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Live from Heinz Field ... again

November 20, 2008 - Buck Frank

Final report

The Steelers beat the Bengals, 27-10, but the game was not that exciting.

Notable: Gary Russell did a good job in short-yardage situations for the second straight week. Ben Roethlisberger actually ran for positive yardage a few times and didn't throw an interception for the second straight game. Limas Sweed made a special teams blunder in the second quarter but came back to make a nice catch on a third-down pass on the Steelers' fourth-quarter drive that put the game away. Santonio Holmes was having a big game until he suffered a blow to the head after getting nailed by Chris Crocker. Brett Keisel and Willie Parker suffered knee injuries, but Mike Tomlin didn't have a prognosis immediately after the game. The defense was splendid again. I'm guessing it will hold on to its top rankings in overall, against the run and against the pass.

The snow was not much of a factor. We'll see how the field holds up after the four WPIAL championship games this weekend.




Halftime report:

Despite Limas Sweed's rookie mistake, getting in the vicinity of a bouncing punt and letting the ball hit him, the Steelers hold a 10-7 lead.

A 37-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Hines Ward and a Gary Russell 1-yard run on fourth-and-1 helped the Steelers tie the game at 7-7. Then Santonio Holmes caught passes of 27 and 22 yards to set up a Jeff Reed 37-yard field goal.

The Steelers seemed to be in control until Sweed's blunder gave the Bengals renewed life near the end of the half. But the Steelers defense rose to the challenge and stopped the Bengals on a fourth-down play.

The snow hit during the second quarter, but was a lot of flurry and not much accumulation. At halftime right now, with the Milford Mill Academy marching band on the field, the snow has pretty much stopped with no evidence on the field.

Crowd has been pretty quiet, as far as Steelers crowds go.

First-quarter report:

Wow! The Steelers offense didn't move the ball much in the first quarter, and now they're behind 7-0. They need a spark. It seemed as though Gary Russell was going to give them one with a 43-yard kickoff return, but they didn't capitalize on it.

It was a late-arriving crowd. Many people were stuck in traffic and didn't get into their seats until late in the first quarter.

No snow yet!!!

45 minutes before kickoff:

Here we are again, for the third time in 11 days.

It is an extremely cold night. Some of the local folk are saying a snowstorm is supposed to hit tonight. Not sure if that will affect the game. I'm more concerned about how it will affect the drive home.

The big pregame news is that Chad Ocho Cinco will miss the game. He was deactivated after a meeting issue. He reportedly walked out of a team meeting and may have gotten into an argument with Marvin Lewis. A real shocker, yeah, right.

The Bengals were already in trouble injury-wise, but they had an advantage with William Gay starting at cornerback for the Steelers. With Ocho Noplayo, that advantage has been neutralized. Glenn Holt will start in his place, but Chris Henry will probably see a lot of action.

The Bengals' left side of their offensive line is in horrible shape. Rookie Anthony Collins will start at left tackle, and Nate Livings, just promoted from the practice squad, will start at left guard. The only backup is a guy, Dennis Roland, they just signed to the active roster late Wednesday. The early guess would be James Harrison will have a monster game.

For the Steelers, Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth are both suiting up at tight end, although neither one is 100 percent. The only injured players deactivated are corners Bryant McFadden and Deshea Townsend, and tackle Marvel Smith. Other Steelers inactive are cornerback Roy Lewis, linebacker Bruce Davis, lineman Tony Hills and defensive end Orpheus Roye, along with QB Dennis Dixon.

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