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House of Steel
09-25-2006, 01:10 AM
Inside the game



By The Tribune-Review
Monday, September 25, 2006


Opening statements
The Steelers marched 80 yards on eight plays in 4:21 for the game-opening touchdown. Running on four of the eight plays, including the final 3 yards right up the gut, confirmed to the Bengals the Steelers' belief that they remain the superior team in the trenches, a significant dynamic of this series that has yet to be altered despite the Bengals' improvement from an also-ran into a defending-division champion.

After gaining 26 yards on 14 carries in Jacksonville, the Steelers amassed 170 rushing yards against Cincinnati, their highest figure since piling up 199 on Jan. 1, 2006 against Detroit.

The Bengals countered with an eight-play, 97-yard march that engulfed 8:19 of the second quarter - Cincinnati's third offensive series - and let the Steelers know they still think they can move as far as they have to against anyone.

The Bengals netted just 246 total yards, but found the end zone on four of nine possessions beginning with The Long March, repeatedly benefiting from a short field in the process.




Steelers
80 total plays, 365 yards, 4.6 yards per play

Bengals
57 total plays, 246 yards, 4.3 yards per play



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Fourth-and-go

Steelers coach Bill Cowher wasted no time in deciding to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the Cincinnati 1-yard line midway through the third quarter. Running back Willie Parker produced a TD on the gamble, giving the Steelers a 17-14 lead. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was even more decisive on fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 30 early in the fourth quarter. A hurry-up QB sneak by Carson Palmer moved the sticks.

Fourth down conversions
Steelers 3 for 3
Bengals 1 for 1



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Compensating for Troy

Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu played one-handed while trying to compensate for a shoulder injury. He was deployed mostly as a center fielder and rarely sought out contact. Polamalu somehow finished with four tackles. A more representative example of his limited ability to contribute was the dive at Rudi Johnson's feet and wave of the left arm during an 8-yard gain by the Bengals running back in the third quarter. Ryan Clark picked up the slack at the free safety spot, recording his best game with the Steelers. Clark delivered a Polamalu-esque kill shot on wide receiver Chris Henry, which resulted in a tip-pick for cornerback Ike Taylor, who ran 34 yards to the Bengals' 7, setting up a third-quarter Steelers TD.

Ryan Clark's day:
Three tackles, four assists, one pass defended



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Getting defensive

With Polamalu hurting, linebacker Clark Haggans helped pick up the big-play slack, registering his first two sacks of the year for his first multi-sack game since Nov. 28, 2004 vs. Washington (it was the fourth such effort of Haggans' career). Also helping out was cornerback Deshea Townsend, who had a sack-forced fumble and an interception. The Steelers dropped Palmer six times overall, eclipsing the career-high five Palmer had endured in his second pro start on Sept. 19, 2004 against Miami.



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Steelers' report card
Quarterback - C
Running back - B
Wide receiver - D
Tight end - C
Offensive line - B
Defensive line - A
Linebacker - B
Defensive back - C
Special teams - F

- By Mike Prisuta

AZ_Steeler
09-25-2006, 01:25 PM
I don't think I agree with the RB and O-Line getting B's... maybe it has something to do with haynes fumbling the ball :dunno: You can't really deny the fact that the running game was simply awesome yesterday adn was the one bright spot for the Steelers!