Monday, December 08, 2014

steelers roll in cincy, move to 8-5

in the very first game of the season, the steelers demonstrated to the entire league that they would be a team capable of potent offense and powerful, if not dominant, defense, while also being capable of being nearly completely impotent and pedestrian.  i wrote about that very first game that they were like dr. jekyll and mr. hyde, and that was not only a fitting description of the first game (a tale of two halves), but also of this entire season.  they've lost to the jets, who only have one other win.  they've lost to the buccaneers, who only have one other win.  but they've steamrolled some of the better teams, like yesterday's solid win in cincinnati against the division-leading bengals.

once again, the defense wasn't all that great (a.j. green, yikes), and the offense had some moments where it looked like it just couldn't click, but then, when the fourth quarter came around, it looked like they could do no wrong.  much credit, of course, has to go super-human le'veon bell, who is really, really good.

i'm not going to look up all the numbers, but cbs showed a stat that he and walter payton are the only two players to rack up at least 200 yards from scrimmage in three consecutive games.  that's a pretty remarkable stat which speaks very clearly about his workload, his versatility, and the way he has delivered with strong performances when called upon.  and the steelers are calling on him.  early and often.  there were stretches in that game when it felt like if the play wasn't a handoff to bell, then it was a checkdown pass to bell.  everybody else could just go sit down and get some gatorade.  but of course, they didn't.  and all those runs and underneath passes opens up some other options....

like that 94-yard go route to martavis bryant, who flashed some impressive speed in getting past the cornerback and not relenting any ground all the way to the end zone.  that was a beautiful sight to behold, and i was happy to see ben lay it in perfectly in bryant's long stride.

but a go route like that only really works because the cornerback is cheating up just a bit, with his eye on le'veon bell.  bell's endurance, his ability to run routes and catch passes, and his ability to make anything happen any time he touches the ball is opening up other areas of the field for bryant and brown to get big chunks of yards.  if the o-line can continue to play like they did against the bengals, this offense can really shine.  or, they might go all mr. hyde on us and look like a team that wouldn't be able to beat a good high school team.  who will show up these last three games of the season?  who knows?  all we know is that they can't finish any worse than 8-8, and they have themselves poised to at least have a winning season this year, and maybe even get into the playoffs, which woudl be a miracle, given everything that has transpired this season.

here we go, steelers!

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