9/28/19-Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

By: Mike Pelaia

The 0-3 Cincinnati Bengals travel to Pittsburgh to take on the surprisingly 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. 

The loser of this contest is most assuredly out of any type of playoff talk but the winner is still alive, believe it or not.  Crazier than that.  If the Steelers beat the Bengals this week and the Browns beat the Ravens, and then the Steelers beat the Ravens next week and the Browns lose, the Steelers will be in first place.  Not probable but definitely possible. 

Yet that journey needs to start with the classic cliché of ‘one game at a time’.  It needs to start with a re energized offense on Monday night.  Randy Fichtner needs to allow Mason Rudolph to play football.  Fichtner must allow deep balls to be thrown.  He needs to allow Rudolph to take advantage of the playmaking ability of JuJu Smith-Schuster. Rudolph has the talent to do so. And though he’s only making his second start, on the national stage, the Steelers must show confidence in him, not hinder him. 

That certainly falls on Fichtner.  Part of allowing Rudolph to gain confidence will be the use of the running game, in particular James Conner. Bluntly, Conner is off to a terrible start.  There are a combination of reasons why, including blow out losses necessitating throwing the ball, horrible play calling, bad offensive line play and Conner not playing well.  I expect that to change Monday night.  I certainly expect the talented offensive line to get it together sooner than later.  Their play has been poor. They know it, and they need to fix it.  If they can’t, their young QB, young RB and the rest of the team will falter.

Defensively, sacks have to happen. Pressure on the Andy Dalton has to happen. Getting off the field on third down has to happen.  Not giving up big drives after the offense puts the team ahead; has to happen.  Making adjustments, Keith Butler, I’m looking right at you, has to happen!

Some of these will happen. I expect more pressure on the QB. I am looking for Cam Heyward to have a big game and lead the charge.  I’m expecting TJ Watt to have a big game to the tune of two sacks and a forced fumble. 

What I’m not expecting, is adjustments by Butler. We have multiple seasons of proof indicating that he’s either incapable or unwilling to do so.  The attitude exhibited by Butler about making adjustments is ridiculous.  Should this team lose to the Bengals and fall to 0-4, Butler should be the first person to be fired on Tuesday morning.  It will in all likelihood be the defenses fault.  The unit is loaded with talent yet they are not being placed in schemes that allow them to make plays and win football games.  Some prime years are being wasted and something needs to be done about it. 

But let’s wait for that until the time comes. 

Personally, I don’t think this team will lose on Monday. They are too talented to drop to 0-4. The Bengals are bad, period.  These divisional games are often hard fought but in the end, the black and gold will prevail with a 27-17 victory.



One Comment on "9/28/19-Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers"

  1. Kiki on Sat, 28th Sep 2019 2:57 pm 

    I hope you are right!