Steelers tight end David Paulson makes a leap before fumbling the ball trying to avoid two Bengals Monday night.
By Gerry Dulac Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
goes to:CB Ike Taylor
The Steelers had to win one of the biggest matchups to have a chance against the Bengals, and they did: Taylor held Bengals WR A.J. Green to just six catches for 41 yards, even though he was targeted 14 times by quarterback Andy Dalton. Green was coming off a performance in which he caught nine passes for 162 yards and two TDs against the Bears' Pro Bowl cornerback, Charles Tillman. But Taylor, as he always seems to do, kept Green in check, not allowing a catch longer than 10 yards and also being credited with a pass defensed.
A quick look at the top performances from Monday's game:
1. TRIPPED UP: With the score tied, 10-10, early in the third quarter, Antonio Brown took a crossing pass from Roethlisberger and turned it into a 33-yard gain to the Bengals 30. But the play was negated when RT Marcus Gilbert was penalized for tripping DT Geno Atkins. One play later, Roethlisberger was sacked, the Steelers punted, and the Bengals went on an eight-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. "It was a terrible call," Gilbert said. "I can't believe they would call that."
2. GOOFED UP: On the ensuing drive after Gilbert's penalty, rookie RB Giovani Bernard was uncovered in the middle of the field and turned a short dump pass into a 27-yard TD for a 17-10 lead. "Big plays," said ILB Lawrence Timmons. "That's what killed us."
3. COSTLY TURNOVER: On his first catch of the season, tight end David Paulson went 34 yards before being stripped by CB Adam Jones, who recovered the fumble at the Bengals 13. Five plays later, the Bengals converted the turnover into a touchdown.
4. WHO GOT 'EM? On first down from the 26, rookie tight end Tyler Eifert went uncovered down the numbers and had a 61-yard catch and run to the Steelers 11 to set up the Bengals first touchdown.
5. BIG RETURN: Antonio Brown's returned the first punt of the game 40 yards to the Bengals 34, but the offense failed to gain a first down and the Steelers had to settle for Shaun Suisham's 44-yard field goal.
"We got to make plays when it counts, especially in the red zone. We got to get back to work and get things turned around. It's definitely frustrating, it's definitely not what we're used to, it's definitely not Steelers football."-- WR Antonio Brown, on the offense, which has managed just 19 points in two games, third worst in the AFC.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
For all the offseason discussion and work about implementing an outside zone blocking scheme, the Steelers did not run an outside zone play against the Bengals. A week earlier, they used it just once against Tennessee. The result: The Steelers have rushed for 74 yards on 29 carries in two games, an average of 2.55 yards per attempt. "I don't even know what the problem is," said RB Isaac Redman. "It's just not clicking for us. We got the players, we got the talent. Something's got to give. We got to get this turned around."
X's AND O's
Ben Roethlisberger completed all five passes on the 65-yard scoring drive that produced the only touchdown, but three of the completions were for only a yard, including the scoring pass to receiver Derek Moye. However, the touchdown was set up on back-to-back catches by Emmauel Sanders of 19 and 43 yards, the latter coming on a quick slant in which he beat CB Adam Jones and was tackled at the 1 by CB Dre' Kirkpatrick. "We wanted to come out and mix it up," said receiver Antonio Brown, who had a team-high six catches. "But in some key situations, we didn't make plays when we needed them."
vs. CHICAGO BEARS (2-0), 8:30 P.M. SUNDAY: The Steelers (0-2) face the Chicago Bears (2-0) at Heinz Field. The Bears have lost five of their past six road games against the Steelers and haven't played at Heinz Field since 2005.