Steel City Sports Pre-Game
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Posted Oct 11, 2002


Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

The Steelers travel away from home for a very important and pivotal divisional matchup. I don't know about anyone else but I feel the Bengals pose a very real and eerie threat to the Steelers. Yet, as bad as the Steelers have been, the Bengals have been infinitely worse.


Only a team with as much "hypothetical" talent as the Steelers could start 1 - 4 and still be thought of as a contender to win their division. Even St. Louis doesn't get that type of respect. Now granted, the AFC North is weaker than George Bush's foreign policy, but I digress.

For those of you that don't remember, the Bengals have been that ugly thorn in the paw of the Steelers for a while now. No matter how successful of a season the Steelers were having, the Bengals found a way to upset them. If the Steelers aren't careful, it could happen again this week.

I would hesitate to think that the Steelers could blow this probable win, but they've never failed to play their worst game against Cincy. In fact, the list of dumb, pathetic plays is endless, including the most infamous:

Neil O'Donnell fakes spiking the ball and throws to Darnay Scott to defeat the Steelers in 1998. The Steelers would never recover that season and missed the playoffs for the first time in 6 years.

It was in that moment that I felt embarrassed to be a Steeler fan for the first time in my life. Let's hope this week doesn't make the second.

Defense: The Steelers were throttled by 2 big plays last week. Unfortunately, they have been unable to counter big plays with their own this year. This defense is perplexing because I think their weaknesses, although exposed, are not detrimental to this unit's success. We always knew the secondary was a weakness, but it's not any worse than over half of the other secondaries in the league.

The Bengals have been worse.

Advantage: The Steelers have the better defense, with or without big plays.

Offense: The offense showed cohesiveness and even sustained drives last week in the Bayou. The running game started to come around and the ball was passed around to little-used Terance Mathis. This means that the offense will only get better, right? I didn't hear you! The offense will only get better, right? Why don't you answer?

As bad as the Steelers have been, the Bengals have been worse.

Advantage: Like a broken record, the Steelers.

Quarterbacks: This is like picking between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The Bengals have started each of their three pathetic quarterbacks already this season and the Steelers are almost there also. However, Maddox is much more effective in this system than any of the Bengals quarterbacks. Jon Kitna, Gus Frerotte, and Akili Smith are like Cinderella's stepsisters: Ugly, Uglier, and Ugliest.

Advantage: Steelers by default.

Outlook: Dick LeBeau said that if the Bengals win he'd jump in the river. Well, if the Bengals win, I'd jump in a flaming pile of...well you get the picture. Pittsburgh by 10.

 

--SteelApple

 

 



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