Aug 24, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) runs with the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter at AT
When the Bengals Run the Ball:
The Steelers still have a respectable run defense, though not as good as it was with Hampton, Harrison and Foote. The Titans gained 112 yards on the ground in week 1, but it took them 42 carries to get there (2.7 ypc). Not a great sign for a Bengals team that did not have much success on the ground in week 1 (21 for 63). However, unlike the Titans, the Bengals have a passing game that the Steelers must respect and should open holes for the run game.
The key will be more touches for Giovanni Bernard. Unlike BJGE, Bernard had success against the Bears, 4 carries for 22 yards (5.5 ypc) and that didn’t include his 14 yard run which was taken back. Look for the Bengals to use more of an unconventional running game – short passes and draws to Bernard – along with the passing game to soften the Steelers and then use BJGE to wear them down and kill the clock.
When the Bengals Throw the Ball:
The Steelers lack the personnel to cover Green, Eifert and Gresham and the Bengals know that. Expect to see a lot of 2 TE sets with Bernard in the backfield – doing so will leave Green doubled, Gresham and Eifert one-on-one with a safety or linebacker, and will allow Bernard to come out of the backfield covered by a LB. Whoever is covered by a LB will be option #1 and 1a. They can’t afford to take the safety help off Green, and if they do, Green will be the option.