’ cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is in, based on his post-game comments made regarding his team’s 28-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium in Week 6.

What is Kirkpatrick in denial from? Admitting how the Bengals are the better team. See what he said after the game:

“We’re better than them,” Kirkpatrick said, via Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. “They ain’t better than us. Period. They ain’t better than us; we’re better than them. But they won, so my hat’s off to them. I’m gonna be a team player … they went out there and they fought. They got the win; we got the loss.”

While Kirkpatrick does his best to cover up the true crux of his statement, it is hard to consider the Bengals, a team who was thoroughly dominated in so many ways on Sunday, as the better of the two AFC North teams.

Regardless of comments made, the truth remains the Steelers were able to escape Week 6 with a tough, road division win, and by doing so inject themselves right back into the division race. The truth also remains the Bengals missed an opportunity to bury the Steelers in the standings, but failed — once again. Instead, the Steelers are now just a half game out of first place in the division, and this should scare the rest of the division.

After a horrible month of September, the Steelers have suddenly found their way. The offense is putting up just shy of 30 points per game, and the defense is making enough plays to give the offense a chance to win the game. All which were the expectations heading into the season.

What might be even crazier about this situation is how the Steelers, who enter their Week 7 bye week 3-2-1, will play the Cleveland Browns in Week 8, followed by the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9. By Week 10 Pittsburgh will have finished 5 out of their 6 division games. The only game remaining is a home game vs. the Bengals in Week 17 at Heinz Field.

A lot can change between now and then, and Kirkpatrick might just be singing a different tune, one way or another, when the Bengals come to Pittsburgh in the regular season finale.

Ben Roethlisberger pokes fun at reports of Le’Veon Bell returning to the Steelers this week

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 5:17pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious, and Ben Roethlisberger had jokes after the game regarding Le’Veon Bell’s potential return.

So this is where we are now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Le’Veon Bell saga.

Players aren’t even angry anymore...at least it doesn’t seem like they are. In fact, the team captain, Ben Roethlisberger, went as far as to poke fun at the ‘reports’ of Bell’s return to the team during the bye week prior to the Week 8 game vs. the Cleveland Browns.

When talking about James Conner’s huge day on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, Roethlisberger couldn’t help but make a comment regarding Conner’s “last day” with the team.

Check out what he said...

Ben Roethlisberger on James Conner, in jest: “What a great game, but I know it’s his last game for us, because Le’Veon’s coming back.” pic.twitter.com/roOcMoEW7c

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 14, 2018

James Conner himself even got in on the jokes after the game with Roethlisberger.

Ben Roethlisberger & James Conner joking in the locker room: "It was nice when it lasted," Roethlisberger said to Conner and Conner repeated it back. 7 later joked during his press conference that it was Conner's last game. Le'Veon Bell is supposed to report Mon. @TheAthleticPGH

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) October 14, 2018

All joking aside, it should be noted how Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting how Bell’s reported return is still news to both the Steelers players and front office, considering they have yet to hear from the talented running back.

Steelers have not heard from Le'Veon Bell that he might report this week, per team source.

— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) October 14, 2018

Whether Bell reports this week or not is anyone’s guess, but there is no doubt Conner has silenced the vast majority of his critics on whether or not he can carry the load, and produce, as if No. 26 were in the backfield.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they head into the bye week and then start preparations for the Cleveland Browns in Week 8.

Bengals Vontaze Burfict reverts to form against Steelers with a shot to the head of Antonio Brown

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 4:23pm

It took the Bengals linebacker just over a half of football before he reminded the rest of the league who the dirtiest player in the NFL really is.

In a season that has been full of ups and downs for the Pittsburgh Steelers, their victory over Cincinnati Bengals was reassuringly familiar on Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown once again combined for some game winning heroics after Vontaze Burfict had done his best to send the Steelers’ star receiver to the hospital with a blow to the head.

Despite the talk coming out of Cincinnati of a team meeting to address the questionable tactics they had previously employed against Pittsburgh, it would appear that Vontaze Burfict failed to get the message. Having been manhandled by both Vance McDonald and James Conner earlier in the contest, the Bengals’ infamous linebacker finally made the sort of play he has become synonymous for in the second half.

The real Vontaze Burfict has arrived. pic.twitter.com/msxyIj8Js7

— Chris Mack (@THEChrisMack) October 14, 2018

Vontaze Burfict is a bum pic.twitter.com/rT7ehVh6Mw

— 360°FantasyFootball (@360FFB) October 14, 2018

While it is hard to believe a flag was not thrown, there should be little question that the play will receive the attention of the league office in the coming days. A suspension is very unlikely, even if it is warranted, but a fine should be forthcoming for the perpetual violent offender.

Although he was forced from the field temporarily, Brown was quick to return, and the only player noticeably injured by the hit was one of Burfict’s teammates. A group who are often the victims of the linebacker’s dirty play, in more ways than one.

Burfict was a non-factor for most of the day, notably missing several tackles in the game and looking very much like a player who had been taking it easy while serving a four game suspension to start the year. Easily tossed aside by Conner, Cincinnati’s notorious inside linebacker was much more bark than bite on Sunday.

"Nope." -Conner to Burfict pic.twitter.com/phtTJLFNj3

— Benstonium (@Benstonium) October 14, 2018

Vance McDonald: still hard to tackle.@VMcDonald89 pic.twitter.com/mPcpPSdTxF

— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 14, 2018

Ultimately, Burfict's greatest contribution to the game was sitting on the sidelines looking confused.

PLEASE HELP! This man was last seen being tossed around by Vance McDonald #Burfict pic.twitter.com/TCxHGmaWin

— Benstonium (@Benstonium) October 14, 2018

Or looking lost while walking to the locker room after the game, questioning a seventh straight loss to the Steelers.

Vontaze Burfict walks off saying the #Bengals called something they never call. Not even in practice. @fox19 #Bengals pic.twitter.com/zGHxAhJSJz

— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) October 14, 2018

As you would expect for an organization like the Bengals, Marvin Lewis faked ignorance about the play in question when talking to the media during his postgame press conference, while Burfict made a quick exit to avoid discussing his antics.

Marvin Lewis on the Burfict hit on Brown: “I don’t know what hit you’re talking about. There are a lot of plays out there.”

— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) October 14, 2018

Marvin Lewis pretended not to know about the Burfict hit on Antonio Brown in his postgame news conference. A group of reporters gathered around Burfict's locker after the game. He grabbed his shoes and hustled into the training room. Refused a second request after that happened.

— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) October 14, 2018

Knee Jerk Reactions to Steelers’ 28-21 Week 6 win over the Bengals

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 3:21pm

One BTSC writer shares his real-time, initial thoughts of the Steelers’ grudge match in the jungle.

As Week Five was exhilarating and fostered hope of a turnaround for the Steelers in 2018, I drank the Kool-Aid and finally picked the Steelers. But it is the Bengals, and they still scare me. So I should just shut my trap and react as the game develops. If you want to know how my emotions fluctuated throughout the evening, keep on reading.

Nonetheless, a simple reminder, a knee jerk reaction is an immediate and unthinking, emotional reaction. It’s basically shooting first and apologizing later. I can safely say that’s a true definition of your’s truly and a good lot of Steeler Nation. Here’s my real-time reactions during the Steelers’ most recent quest for redemption.

Quarter 1 Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images
  • I’m not a fan of receiving the kick when winning the coin flip.
  • The offense must be sponsored by McDonald’s. If Vance is going to catch three balls every drive, they could put the golden arch on his name plate...I wouldn’t care.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
  • That shove by Burfict really could have been called. They’re starting early.
  • JuJu doesn’t usually miss those catches. That was on him. Nice throw by a Ben.
  • Dré Kirkpatrick is a punk. This is going to get ugly.
  • AJ Green missed one too. He still scares me. Don’t expect that too much.
  • I’m not accustomed to a three-and-out on the first drive. That’s a habit that I’d like to see get started.
  • The Orange Stormtrooper is not very imaginative. If that guy went to prom, I’dbe stunned.
  • Sometimes I wish Ben would just take off more.
  • The Cincy defense looks fired up. They are going to be tough to penetrate.
  • You could here the Boo-Berrys all the way from Pittsburgh after that 36-yard dud.
  • It’s inexcusable to give a team that good of field position.
  • Haden is getting physical with No. 18, but he’s still giving him chances.
  • That dropped pick but Joe will haunt the Steelers.
  • Losing Watt would be bad.
  • Just saw it on that Boyd TD.
  • Huge run by James Conner. If he gets going, the whole unit will.
  • X-Man sighting. Two weeks running.
Quarter 2
  • Nice physicality by both the line and Conner on the TD.
  • Terrible camera work on that pass to Mixon
  • Mixon is benefiting from the attention being paid to the receivers.
  • It looked at first like Hilton was getting beaten, but Mike broke up that pass to Boyd on third down very nicely.
  • Does Ben want to get picked? I haven’t seen this many tips since my table waiting days.
  • I admire the gumption, but Mike Tomlin never wins spot challenges. But it’s only a time out.
  • 65 yard punt? Give credit where it’s due. Nice punt.
  • There’s something majestic and polite about Javon Hargrave’s “reeling in” sack celebration.
  • These drops are giving Pittsburgh life.
  • Vance McDonald may be one if the most physical YAC receiver ever to don a Steeler uni.
  • AB is getting mauled by Kirkpatrick. Love to see him get a big score.
  • That could be a TD by JuJu. I think it won’t get overturned. But either way, it was gorgeous.
Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images
  • Combat catch by JuJu. Was almost a pick.
  • CBS calling for a QB sneak. I think it’s got to be Conner time.
  • This two-minute defense is equivalent of gifting points.
  • Need to buckle down and hold them to three.
  • That drive was disgusting. No excuse to let them waltz down the field.
  • Pitt or not, I don’t like Tyler Boyd anymore. He’s a fantastic receiver though.
Quarter 3
  • They always have trouble with Alex Ericson.
  • That’s why I’m not a fan of deferring the kick to the second half.
  • Bostic with the big break-up.
  • Watt bit on the hard count, but nice redemption on the third down stop.
  • That play to Grimble on third down was pretty sweet.
  • AB could be hurt.
  • AB is not happy about coming out.
  • Good coverage by Kirkpatrick. That was a sure score.
  • Burfict is headhunting. Why do announcers defend this thug?
  • Guess AB is fine.
  • Connor is special.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
  • Why not a challenge on that play? That is going to cost them.
  • That was holding. JJ would have pulled that in.
  • We are all going to rue not challenging.
  • Don’t kick it to Ericson.
  • On second thought, Nix cracked him. I’m a huge Rosie fan.
  • Great combat running by Conner.
  • Two long snapper penalties. Kameron Canaday needs to be anonymous.
  • That broken play could have been a killer. Steelers are lucky that Corey Glenn got called for the hold
Quarter 4
  • Giving way to much cushion to these receivers,
  • Getting nervous.
  • Tackle by Tuitt. Kind of forgot he was still on the team. I wish I was joking.
  • Right when I rip on him, he gets a sack. Nice job, Stephon.
  • That tip by Haden was scary, but No. 18 was out of bounds. Wouldn’t have been disastrous. I still yelped though.
  • A TD would be nice here. But won’t happen. They seem to rely on the drama. It’s almost like the Steelers have a deal with local cardiologists.
  • Huge run on first down by Conner was courtesy of Pouncey and DeCastro.
  • AB came up ABsolutely huge.
Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images
  • Brown wide open on the pass to James.
  • JuJu huge awareness. Wanted the TD though.
  • Come on defense. It’s all on the line here.
  • Keep thinking about the non-challenge. That could bite us.
  • Scared of a flag there. Just could coverage by Joe.
  • Yep. Artie Burns can’t give you a full game.
  • VinnyVidiVici on the downfield pass coverage.
  • Sutton isn’t much better.
  • Ugggh! At least there’s time on the clock.
  • Time to find out what you’re made of. A little dramatic, but this is the season.
  • If they are who we want them to be, Boswell nails one at the gun. But it isn’t going to be easy.
  • Wasted time there.
  • Definitely a hold.
  • I want to adopt JuJu.
  • Wow! My celebration just scared my dogs and made my daughter laugh and label me as “wierd”.
  • I think I hurt my back and pulled a hammy on the “In yo face! in yo face!” portion of my celebration.
  • Dont forget Erickson.
  • Que the escalator evacuation...aka the ESCA-LOSER.

...

So...now as I replay the game more and more in my head, my perceptions and maybe my prescriptions will alter. But for now, you just got a glimpse of the first thoughts that popped in my mind while I was watching this game. Feel free to get your commentus maximus on in the section below.

Steelers pull off improbable comeback to defeat Bengals 28-21

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 3:09pm

The Steelers go into Cincinnati, and pull off an incredible comeback win to give them their first back-to-back wins of the season heading into their bye week.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals met for the first time in 2018, and the two teams both need this win in Week 6 for various reasons. At Paul Brown Stadium, the Steelers entered the game in the cellar of the AFC North division, while the Bengals sat atop the division, looking down on their counterparts. A win for both teams would be huge. A Pittsburgh victory would allow them right back into the division race, but a Cincinnati win would just extend their lead over the rest of the division.

After both teams were forced to punt on their opening drives, the Bengals were able to turn their second possession into the first points of the game. After a poor Jordan Berry punt, Andy Dalton and Joe Mixon orchestrated a stellar drive which resulted in a Tyler Boyd two-yard strike to put Cincinnati up 7-0 with 4:36 left in the first quarter.

The Steelers answered the Cincinnati touchdown with an impressive touchdown drive of their own. After huge third down conversions to both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown, it was James Conner who plunged into the endzone to start the second quarter to tie the game 7-7 with 14:33 left in the half.

Follows the big guys ✅
Punches it in for 6 ✅

PIT 7 | CIN 7 pic.twitter.com/eh8pje2vwO

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2018

The back-and-forth half continued between these two teams. Punts and passes dropped were the norm for both sides, but it was Pittsburgh who tacked on the next points after the Ben Roethlisberger to Vance McDonald connection heated up with just over 5 minutes left in the half.

After a tremendous reception by JuJu Smith-Schuster to rip the ball away from Bengals defender Darqueze Dennard, it set up the Steelers’ offense at the one foot line.

Old news: One-handed catch

Trending: #JuJuFlip pic.twitter.com/3yozrXPVSn

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2018

James Conner would do the rest for his second touchdown of the day. Chris Boswell made the point-after to give Pittsburgh a 14-7 lead with 1:07 left in the half.

Rather than kicking the football out of the endzone, Boswell left it in play and Alex Erickson returned it 43 yards to near midfield on the ensuing kickoff. Dalton did the rest by shredding the Pittsburgh secondary before hitting Tyler Boyd for another touchdown, tying the score at 14 heading into halftime.

To open the second half, Erickson again gave the Bengals’ offense tremendous field position. However, Cincinnati was unable to do anything with the football and was forced to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh for their first possession of the half.

Roethlisberger continued to do damage on the Cincinnati defense, this time by way of Xavier Grimble and James Conner, but after a Conner 25 yard run got the offense to the one-yard line, Pittsburgh was stopped on three straight plays and had to settle for a Boswell chip shot field goal.

After several punts by both teams, and the score 17-14, it seemed as if the team who had the football last, or who punched one in for a touchdown, would be leaving Paul Brown Stadium with the ‘W’. With 9:20 to play in the fourth quarter Pittsburgh received the football and Antonio Brown showed up in a big way when it mattered most.

Antonio Brown.

LOOK OUT. pic.twitter.com/BuUwO4XF0G

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2018

However, despite the big play, the Cincinnati defense stoned the offense in the red-zone for the second time in the half, forcing Chris Boswell into action again. Boswell’s field goal was good, making the score 20-14 with 3:32 left in the fourth quarter.

Dalton and company had plenty of time to move the ball down the field, and they did just that, working inside Pittsburgh territory prior to the two-minute warning. After a strike to AJ Green moved the ball into the red-zone, Joe Mixon got into the endzone from two-yards out to tie the game. Randy Bullock’s point-after gave Cincinnati the 21-20 lead with 1:18 left in regulation.

The Steelers had all three of their timeouts, and plenty of time remaining to be able to march down the field and give Boswell the chance to redeem his poor start to the season with a game-winning field goal. After two big completions to JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Steelers were within Boswell’s field goal range, but they didn’t need it when Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown on a run-pass-option and he scampered into the endzone for the touchdown. A Smith-Schuster two-point conversion made the score 28-21, and that score held as the final.

The Steelers win moves their record to 3-2-1 and inject themselves right back into the AFC North race as they head into their bye week.

Steelers vs. Bengals, Week 6: 3rd quarter in-game update

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 2:20pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

Roethlisberger continued to do damage on the Cincinnati defense, this time by way of Xavier Grimble and James Conner, but after a Conner 25 yard run got the offense to the one-yard line, Pittsburgh was stopped on three straight plays and had to settle for a Boswell chip shot field goal.

After a series of punts by both teams, the Steelers are clinging to a 17-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Stay tuned to BTSC as the rest of this huge AFC North game plays out.

Steelers vs. Bengals: Second-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 1:39pm

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2018 regular season is here with the Steelers and Bengals locking horns in Week 6. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field in the 2018 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

Steelers vs. Bengals, Week 6: 2nd quarter in-game update

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 1:31pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

The Steelers answered the Cincinnati touchdown with an impressive touchdown drive of their own. After huge third down conversions to both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown, it was James Conner who plunged into the endzone to start the second quarter to tie the game 7-7 with 14:33 left in the half.

Follows the big guys ✅
Punches it in for 6 ✅

PIT 7 | CIN 7 pic.twitter.com/eh8pje2vwO

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2018

The back-and-forth half continued between these two teams. Punts and passes dropped were the norm for both sides, but it was Pittsburgh who tacked on the next points after the Ben Roethlisberger to Vance McDonald connection heated up with just over 5 minutes left in the half.

After a tremendous reception by JuJu Smith-Schuster to rip the ball away from Bengals defender Darqueze Dennard, it set up the Steelers’ offense at the one foot line.

Old news: One-handed catch

Trending: #JuJuFlip pic.twitter.com/3yozrXPVSn

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2018

James Conner would do the rest for his second touchdown of the day. Chris Boswell made the point-after to give Pittsburgh a 14-7 lead with 1:07 left in the half.

Rather than kicking the football out of the endzone, Boswell left it in play and Alex Erickson returned it 43 yards to near midfield on the ensuing kickoff. Dalton did the rest by shredding the Pittsburgh secondary before hitting Tyler Boyd for another touchdown, tying the score at 14 heading into halftime.

Steelers vs. Bengals, Week 6: 1st quarter in-game update

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 12:43pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals met for the first time in 2018, and the two teams both need this win in Week 6 for various reasons. At Paul Brown Stadium, the Steelers entered the game in the cellar of the AFC North division, while the Bengals sat atop the division, looking down on their counterparts. A win for both teams would be huge. A Pittsburgh victory would allow them right back into the division race, but a Cincinnati win would just extend their lead over the rest of the division.

After both teams were forced to punt on their opening drives, the Bengals were able to turn their second possession into the first points of the game. After a poor Jordan Berry punt, Andy Dalton and Joe Mixon orchestrated a stellar drive which resulted in a Tyler Boyd two-yard strike to put Cincinnati up 7-0 with 4:36 left in the first quarter.

The Steelers have the ball in the red-zone to end the first quarter.

Steelers vs. Bengals: First-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 11:45am

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2018 regular season is here with the Steelers and Bengals locking horns in Week 6. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field in the 2018 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

NFL Picks: Predicting the winner of Steelers vs. Bengals, Week 6

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 11:26am

Time to put on the prognosticator hat and predict the winner of Steelers vs. Bengals.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals renew their ugly rivalry on Sunday in Week 6 when Pittsburgh makes the short trek to Cincinnati, OH and Paul Brown Stadium. Everyone knows about the history of these two AFC North teams, but who will win this contest on Sunday?

To think this game will be a shoot out is certainly short-sighted, in my opinion. Despite the two trajectories of the 2018 versions of the Bengals and Steelers, these games usually come down to the wire and are rarely the shoot out variety.

With a 4-1 record, the Bengals sit atop the division, with the 2-2-1 Steelers staring up at every other team in the AFC North.

The Bengals’ offense has been moving the ball with ease with Andy Dalton, AJ Green, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd doing the work, but the Steelers’ offense might very well have gotten on track after a Week 5 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Will Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster be able to continue their 28.6 points per game pace?

It may just be the two defenses who determine the outcome of this game. The Bengals’ defense is surrendering 26 points per game, while Pittsburgh is giving up 26.6. Both teams strive for the same goal — a division crown — and they know the road to this goal goes through the other.

There is something about this game, coming off a win over the Falcons and prior to the bye week, where I see the Steelers making enough plays to leave the game victorious and one step closer to getting the ‘September Stench’ off them as Mike Tomlin said it.

I like the Steelers to win their first AFC game, first division game and first back-to-back games in 2018.

Steelers - 24
Bengals - 20

Why Ben Roethlisberger continues to be ‘King of the Jungle’ against the Bengals

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 10:50am

Ben Roethlisberger feels home in the state of Ohio in more ways than one.

Why Ben Roethlisberger Continue to be,’King of the Jungle,’ Against the Bengals:

If there’s one encouraging sign Steelers Fans should feel good about it is Ben Roethlisberger’s career road statistics against the Bengals. It almost seems to be easy pickings, despite the last two tight games in Cincinnati. The Steelers find themselves in unfamiliar territory they haven’t felt in a long time, last place in the AFC North.

Going into this game, the Steelers are a 1 ½ games back in the division race. To make matters worse, the Steelers have yet to win a game in not only the AFC, but the Division. These next three divisional games will be highly critical, especially beginning with the Bengals. The season, no doubt is hanging in the balance with this game!

Let’s take a look at why Ben Roethlisberger will be called upon, once again, to play the role of hero in this bitter rivalry!

Ben Roethlisberger has a career 12-2 record in Cincinnati with a 104.7 average QB Rating. Each loss came from a game apiece from Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton. He has averaged 241 Yards Passing, with 17 TD’s to 10 INT’s. It may not be the numbers which knock your socks off, but it’s enough for Roethlisberger to also be the Ultimate Game Manager in these circumstances. What’s even more impressive is how he hasn’t missed a career start when visiting Cincinnati.

The key to this game will be to keep the interceptions to just one, at a minimum. He’s only lost twice in this aspect. On another note, another big factor, without the services of Le’Veon Bell, they are 1-2 lifetime in these decisive games.

Yes, while James Conner is continuing to improve, it is incumbent Roethlisberger and the offense control the time of possession with first downs and quick strikes. More importantly, the more this season goes on without Bell, it is critical Roethlisberger doesn’t get lost for any length of time. Two years ago, just being out for yet alone one game, Ben’s absence cost the team a first-round bye which was snagged by the Chiefs. In 2012, he missed three games which pretty much sealed their playoff fate that season.

Also, how much should we be concerned about Ben’s throwing elbow? This is the same elbow he injured in the Week 1 tie to the Browns. “It’s fine,” said Roethlisberger when speaking to the media on Wednesday. I don’t even need to talk about it. It’s good.”

Either way you slice it, Roethlisberger has become a Bengals killer in Paul Brown Stadium. The Season may still on life support, but it’s time to look past a brutal rivalry and play fine quality of 60 minutes of football. No matter, Roethlisberger and company will be looked upon to come through in the clutch to get the Steelers out of the cellar and back in the hunt for the AFC North crown!

L.J. Fort, Morgan Burnett and Darrius Heyward-Bey all inactive for Steelers vs. Bengals

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 10:31am

While Vince Williams returns in Week 6, L.J. Fort will sit out with ankle injury.

With just one exception, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ list of inactive players for Week 6 looks exactly the same as it did in Week 5. While the injured L.J. Fort replaces the now healthy Vince Williams, Darrius Heyward-Bey misses his second game of the year and Morgan Burnett is sidelined for the fourth week in a row.

Justin Hunter gets another chance to suit up for a game with Heyward-Bey sitting out, but for the rest of the regular names on the inactive report, it is business as usual this Sunday.

Marcus Allen and Mason Rudolph are still waiting for their first opportunity to dress on game day and L.T. Walton has only been active for a game once this season. Zach Banner has been active on just two occasions. Barring injury, none of these names are expected to be seen in uniform on Sunday anytime soon.

Recently promoted cornerback Brian Allen keeps his place on the gameday in only his second week since being signed from the practice squad.

The Cincinnati Bengals list of inactives for Week 6:

#Bengals Inactives 10/14 #PITvsCIN:

-WR J. Ross
-WR A. Tate
-HB G. Bernard
-C Billy Price
-OT C. Ogbuehi
-TE T. Kroft
-DT A. Washington

— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 14, 2018

Predicting the Steelers’ Week 6 inactive list vs. the Bengals

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 9:20am

Other than the return of Vince Williams, the inactive list should have a similar look.

Week 6 is shaping up to be the most predictable inactive list of 2018. For the first time since opening weekend, players have already been ruled out before game day.

Game Status

Out:

S Morgan Burnett (Groin)

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (ankle)

Doubtful:

LB L.J. Fort

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for Week 6:

Definitely:

S Morgan Burnett- his last action came in Week 2, so it makes sense to hold Burnett out until after the bye.

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey- Coach Tomlin said the was a chance Hey-Bey could have practiced this week, which has been the only positive news since the injury.

Most Likely:

QB Mason Rudolph- the bright side is Rudolph is due to get some extra work in practice while Ben Roethlisberger takes time off during the bye week.

LB L.J. Fort- it’s really unfortunate that Fort will probably sit out this week. After a great performance last Sunday, he was pushing to have a bigger role in the rotation.

DT L.T. Walton- he is entrenched at this spot on the depth chart until injuries change the situation.

OT Zach Banner- this is why I originally had the Steelers only keeping eight linemen on the 53-man roster. If they ever make a roster move, Banner would be a candidate to end up on the practice squad.

S Marcus Allen- I have no idea what the Steelers’ plan is for Allen. Whether it’s if he’s not ready or for some other reason, there seems to be no interest is dressing him. Much like Zach Banner, Allen should be grateful every week he’s on the 53.

Possibly:

OT Matt Feiler- it is definitely a luxury to dress eight linemen, but right now the Steelers have the space to do it if three players are out due to injury.

Unlikely:

CB Brian Allen- he played well on special teams last week, so until Morgan Burnett returns Allen should be safe.

WR Justin Hunter- if there are no injuries, Hunter is inactive. But Darrius Heyward-Bey has already been ruled out, so Hunter will dress and get some snaps.

Projected Inactive List:
  1. Mason Rudolph
  2. Morgan Burnett
  3. Darrius Heyward-Bey
  4. L.J. Fort
  5. L.T. Walton
  6. Zach Banner
  7. Marcus Allen

I’m calling six of these choices “locks.” The only one which could be a surprise is if L.J. Fort makes an unexpected recovery. If so, it would probably be Matt Feiler who would be the replacement.

Feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.

Three Steelers who need to have a big game to get a win Sunday in Week 6

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 8:20am

Some key members of the black-and-gold who need to STEP UP in Week 6.

Coming off an impressive win against the Atlanta Falcons, a game in which everything seemed to fall in place, the Pittsburgh Steelers played very solid in all three phases of the game.

To beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6, it will take another similar effort this week.

Everyone knows the history between these two teams, and I’m betting there isn’t love lost on either side. So buckle up your chin straps and pull your coolers closer to the TV. You don’t want to miss a minute of this one.

It’s Bengals week.

Ben Roethlisberger

I would like to take Ben off of this list, but until he quits floating passes for jump balls in the end zone, I simply can’t. Ben hasn’t played terrible and he is currently 3rd in the league in yardage and has a 64% completion rate, but that should be higher. He continues to miss some easy throws.

Listening to the 93.7 The Fan this week, they replayed parts of his weekly radio show, and there was mention by Ben himself how his elbow may be the reason for missing on some throws. Ben also mentioned how it wasn’t a big deal. Let’s say Ben is a bit theatrical, some claim drama, but I like the term theatrical. Either way, Ben needs to pull it together if the Steelers stand a chance of digging out of this hole.

Interior of the Offensive Line

I’m grouping this unit together because of Geno Atkins. He currently is tied for the league lead in sacks with J.J. and T.J. Watt with six a piece. Make no mistake about it, this guy is as disruptive as they come. The shortest path to the quarterback is right up the middle and that means Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Ramon Foster need to be on top of their game Sunday.

Equally as important is run blocking for James Conner. It would be nice to have another performance like last week, but the competition is much better. Keeping it balanced is something many here on the boards have wanted. I myself would like a repeat of what we saw last week, and that is more FB and more of Ben under center. This all falls at the feet of the guys in the middle. It’s going to be physical, and the Steelers have to win in the trenches to be successful.

Coverage Backers

I’m also putting this group together. Joe Mixon is a dual purpose back and could cause issues in this game on Sunday if Pittsburgh can’t cover him out of the backfield. Reports are showing Vince Williams should be back to his usual role, and L.J. Fort hasn’t practiced this week meaning he is likely out. After the game that Fort had against the Falcons I’m feeling a little uneasy knowing Williams could be matched up with Mixon.

The middle of the defense has been exposed at times, and Vince hasn’t ever been mentioned as a coverage guy. Jon Bostic has played solid, but I feel he is also a liability in coverage, he is better than Williams, but that isn’t saying much.

I’m hoping to see more aggressive blitzing by Butler. Hopefully the Steelers have success, and that keeps Mixon out of the passing game and they have to keep him in to block. The Bengals have other weapons but Joe Mixon is one that could wreck this game if he get’s going.

...

I gave you my trio of sorts. Time to tell me what you’re thinking as game time approaches.

While in Cincinnati, Ryan Shazier finally gets to say ‘thank you’

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 7:16am

The Pittsburgh Steelers ILB was able to return to Cincinnati and say ‘thank you’ to some very special people.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals don’t have much of a friendly relationship. To be honest, when anyone is from Pittsburgh visits Cincinnati, you aren’t likely to hear the words ‘thank you’ uttered from their mouths.

Nonetheless, when Ryan Shazier traveled back to the city with the Steelers prior to their Week 6 matchup, he made it a point to visit the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC) to say thank you to all the doctors and nurses who helped care for him after his time spent there last December after his spinal injury during Monday Night Football.

View this post on Instagram

It’s been a long journey, but this is still a ways to go. But it all started here in Cincinnati. Today was an amazing day I was so thankful to be able to tell everyone thank you. #Shalieve

A post shared by Ryan Shazier (@shazier) on Oct 13, 2018 at 6:25pm PDT

To think it hasn’t even been a year since his injury, and the severity of the injury, Shazier even walking is a minor miracle. He has aspirations of playing the game again, and no one should tell him how to live his life — if football is even an option in the future.

Anyone who has studied any type of spinal chord injury knows how crucial the first hours and days are to an individual’s recovery. While Shazier still has a long road ahead of him, the fact he was able to walk into the hospital and thank those who cared for him is certainly a huge part of the healing process for No. 50.

Behind Enemy Lines: Outlining how the Steelers can exploit the Bengals in Week 6

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 6:31am

We go behind enemy lines to get the lowdown on this AFC North grudge match by talking with Cincy Jungle.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals will renew their rivalry with their first meeting in the 2018 regular season, and no one is quite sure what to make of this AFC North grudge match.

While most are expecting another brutally physical game, the true identity of these two teams is far from certain. To get a better grasp on the Bengals, I sat down with Cincy Jungle, SB Nation’s Bengals website, to talk about things from the other side of the fence.

Check out the Q&A we had below:

The Cincinnati Bengals are playing some great football this year. What has been the biggest difference(s) between 2017 and 2018 which has led to success?

I think the most noticeable difference is the command Bill Lazor has over this offense. He took over as the official offensive coordinator this offseason, and he created a brand new offense, which is something this team hasn’t done since Jay Gruden joined the team. Lazor has been very imaginative, and he hasn’t been afraid to move players around. A.J. Green has lined up in the slot more than ever this season, and it has payed off with huge plays.

Also John Ross and Tyler Boyd contributing at receiver is huge as well. Neither did much last season, but Ross’ speed is something teams just have to respect, and that opens things up for Boyd who has become Andy Dalton’s favorite safety blanket to target. Also of course Joe Mixon being the feature back from the get go is huge. Too often last season the Bengals would go to Jeremy Hill for a drive while Mixon was rolling, and it would throw off the entire rhythm of the offense.

The final thing is Cordy Glenn at left tackle, and the team not having Russell Bodine at center. Glenn hasn’t been perfect at left tackle, but he has been a very noticeable upgrade over Cedric Ogbuehi who has yet to even be activated for a game. Also Bodine not getting bull rushed back into the pocket has allowed Dalton to actually be able to step up in the pocket to give his receivers more time.

The Bengals offense seems to be one of the more potent in the league, but every unit has their potential pit falls. What are the weaknesses of this Bengals offense?

While the offensive line is improved from last year, the right side is still pretty bad. Right guard Alex Redmond and right tackle Bobby Hart just can’t seem to put a game where they are consistently good together. Hart has had plays where he just doesn’t end up blocking anyone, which allows pass rushers a free look at Dalton, and Redmond has had issues being escorted to Dalton’s lap by interior pass rushers too often. Although, Redmond has shown the most promise of the two, that isn’t saying much.

If you were an offensive coordinator putting together a game plan for the Bengals’ defense, how would you attack them?

Two areas I’d attack are the linebackers in coverage and Dre Kirkpatrick. I wouldn’t even look towards William Jackson unless he is playing off coverage.

The linebackers covering has been an issue for awhile now. This year hasn’t changed as it seems like they are just sitting out there waiting for someone to catch a pass. If I had a dollar for every time an offense ran colliding drag routes on third down I would probably be able to buy the Bengals. Kirkpatrick gets picked on more than any high paid corner I can remember. He has good plays, but he is easily beaten on double moves or by quicker receivers. It is very easy to get in front of him if he is playing off coverage.

The one thing you really need to make sure that you do is hit on quicker passes if Cincinnati decides to blitz (which seems rarer than it should be). If they bring one extra blitzer it usually results in a quick pressure on the quarterback. even when they don’t blitz the combination of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap makes it hard for any quarterback to feel safe sitting back their for long.

Name one player on each side of the ball Steelers fans might want to keep an eye on this Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Jessie Bates is the best safety in the NFL that no one seems to be talking about. He doesn’t light up the stat sheet, even though he has two picks on the season, but he plays the center field so well for the Bengals. Cincinnati hasn’t given up a ton of big plays deep, and he is pretty much the reason for that. Ben Roethlisber may have to worry about a new Reggie Nelson roaming the secondary.

Boyd is probably the guy that Pittsburgh fans would least expect to be the key for the offense. He is flying under the radar of Mixon and Green, but when Boyd is going that means the Bengals are converting third downs and getting into scoring distance. He struggled last week to get the ball from Dalton, and the Bengals’ offense only scored 10 points. He is someone Cincinnati needs to get going.

What is your prediction of the game, and how do you see it playing out?

I’m always afraid of divisional games. You never know quite how they will turn out. I do think this game ends up being very close, but I also think it ends up being a pretty high scoring affair. It could ultimately come down to which team makes the deciding turnover late. That is something the Bengals have done all year long, and I think they do it again as Roethlisberger tries to attack Kirkpatrick one too many times, and Bates gets the game sealing interception.

Bengals 34 Steelers 31

Distribution Map: Check out whether you’ll see Steelers vs. Bengals in Week 6

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 5:15am

Will you get to see Steelers vs. Bengals in the comfort of your own home?

If you were like me before I decided to sign up for the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package, every week I was wondering whether I’d be able to watch my beloved Steelers in the comfort of my own home, or if I’d have to go elsewhere to watch the game.

Before there were websites devoted to this, it meant a lengthy trip on the television guide screen to see which game was scheduled to air, but now it’s just a click away.

For those who want to know which game they’ll see, check the map below, courtesy of 506 Sports:

[Steelers fans: Sign up for FanPulse, our weekly Steelers survey]

The Steelers vs. Benals game is the RED portion of the map.

If you are curious about the other matchups, they are as follows:

BLUE — Colts vs. Jets
GREEN — Chargers vs. Browns
YELLOW — Bills vs. Texans
GREY — NO GAME due to local home game on FOX

So, are you lucky enough to be able to watch the game live in your own home, or are you one of the many who will have to find other means to view the game? Either way, today is the day to get pumped!! Week 5 is ready for kickoff!

HERE WE GO!!

Six Steelers’ Slobberknockers for Week 6: A half-dozen questions for BTSC fans to discuss

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 4:23am

Time to get ready for the Week 6 game vs. the Bengals!

What the heck is a “slobberknocker?” In football terms, it’s a hit that, well, knocks the slobber right out of the other player’s mouth. I’ll be posing six hard-hitting questions to BTSC fans every game-day morning during the 2018 regular season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers take to the road to play against their rivals the Cincinnati Bengals. The game between the two teams has been marred by heavy hitting that has led to many personal foul penalties being called. Both teams are coming off of much-needed wins. The Bengals win keeps them atop the AFC North while the Steelers win brought their record to the .500 mark. Can the Steelers keep the momentum going after the win against Atlanta or will the game be another reminder that the Steelers are not the 13-3 team from 2017? That’s on the hearts and minds of BTSC fans — fans who are a cut above the run-of-the-mill Steelers fans. The following questions are geared towards these insightful fans to gauge their thoughts.

Q1: What is more important, the Steelers pass defense to shine or the Steelers receivers?

Q2: From 1 to 10, what is your confidence level in the defense today?

Q3: Did last week’s win over the Falcons restore your faith in head coach Mike Tomlin? If the Steelers lose to the Bengals will that confidence be shaken?

Q4: Bengals left tackle Cordy Glenn has been a turnstile for most of the season, how much success will T. J. Watt have? Will Watt disrupt the Bengals offense enough to help the team’s struggling secondary?

Q5: What is more important, stopping Bengals running back Joe Mixon or Steelers running back James Conner succeeding?

Q6: Inside linebacker Vince Williams missed the Falcons game and has not been effective when he has played, does he struggle again on Sunday? If he does should the Steelers bench him?

Bonus: Out of Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Antonio Brown, Mixon, A. J. Green or Tyler Boyd, which player has the most total yards?

Steeler fans will be sitting on pins and needles glued to every twist and turn that unfolds in the game today. The Steelers lead the all-time series, 62-35 and have won nine of the last 10 meetings. To say the Steelers have owned the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in recent years is an understatement. Pittsburgh has won eight of the last nine meetings. Will Steelers fans be riding high all week on the BTSC boards or will the boards be inundated with frustration?

The Pittsburgh Steelers: Always bringing the drama

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 3:55pm

Sometimes there’s a disconnect between image and reality, and this is especially true with regard to celebrity athletes.

It was once conventional wisdom, at least in the entertainment world, that the only bad publicity was no publicity. Gossip magazines, back in that day, were called “scandal rags.” It was considered a good thing if word got out that the star of a new film had an affair with his co-star, because it helped sell tickets. As coverage increased, however, and the scandals became increasingly scandalous, that conventional wisdom began to grow some cracks. Jane Fonda’s scandal was all too public and powerfully harmed her career. She became, to vast numbers of movie-goers, “Hanoi Jane,” after publicly supporting and posing with the North Vietnamese while Americans were at war with them. And many of them followed a simple rule — if Jane was on the screen, they weren’t at the theater.

Today the 24-hour news cycle has paved the way for instant headlines across multiple platforms. Today, some of our most beloved entertainers are not actors, but athletes. The money, the celebrity and the adulation we pour on the young men who carry our banner every Sunday are, honestly, far out of proportion to the importance of what they do. It is, after all, just a game. Over the years, before branding was even a thing, there were a few athletes who already understood the concept. Joe Namath was “Joe Cool,” but he adopted this persona on purpose. Now, however, everyone has to have a brand. Big Alejandro Villanueva, the patriot, James Conner the survivor, JuJu Smith-Schuster the charming kid from next door, and Antonio Brown, the last surviving member of the Young-Money Crew.

The trouble with image and branding, however, is that it’ll catch up with you. I’ve seen multiple tweets of one of Antonio Brown’s sons doing his daddy’s end zone dance after a touchdown. It was cute until I realized that AB has multiple children by multiple women, none of whom he’s married. Just like the babys’ mommas are simply the means to AB’s ends, so is his son’s cuteness just another tool in his branding box.

Then comes the lawsuit. I’m a strong believer in innocent until proven guilty. For all I know, AB was feeding orphans in India when furniture rained down from his rental in south Florida. I have access to no information that would shed any light on what happened. I’m not going to consign AB to some rogue’s gallery of self-absorbed and dangerous prima donnas. Neither, however, am I going to believe his real life is nearly as joyful, calm and centered as the image he presents. Image is image. Reality is reality. Wisdom is keeping these two separate.

The bottom line? I’m not buying his schtick. But I’ll continue to cheer him on come game day. I’ll also cheer for him in his off-the-field life. The real one, not the contrived one.

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