Dec 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) hands the ball off to running back Le’Veon Bell (26) against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
This week we had a chance to talk with the editor of the Still Curtin, Kim Myers and talk about Sunday’s match up between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Here is what she had to say.
Still Curtain: The Steelers simply just aren’t the same team without Ben Roethlisberger. Thankfully they’re not built to completely crumble without their franchise quarterback but it’s definitely not the same team from top to bottom without No. 7 on the field instead of on the sidelines.
With Vick, the offense had to change too much for many of the players to find a comfort zone. His size, throwing style and abilities don’t really fit with how the Steelers’ offense runs under Roethlisberger and how they were able to run it with Landry Jones. With Jones under center–as exciting as his finish was against the Cardinals, he’s still an inexperienced backup quarterback, so he’s going to make mistakes. I think Roethlisberger has the kind of talent that brings up the level of the guys around him. The offensive line takes pride in protecting him, the receivers work better to get open for him and the offense just works better overall.
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SH: The Bengals are 6-0 and coming out of the bye week, the Steelers are 4-3 coming our of a loss in Kansas City. What does this Steelers team need to focus on in order to get back in the win column this week?
SC: On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers need to tackle better. There were so many missed tackles against the Chiefs; it was frustrating to watch. They’ll also need to jam up tight end Tyler Eifert so he doesn’t get to have a career day like all the other tight ends that the Steelers have faced this season so far–without forgetting about A.J. Green–so they’ve got their work cut out for them. Their best defensive plan would be to go after Andy Dalton and make him as uncomfortable as possible.
On offense, Ben needs to get the ball out quickly, and they need to convert on third downs and red zone opportunities. This game could easily turn into a shootout, so a drive that ends in a field goal instead of a touchdown could definitely end up coming back to haunt them.
SC: I think Martavis Bryant, who has 12 touchdowns in 13 career games is going to continue to make phenomenal plays week in and week out, giving the Steelers basically two No. 1 receivers. I don’t think that would actually surprise the Bengals, as I’m sure they’re looking out for him, but Bryant makes plays that can surprise even Steelers fans.
SH: Remy Retro of Stillcurtain.com said in the AFC North Power Rankings this week that if the Steelers lose this week, the hopes turn to the wildcard. Is that how most Steeler fans are thinking, this is a make or break game, or is there still hope they could take the division with splitting the series?
SC: I think Steelers fans have learned enough through the last several seasons that each week is a make or break game. When it comes to a playoff race, it’s much easier to win the division and decide your own fate than having to hope other teams will win or lose. The Steelers are in a surprisingly good position, even with all of their losses coming from AFC teams to make a run like they did the second half of last season. I think Steelers fans are more expecting that when Ben comes back the team will just plow through their schedule.
SH: Prediction time: Who wins, what’s the score, and the reason behind the result?
SC: This is a tough one. I honestly hope the Steelers don’t underestimate the Bengals but I just think that give the Steelers at Heinz Field with Ben returning the edge in a very closely contested game. Steelers 37 Bengals 34.
We would like to thank Kim Myers for her time and answering some questions. The Bengals travel to Pittsburgh for a matchup with the Steelers on Sunday at 1:00PM EST. Keep it here on Stripe Hype for updates this week and pre and post game analysis on Sunday.