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 Post subject: Bengals, Steelers prepare for pivotal game in AFC North
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:48 pm 
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https://scores.nbcsports.com/fb/preview.asp?g=20181014004


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Bengals, Steelers prepare for pivotal game in AFC North

The Pittsburgh Steelers are usually the team that sits atop the AFC North while others try to chase them down, but through five games this season, the Cincinnati Bengals are the team that's sitting pretty in first place.

When the Bengals (4-1) play host to the Steelers (2-2-1) on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, they could take early command of the division. But if the Steelers win, they'll be just a half game out of first place and right back in the thick of the race.

"I think both teams realize this division is a lot tighter than it has been in years," Steelers guard Ramon Foster said. "The teams that execute and don't hurt themselves will be the No. 1 seed."

The Bengals are winning in different ways -- capitalizing on turnovers, piling up offense, pulling off late dramatics and grinding.

"Last week, it was the offense," Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said. "This week, it was the defense."

The Bengals roared back from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter last Sunday for a 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

The rally began with running back Joe Mixon's 18-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Then the defense stepped up in a big way.

First it was defensive end Michael Johnson, who alertly got his hands on a ball that went off a helmet and raced into the end zone for a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Then came a 19-yard fumble return for a score by rookie defensive end Sam Hubbard off a Carlos Dunlap strip-sack to ice it with 2:37 remaining.

"It's really a credit to Carlos Dunlap," Hubbard said. "He was chasing the quarterback down and hit the ball right into my lap. All I had to do was run straight."

The Bengals produced multiple defensive touchdowns for the first time since Oct. 27, 2013, when Adam Jones and Chris Crocker did it in a rout of the New York Jets.

Meanwhile, the offense is producing. The Bengals are fourth in the NFL in scoring (30.6 points per game) and A.J. Green has 26 receptions for 409 yards and five touchdowns.

A Cincinnati win could change the narrative of who is in charge in the AFC North.

"Nobody gave us a chance when the season started," Green said. "Why do they believe in us now? We're going to continue to keep playing and keep playing for each other."

Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick took it a step further.

"We're the team to beat right now. Not them," Kirkpatrick said.

But the Bengals also must face the fact that they're 1-7 at home against the Steelers in the Dalton-Green era, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a 14-2 record in Cincinnati, and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is 5-18 against Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

The Steelers offense established the run early last week in a win over the Atlanta Falcons despite the continued absence of unsigned running back Le'Veon Bell. They will look to do the same against a Bengals defense that has struggled to stop the run.

The Dolphins averaged 5.8 yards per carry last week and the Bengals rank 23rd in the league against the run.

The Steelers' ability to get second-year back James Conner going against the Falcons paid big dividends in the passing game in the second half. Roethlisberger threw two of his three touchdown passes after halftime, including a 47-yard strike to Antonio Brown.

"I think we just got to see what we're capable of doing," Roethlisberger said. "I think guys did their job. We talk about trying not to do too much, doing more than your job. I tell the guys before the game: If we, collectively, if we all do our jobs, we're pretty darn good."Bengals, Steelers prepare for pivotal game in AFC North


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"We're the team to beat right now. Not them," Kirkpatrick said.

Don't you think it would be better to make this statement after the game? All you did was apply extra pressure on your own team.


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 Post subject: Re: Bengals, Steelers prepare for pivotal game in AFC North
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:51 pm 
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Also that stat about Green having 5 TD's is deceptive he had 3 catches for about 40 yards and 3 TD's vs Baltimore in that Thursday Night game.


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 Post subject: Re: Bengals, Steelers prepare for pivotal game in AFC North
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:58 pm 
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Keep the pedal to the metal.

Steelers: Something different about the 2018 Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Rutter | Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, 8:09 p.m.

Maybe it’s the three come-from-behind victories in five games. Or the way they’ve piled up points despite some rather pedestrian individual performances.
Perhaps it’s the sudden ascension to the top of the AFC North.
Something is different about these Cincinnati Bengals, and Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert can’t quite put his finger on it.
“They have a little something about them,” Gilbert said. “They are not the same team as far as how they’ve been able to start off and how dominating they have been.”
It’s true, the Bengals are not the same team the Steelers played in recent seasons. The group the Steelers will encounter on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium is in first place and thriving as one of the NFL’s best teams.
For the first time since 2015, the Steelers — and not the Bengals — are doing the chasing in the AFC North hierarchy. At 2-2-1, the Steelers are one-and-a-half games behind the 4-1 Bengals and face a game they probably need to win if they hope to claim the division title for a third consecutive season.
“They are a hot football team,” coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “They have found ways to win close games, and that is what good teams do, and you have to respect that.”
The Bengals have lost six in a row in the series, counting a 2015 postseason defeat, with four coming at Paul Brown Stadium. They are coming off 6-9-1 and 7-9 seasons since they fell apart in the waning moments of that 18-16 wild-card playoff loss to the Steelers.
The pendulum has started to swing the other way in coach Marvin Lewis’ 16th season. It started in the opener on the road when the Bengals came back from a 23-10 deficit in the second half to defeat the Indianapolis Colts, 34-23. Cincinnati then jumped on divisional rival Baltimore for a pair of early 21-point leads before holding on to win another 34-23 decision.
After a loss to Carolina, the Bengals used as touchdown with 7 seconds left to stun Atlanta, 37-36, on the road. Then, the Bengals spotted the Miami Dolphins the first 17 points before scoring 24 in the fourth quarter for a 27-17 win Sunday.
And now the Bengals will try to defeat the Steelers for the first time since Nov. 1, 2015, when linebacker Vontaze Burfict ended Le’Veon Bell’s season with a tackle that resulted in a torn MCL for the Steelers running back.
The Steelers realize what is at stake.
“I have had more people hit me up with ‘Hey, can I get tickets for this game?’ than any other game because we understand what is going on,” guard Ramon Foster said. “Our division is tight right now. Everybody is vying for a spot as far as making it into the postseason. These games are crucial right now.”
The Bengals are averaging 30.6 points, which puts them in company with other division leaders New Orleans (36.0), Kansas City (35.0) and Los Angeles Rams (34.6) as the only offenses averaging more than 30.
They have achieved such productivity despite a passing game that ranks in the middle of the pack and a running game that is in the bottom half. Andy Dalton has 1,445 yards passing with 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Top target A.J. Green is No. 17 with 409 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Joe Mixon has 272 yards rushing despite missing two games with injury.
Green continues to draw the most interest from Tomlin, although former Clairton and Pitt player Tyler Boyd has emerged as a viable No. 2 option with 393 yards and two scores.
“They do a nice job of finding balance, taking care of the football,” Tomlin said.
On defense, the Bengals can boast getting six sacks from Geno Atkins (tied for the NFL lead) and four from Carlos Dunlap. But the Bengals also have allowed opponents to convert more third downs than all but one other team, and they have struggled to keep teams from scoring in the red zone.
Still, the Bengals have found a way to win more games this year than everyone but the Chiefs and the Rams, which has gotten the Steelers’ attention.
“A lot of things for us to get charged up about,” Tomlin said.


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 Post subject: Re: Bengals, Steelers prepare for pivotal game in AFC North
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:04 pm 
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Quote:
The Bengals are averaging 30.6 points, which puts them in company with other division leaders New Orleans (36.0), Kansas City (35.0) and Los Angeles Rams (34.6) as the only offenses averaging more than 30.

That's just fake news, man.

Actual Scoring from Offense:

1. NO = 36.0
2. KC = 32.6
3. LAR = 31.6
4. PIT = 29.0
5. LAC = 27.4
6. CIN = 27.0
7. ATL = 26.6
7. NEP = 26.6
9. TB = 26.5
10.BAL = 26.4
11.CHI = 24.8

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 Post subject: Re: Bengals, Steelers prepare for pivotal game in AFC North
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:17 am 
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Huge game for us.

I’d like to see Rosie Nix a lot. They need to run the football.


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 Post subject: Re: Bengals, Steelers prepare for pivotal game in AFC North
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:05 pm 
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I think they can, should, and will run the football... and I love Rosie Nix. But.

The use of Rosie Nix is all about which run game matchup you prefer:

1. Your big guys vs their big guys.

2. Your 2 WR 2 TE set vs their base.

3. Your 3 WRs blocking their nickel.

So far, Conner has been better in option 1 or 2, but option 1 doesn't really lend itself to PA or passing out of those formations.

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