Postgame Ramblings: Don’t Call him Maualagu…

  • Did the commentator really just call Maualuga, ‘Maualagu’? Butchered… Rey is putting together a decent game here, he got off his blocks pretty well, and actually made 5 tackles in the first quarter alone! Over-pursuing was a bit of a problem again, but this was one of his better games.
  • Pacman Jones shows some really great flashes at times. He’s still a quite inconsistent, but you can really see his talent. The big hit on Wallace yesterday, the tackle for a loss on the opening drive. To be honest, he’s playing incredibly well for a guy who hadn’t played a game of football in over a year. The Bengals may have found a starting cornerback for the future, he’s still only 28.
  • Jerome Simpson needs to keep his head in the game. Several miscommunications, 0 catches, and an unnecessary roughness penalty? Simpson needs to quit making horrible mental mistakes. He has all the physical talent in the world.
  • Speaking of penalties on Wide Recievers, AJ Green now leads the league in penalties for all wide receivers with 9 penalties called against him. I love him to death, but he needs to line up correctly and not false start.
  • A lot of fans are calling for Brandon Tate’s head after his fumble on a kickoff return, also citing his ‘dance moves’ on kickoff returns where he can’t make up his mind. Tate still has a lot of work to do, but his coverage team really lets him down sometimes, particularly CB Brandon Ghee.
  • I’ve said this before, but Cedric Benson is the king of getting tripped up by his feet. Keep your balance, man!
  • Pacman got burned on the short pass to WR Antonio Brown that went for 45 yards on the last play of the first quarter. Fault Pacman for the catch, but I’m looking at 2 linebackers on this play, who could have made the tackle 35 yards earlier. Manny Lawson and Thomas Howard let Brown blow right by them.
  • If Roethlisberger’s pass hadn’t been so poorly thrown, safety Chris Crocker wouldn’t have gotten that huge pass interference call. Still, Crocker should have looked back at the ball.
  • Tate would have had a huge return on his fumbled kickoff return. The blocking was there! Marvin Lewis said this about the fumble: “He had a lane and thought he was going to go score a touchdown. It’s an unfortunate play, he’s got to keep the ball a little higher and tighter, but we had the thing blocked perfectly. He just got so doggone excited.”. Tell me about it… could have been a touchdown. Look at that cushion!

The Bengals’ only 7 points of the day came on a very nice drive in the middle of the second quarter. Benson ran very well and the playcalling was fantastic. The endaround to AJ Green caught the Steelers completely off guard. AJ and Andy looked especially fantastic on that drive, connecting for a clutch third down and a touchdown.

Roethlisberger walked right into the sack by Domata Peko. Dummie.

After looking great in the middle of the second quarter, the Bengals offense looked miserable at the end of that quarter, and for the rest of the game really. The Steelers suddenly dialed up some pass-rushing schemes that the Bengals O-line was absolutely not ready for.

It was hugely annoying that the Steelers got away with a block in the back on their punt return TD at the end of the first half. But, the coverage team botched this play really bad anyway. Backup linebacker Vincent Rey accidentally took out two of his own players on the return.

  • Backup Right Tackle Anthony Collins performed wonderfully in Andre Smith’s absence. Smith is expected to return next week, but I wouldn’t be unhappy if Collins was forced to make the start.
  • All year, our Offensive line has been great in pass protection, but has really been slacking in the run game. Against the Steelers, it was a totally different story. Andy Dalton couldn’t find any time or space to throw the ball. He was sacked a season-high 3 times. LG Nate Livings and LT Andrew Whitworth (surprisingly) were the usual suspects in this game. On the other hand, Benson found open lanes early in the game. And Bernard Scott found some nice lanes late in the game.

    Linebackers Thomas Howard and Rey Maualuga keep making the same mistake of over-pursuing opposing runningbacks. Cutbacks and counters were killing us in this game. That could be a huge problem next week against Arian Foster, who loves to cut runs the other way.

  • On Mike Wallace’s second touchdown on the play, 4 different Bengals could have made the tackle, but didn’t. S Reggie Nelson took a bad angle, LB Brandon Johnson took a bad angle, DE Jonathan Fanene missed a tackle, and CB Adam Jones also took a bad angle. Of course, Wallace is really, really shifty. But, that’s no excuse.
  • After that touchdown, the Steelers were winning 35-7 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. Let’s be honest, both teams knew the game was over at this point. Roethlisberger would take the Steelers halfway down the field for a field goal attempt (that was missed), but he was pulled after this drive. Dalton’s day was over after this too. His hip was hurting, but he wasn’t pulled because he was too hurt to play. Bruce Gradkowski came in to make sure Dalton didn’t get injured any further.

    Overall thoughts: Believe it or not, this game was actually a lot closer than it looked. On the kickoff return that Tate fumbled, Tate should have ran it back for a touchdown. If that happens, the Bengals are losing 14-7 instead of being down 21-0 (the Steelers quickly capitalized on the turnover, scoring effortlessly on a tired defense). Additionally, the Steelers punt return touchdown could have been called back too due to an uncalled block in the back penalty. Of course, all this conjecture doesn’t matter because you simply can’t take away plays like that. Point is, the Bengals were actually in this game in the beginning. That being said, the Bengals need to fix the pass protection on offense, and the missed tackles on defense. Those two flaws kept the Bengals from making a comeback late in the game.