Dec 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) runs the ball against Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Wallace Gilberry (95) and linebacker Vincent Rey (57) in the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The Bengals head to the Steel City to face the second place team in the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals will be coming off the bye week, where the Steelers will be looking forward to getting Ben Roethlisberger back from injury. What will the Bengals have to do in order to win, arguably the most important match up this season? Here are our Keys to the Game.
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Key to the Game #1: Pressuring Ben
Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley have almost perfected quick releases to protect Ben in the pocket. This offensive line is banged up, missing Maurkice Pouncey and Kelvin Beachum, and a hungry defense should make for a long day in the back field, but they must be careful because Ben is not afraid to audible to Le’Veon Bell, who can be dangerous in space. One thing is for sure, he is not going to be 100% back to health just yet.
Key to the Game #2: Containing Le’Veon Bell
I would be misleading everyone if I said the Bengals can stop Bell from running at all, and with a more capable backfield this season, containing the Steelers running backs has become a key to any team playing the Steelers. The only way to take the ball out of Bell’s hands is to get a lead early and keep the momentum. Even then, you must monitor Bell as the check down from out of the backfield.
Key to the Game #3: Beat the Steelers Secondary
The Steelers defense continues to get banged up, with Will Allen, William Gay, Stephon Tuitt, and Cortez Allen are all banged up and with the exception of Cortez Allen, could play even though they are less than 100%. That means that they will not be full strength or speed for the game, and exposing those weaknesses should play to the Bengals benefit.
The Bengals will face their toughest match up yet. Facing the Steelers in Pittsburgh with the crowd and wind could play a major factor in the game planning this week. The Bengals defense must play to stop the Steelers and not allow the bending to snap, like they did against the Seahawks for the first three quarters. Ben will be determined to come back after missing the past 4 and a half games and the Steelers going 2-2 without him. They will be looking to ruin the perfect party the Bengals had going before the bye week.