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November 9, 2010 - Ray Eckenrode
BLEEDING BLACK AND GOLD
Steelers swoon late, but hang on to nip Bengals
It was over when:
+ James Harrison jarred the ball loose from Jordan Shipley on a fourth-down pass play with :31 left to avoid the most epic collapse in Steelers’ history.
Play of the day:
+ Even though the Steelers set it up with a straight reverse early in the game, the Bengals were not fooled when Pittsburgh ran a pass off the reverse early in the fourth quarter. However, budding superstar Mike Wallace made a nifty adjustment on the ball and outjumped Leon Hall for the touchdown that proved to be the winning margin.
+ The Steelers offensive line was in a state of disarray BEFORE this game. Now, it’s just wrecked. For a few series in the first half, Jonathan Scott was playing left guard for the first time in his NFL career. All five starters now have missed time with injuries through eight games. The Steelers do have Ramon Foster and Tony Hills in reserve (both were inactive Monday).
+ After the offensive line injuries, the biggest issue facing the Steelers is the fact that Jeff Reed, once the best clutch kicker in the game, is now just a guy. + However, Reed bailed out Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger when they wasted 18 seconds by not calling one of their two timeouts after a completion to Mike Wallace late in the second quarter. Instead of stopping the clock at 0:39, the Steelers didn’t manage a spike unto 0:21. That’s a ridiculous mistake for two guys who should know better. Reed’s 53-yard field goal saved their butts, though.
+ Rashard Mendenhall is a beast, but he is taking a pounding this year, still on pace for a 350-carry season. + Would it be blasphemy to point out that #43 for the Steelers hasn’t made a splash play in four weeks?
Paralysis by analysis:
+ The ABC crew was slow in recognizing Hines Ward might have been down by contact short of the goal line on a play he was awarded a touchdown. Luckily for the Steelers (and our fantasy football team), Marvin Lewis was equally slow in recognizing it.
+ Referee Ron Winter’s crew leads all NFL officiating units with an average of 14 flags per game. They must have gotten a memo about the flagathon Sunday (when eight teams were called for double-digit penalties) and didn’t call a penalty Monday night until midway through the second quarter when, hilariously, they called a holding on the Bengals on one of the few plays when James Harrison was not held.
+ But once they got going, Winter’s crew was in midseason form, handing the Bengals their third touchdown with a garbage roughing call on Casey Hampton, who was thrown into the quarterback, and a phantom interference call against Ike Taylor, called by a referee who was 30 yards from the play.
And now a word from our sponsors :
+ We must have dozed off for a second and we dreamed about a commercial that featured a platinum blonde in a garish yellow dress singing off-key country music about renting overpriced furniture. Luckily, that was just a dream, right? Right?
@Sportspickle: It’s obvious the Steelers are big Conan fans because they’re trying to end this one early.
@MoEgger1530: Guy behind me brought a six year old. To a Monday Night game. Against the Steelers. That's either awful parenting or awesome parenting.
@15MinutesBlog: Bengals: Please put us out of our misery. Steelers: No, no, no, we wouldn’t hear of it, please come back on us, we insist...
We were right:
+ We told you the Bengal would suddenly rediscover their running game and Ced Benson was pounding it pretty well early. Luckily for Pittsburgh, Carson Palmer was terrible in the first half. By the time Palmer got going, the Steelers were so far ahead that Benson was forgotten in the second half.
We were wrong:
+ We tweeted at 27-14 that the Steelers were heading for a come-from-ahead loss. Obviously, it was only a near come-from-ahead loss.