Here was Sean’s recap of his 6 keys to the game, and how those played-out Monday Night:
The Cincinnati Bengals came out of Paul Brown Stadium as the winner against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While before the game, I wrote six aspects that could be a key to the outcome of the game. So let’s take a look at all the aspects and see what the outcome was, and how it affected the game.
1. Getting to Big Ben
The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled to protect Big Ben last year, and it seems to be the case this year. Although Ben Roethlisberger was only sacked two times, he was hit by the defensive line six times. He was their only offensive weapon, and Pittsburgh struggled to keep him upright. Michael Johnson recorded three quarterback hits and six quarterback hurries.
If the Steelers want to win, they are going to have to keep Ben up. The Bengals did a nice job rattling him, which allowed the secondary to keep a hold on the wide receivers. The struggled to bring him down at times, but the hits definitely took a toll on Ben’s rhythm.
2. Andy Dalton against Dick LeBeau
Andy Dalton had a great week last week, but he struggled against LeBeau’s defense. He missed quite a few throws early that he normally makes, and it appeared he was not on the same page with his receivers on some routes. Dalton was 3 of 17 passes that went for 10+ yards. While Dalton had a strong second half, he needs to be consistent throughout the game to be considered great.
The defense gave him strong blitzing looks and went after him hard. In the beginning, Jay Gruden chose to pass aggressively, but it appears that once the run game got going, so did Dalton. He still has some steps to make, but passing on the Steelers defense is never an easy thing, especially they’re ranked 9th in the league, and were 1st against the pass last year.
3. Jonathan Dwyer’s Return
Jonathan Dwyer only ran once. This had no real effect on the game.