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Steelers Versus Bengals Winners And Losers – Week 15


On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 30-20 and below is my list of winners and losers from the game. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.

Winners:

Antonio Brown - Brown's five catches for 66 yards didn't set the stat sheet on fire, but he scored two of the Steelers three touchdowns in the game with the second coming via a nice 67 yard punt return.

Al Woods - With starting nose tackle Steve McLendon inactive with an ankle injury, Woods made his second start of the season and did not disappoint. Woods constantly pushed the pocket up the middle throughout the game and while he didn't register a sack, he did record four total tackles, one quarterback hit and one batted down pass.

Troy Polamalu - Polamalu stripped Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham of the football early in the third quarter on his way to recording five total tackles and a defensed pass. He also cut off Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green on a deep pass on fourth down with 2:43 left in the game.

Kelvin Beachum - Beachum did not completely keep defensive end Michael Johnson off the stat sheet, but he didn't allow a sack or much in the way off pressure. Two of Johnson's eight total tackles came on the final two plays of the game.

Losers:

Ryan Clark - Clark missed a few key tackle attempts in the game and while it was an unfair mismatch, he gave up a touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Eifert.

Will Allen - Allen had a very uneven game and blew a coverage on the touchdown pass to Marvin Jones in the fourth quarter. Outside of his one tackle of punter Kevin Huber following the botched snap of a punt, Allen's other four tackles were pretty meaningless and down the field.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • CrazyTerry

    Winners: Special Teams, Antonio Brown, Big Ben, Bell, OL, Troy(bouncing back after last week).
    Losers: HEINZ FIELD Season ticket holders. 20000 no shows. If this was an expression of disgust with a team after a string of multiple failed seasons ala the 2000 Pirates, I would understand. But the team was mathematically in it. And this trend has been spiraling downward ALL season. What makes it worse is our fan base is one of the most arrogant fan bases about how die hard we are. This makes the entire fan base look bad because the Heinz Field ticket holders have become jaded and lazy. If you can’t make it to the game for something other than a last day emergency, figure out how to resell your ticket for a discount or just give your ticket away to a charity or local school kids. This is unacceptable. The Rooneys should also take some of the blame for not being more aggressive in their outreach to newer and younger fans ala the Pens. Does the existing ticket exchange allow fans to conveniently donate their tickets to military families or poor kids wanting to watch a game? Or is it a face value only exchange? Fans need to learn to use stubhub or craigslist to unload tickets for whatever price they can just to fill seats. I wish I lived in Pittsburgh because it looks like some fans finally got a freaking clue on pricing their tickets realistically, but they did it too late in the process.

  • 2443scott

    i will give the play calling a looseing grade ….but only where once they had a lead they stoped trying to do much they are not that good at alot of stuff to just play the clock game they should used this game to try new things in running or screen areas to improve on but all i saw was lets run into pile see what we get or even try to use some the so called we will do run zone blocking ….they had a chance to build on the line but it was wasted away like so many times …i wont even grade the def backs because some there play was what you saw all year not knowing who covers who or they were 10 to 12 yards off recievers and left the offense walk down field …like i said some play calling was graded all year so i wont grade them again

  • dgh57

    Winners List: Big Ben for his 80% completion his 9th of his career and only the INT as his only bad throw.

    Losers List: Larmar Woodley simply for getting hurt yet again!

  • Elijah Stevenson

    My winners list: Ben, Antonio Brown, Jonathan Dwyer, Lawrence Timmons, Jason worilds, Cameron Hayward
    And troy polamalu.
    Losers list: special teams, Todd Haley (for not letting Ben throw the ball when CIN was coming back and Lamarr Woodley for getting hurt ounce again.

  • Jones

    Special teams? Because nothing says loser like a touchdown & putting your offense on the one yard line, right?

  • NW86

    Calling someone a loser for getting injured is pretty harsh. Was Troy Polamalu a loser the past few years? What about Aaron Smith in his last few years?

  • joed32

    Tough crowd.

  • CrazyTerry

    I am going to also anoint two losers on the Bengals team even though this list is for our team.
    LOSERS – Punter – in more ways than one. He should have stepped back one measly step and tried to get his last second punt off from that zone. THis way, even if he didn’t get it off, it would have been a safety instead of a TD. Then one of his punts gets returned to a TD and he gets his jaw brokern. OUCH.
    Cinci Defense on the 2nd TD where Ben had plenty of time to find AB: So many things to be mad at if you are a Bengals fans . Why the hell are you rushing only two? And then how do so many extra D guys in coverage somehow fail to cover AB?

  • T R

    hum why are u talking bout cinci go to there page and tell them they losers.. this steelersdepot not ….

  • SumnerYoung

    Winner = Sir Ziggy Hood. I’m not gonna say he played a great game, but I think he was very good. As we know, he was benched early in the year, and by all accounts, he’s kept his chin up, he’s kept working, and he’s playing pretty good football for us since Keisel went out. He may not have the talent that a first round pick should have, but he has high character and a strong work ethic, and I think he has earned some praise.

  • DrakePirate

    Ya dont like the way they played conservatively in the 2nd half .. the game is a meaningless win, they should have used the second half with a big lead to try some new things and test out some other players … good effort in the beginning but disappointing

  • srdan

    thank you for calling out the fans. I really believe we have the best fanbase….. outside of pittsburgh. I am a season ticket holder, but I don’t live there. I will talk in general terms, which of course does not apply to 65000 people but the fans that go to the game are lazy. They sit there, don’t make any noise, and complain.

  • srdan

    We have done this for the last 15 years. Our record in a game where we had a 10 point lead is ridiculous. Hard to argue with teh conservative strategy. (see Dallas cowboys and Romo throwing in the last 3 minutes of a game)

  • srdan

    Yes and yes.

    When you pay someone like the 3 players you mentioned 7 to 9 percent of your entire salary cap, and the team does not get the fruit from that money, yes, they should be on the losers list. If your arguement is that “he can’t control it, he just got injured.” You could make the same arguement for anyone on the losers list. Clark can’t control that he is 34 and much shorter than a rookie TE.

  • DrakePirate

    think a little here !!!! … a normal season when we are in contention I completely agree with the philosophy … but we are in pre season 2014 mode … don’t waste the opportunity of a big league to make use of it … read what i said ( it is a meaninglessssssss game !!!)

    Great to win, but even better if we can gain something from it !

  • Rick M

    The biggest loser, but not for his play on the field, was Woodley. How can the Steelers (or any team) pay him $13.6 Million in 2014 and $14 Million in 2015 to sit on the bench for 1/2 the year, or more. He turns 30 and he just can’t stay away from the calf and hamstring injuries. He seems in much better shape this year, but he still can’t shake the repetitive injuries.

    Yes ,they’ll have to eat some money by releasing him. But how can you possibly pay that type of contract with his injuries, in the meantime losing Worilds?

  • srdan

    Our hand may be forced to draft another first roudn LB this year. The possiblity signing 93 is slim to none. It’s hard to count on 56, even if he is on the team. I know that early in the year SD had devised some way to show his efficiency was near the tops of the league as a pass rusher. But to be honest, watching games, that was not “felt”. We were one of the worst pass rushing teams while he was on his side. When he got injured we thrived. I would liek to see those same efficiency stats for 93.

    Stillers basically have to keep him, unless 94 can move outside, but he wasn’t very effective there.

  • Dale

    You may be reading too much into “loser.” I think all it means here is that someone’s stock went down in the game, which is very different from insulting someone by calling him a loser.

  • srdan

    I will reiterate what I said. We win a certain way. This is known as the “steeler way”. It starts with the guy with the flip phone in the box. The same uniform for the last gizillion years, and 3 coaches over that span. To expect our philosophy to change during a 3 game stretch is ridiculous.

    In these “meaningless” games, you want to teach young players the steeler way. To let them go out there and play a style of football they will not play next year is “meaningless”.

  • CW

    They can’t release Woodley before June 1st. However depending on how the restructure deals with Big Ben and Heath Miller and what sort of pay cut they can work out with Polamalu and Taylor, there’s a decent chance that the team can keep Woirlds if he’s willing to work with the team on a contract that allows them to deal with the cap issues.

  • srdan

    Yeah, it’s a realistic possibility we lose both. You do have to wonder why they have garvin out there a lot.

  • steeltown

    My oh my Mr. Woodley..what are we to do with you? We cannot continue to pay you what you are getting paid when you miss 3-6 games a year. I hope this latest injury makes the FO truly contemplate the re-signing of Worilds

  • DrakePirate

    We are 6-8 … the Steeler Way ??? Sorry try again !

  • steeltown

    Beating a divisional foe is not “meaningless” especially at home, no way do I want to get swept by ANY Team in the Division

  • ATL96STEELER

    Good point…Hood is a blue collar type that isn’t going to make many splash plays that you want from #1s, but he does his job. He will be fairly inexpensive therefore a must to resign.

  • DrakePirate

    ur missing the point … i liked the way they came out the 1st half, but the 2nd half can not be viewed in any other way but a wasted opportunity !

  • ATL96STEELER

    Worilds…idk…he will probably command a $35 to $40 mil contract on the open market and the cap situation in PIT is not pretty…projected to be well over…I’m hearing Ike will take a flat out cut to finish out a Steeler…I would like to think Troy will as well…imo Woodley this situation is not going to get any better in terms of his health. He would be best served as a 4-3 DE now because he doesn’t have the wheels to play OLB (namely coverage) in this scheme anymore, much like JH didn’t.

  • Mike Carroll

    Woodley is not a loser for getting injured again. Kevin Colbert is the loser for having restructured his deal yet again last offseason.

  • CW

    It’s Big Ben that is the issue. If he takes a team friendly contract extension and creates space, then even if the Steelers break the cap initially they can resign Woirlds and work out the details, such as potentially cutting or trading or working out a pay cut with Woodley after June 1st and likely get under the cap without too much difficulty. .

  • CW

    Garvin’s fast and a hard hitter as well as a special teams ace. He’s everything the Steelers were hoping Sylvester would be.

  • CrazyTerry

    I don’t think the blog will blow up by going slightly outside the box in a comments section.

  • CrazyTerry

    I don’t blame Colbert for signing Woodley. But like you said, restructuring his contract last year or this year (and Ike’s contract for that matter too) this year when it was obvious they should have had a wait and see attitude with his injuries for a short term fix on the cap was not prudent at all.

  • srdan

    I definetly agree. Is it realistic that he could battle for a starting spot next year? It may come to that.

    With the defenses we are running, I have a hard time figuring out if he is a ILB or OLB. And maybe he is what allowed them to trade Robinson with some confidence. The way it played out, they cut Sylvester, basically leaving jj, 93 and 56 to play OLB. You almost have to believe that htey saw something in Garvin to keep him on the active roster since September.

  • CrazyTerry

    I think the Rooneys are respectful of the fans. But I do think that there is an inertia in the front office and have taken the fanbase for granted. And we have fans locally who are growing older and have these PSLs. So while they have a right to do what they want with them, they need to also realize that PSLs are lmited and that they need to do their duty as a good Steeler fan to make sure that seat gets filled. And with a stadium design like Heinz, they need every possible person out there making noise to get some level of home field advantage.
    And this is where the Rooneys come in. if the fans are too lazy to figure out how to get rid of their tickets, the Steelers need to make the process really easy to unload tickets at their ticket exchange even at a discounted price based on demand. Filling those seats should be a priority and can energize the entire fan base.

  • CrazyTerry

    No guarantee Romo gets a first down with a run game and GB still would have had 2 min to win. Of course, Romo made it easier with an INT shorterning the field. But also give credit to GB for hell of an INT. A runner could fumble too. Hell, remember Bettis nearly blowing the INdy playoff game with the safe play.
    But more than the D, I thought the second half should have been the time to try out Wheaton at the expense of Sanders.

  • CrazyTerry

    As a backup, then I am with you. Not as a starter.

  • CrazyTerry

    At this point, we don’t know what Worldis will command. let’s hope teams get hesitatnt over the slow learning curve, injury history, and inflexibility to be dominant on both sides. And that may reduce his free agency value. There is no way I want the team to make a Woodley like mistake with Worldis if the salary gets out of hand.

  • cencalsteeler

    I would agree with putting the special teams coverage unit on the losers list. They broke a few for some nice gains including the one that was nullified for the fair catch on the kick return.

  • srdan

    I think you are missing the point. We play football a certain way. We won’t change that, this year, next year, or in 5 years. When we get ahead we go into conservative mode. Personally, I don’t like it either, but it’s hard to argue the results of our teams philosophy when we are up by more than 10 or more points in any game.

    We draft players to play a certain way. I’ll use our secondary as an example. Our corners don’t ever jam. I don’t like it, but it’s a fact. The corners we draft tackle well after the catch. You can’t change that in one season. When our front office sits around making decisions on who to draft, teh ability of corners to jam is not a priority on our draft board. To then take the corners you drafted and make them jam “to play more aggressive” puts them in unfamiliar situations.

    I am sure that there are a lot more examples, but as an average fan I don’t see them as easily as that one.

  • srdan

    True although the clock is running even if you don’t get a first down. There are no sure things as you point out with Bettis, that seemed like a nightmare at the time. But even the coach called Romo out on that play, a run was called.

    I agree on Wheaton. And Shark, he didin’t get one snap last night.

  • Brandon James

    If I had to guess it was because of the wind, and punters were not punting up through the air at all. All longer kicks but line drives.

  • cencalsteeler

    My winners list includes the team coming out and playing with some passion. Last nights team played at the same level of intensity that you would see from playoff caliber teams such as the Seahawks or the Niners (just examples). That level of intensity was awesome and something I felt was missing for the better part of the season. I would also like to mention my boy, Cody Wallace for playing a pretty good game, too.
    Losers list would have to be Clark and the special teams coverage units.

  • srdan

    At the time, that seemed like a great option. Money was reeeeeally tight, and there was a reason 93 was never engaged in an extension negotiation.

    What is worrisome is that Woodley is near that age when we let OLBs walk with or without injuries.

    I think if 56 does hit the FA market, he will get a lot of interest. When he was good, he was really good. And he doesn’t have a lot of mileage.

  • srdan

    Agreed. I wonder how much of his play lately is due to Hayward beasting out there. Kiesel was at his best when Aaron was dominating. I think Ziggy is an adequate starter.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I understand, but the cap pretty much dictates that you’re not going to have studs at every position. I certainly would draft Hood’s position fairly high next year, but I think he will still see significant minutes.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Exactly, no we don’t but being realistic…Worilds has 8 sacks I think and that ranks up there with the top FAs OLBs coming on the market…there are several teams playing the 3-4 now…I don’t see him getting less than $30.

  • Nathan Shrift

    Thoughts on Cody Wallace, Dave? He does not seem all that bad and the pass protection was excellent against the Bengals.

  • John Hinton

    Clark has consistently been a liability for most of this season. I would like to see LeBeau give another player like Golden or Shark a shot at starting in the last 2 games.

  • Rick M

    I get how much resentment we feel towards Sanders for his drops and his likely FA departure, but he was a Winner last night, especially for his gutsy first down with just over 4 minutes left. If he was anyone other than Emanuel Sanders, he’s be on the W list.

  • Rick M

    Agree completely about the “passion” comment. One of my thoughts after the game was where was that in our first four games, especially against Tennessee. Maybe it was the ‘no huddle’, I don’t know but they sleepwalked there way through the early part of the season and unfortunately it cost them big time.

  • dgh57

    Just talking about this game. If he plays next week and goes out injured again then he should go on the losers list because he’s rubbing fans the wrong way and he needs to produce up to the salary he’s being paid(which is overpaid in my book). Because of the hit to the salary cap/deadmoney hit it would take to cut him we may be forced to keep him around therefore not resigning Worilds or pursuing other options to get better at his position.

  • Josh Knepshield

    I dont think talent is the problem with Hood, technique and scheme diversity are his problems.

  • dgh57

    To me the highest priority is drafting a stud CB and then a S because of our aging secondary.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Coach Haley should be a winner. I have been saying forever that Ben needed to listen to his game plan. Run a little, get rid of the ball quickly, take a few shots down the field on occasion. This saves the patchwork O line from being under pressure on nearly every snap when Ben is running around extending plays, and also prevents Ben from getting killed.

    Finally, Ben has listened for a few games and the results are evident. There have been much, much less turnovers and sacks. The Offense is not yet the type that will threaten 40 points a game, but is certainly doing much better than early on in the season. Hell, Haley even called a long pass near the end that would have put the game way out of reach. I know Ben under threw it for an INT, but I love the call as they need to have this “Step on their throats” mentality. Especially in the new pass happy NFL with refs letting all kinds of things go near the end of games to keep them close. Yes there is so much money in the NFL that I am certain they are making a concerted effort to keep games close.

    Anyway, Ben has remained upright recently thanks to Haley’s plan. He has even given him the reins to go no-huddle if he stays within the framework of the plan. Kudos to Ben for listening. Forget about “Ben being Ben”! This new Ben is much better for the future of the Steelers.

    Thanks Haley. This promises to get much better in the future, provided the O line gets a little luck by avoiding serious injury.

  • srdan

    93 may be one of the top defensive free agent this year. It’s between him, Orakpo and Melton. There are others but they are older.

    There are players that I feel will take the highest check (MW) and there are players that want to have a storied career and recognize the need for stability to do so. I am not sure where Worldis falls. I dont get the MW feel from him, but I dont get an Ike taylor feel either. I do think the lack of negotiation prior to this year has him feeling somewhat insulted aroudn the lockeroom. It wasn’t warranted before this year. He is going to test teh waters for sure. I don’t blame NFL players for watning top money.

  • Don

    Ryan Clark and special teams coverage/suisham’s kickoffs were awful. Those are the only losers this week in my vote..
    Guys like Cody Wallace, Cortez Allen, and Garvin coming in and getting the job done (maybe not exceptional play but solid) is what I like seeing..

  • Elijah Stevenson

    i meant special teams on kickoffs defensively giving the Bengals good field position

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    I am willing to give the kickoffs a pass because of the wind, but the coverage units were awful.

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    I disagree, I have seen less backlash against Sanders by the SD writers than just about anywhere else.

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    Yeah, I hate to see/say it, but Clark’s time as a viable starter is done.

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    I think Hood is key to look at from a backup/depth model. He isn’t a full time starter in our defense IMO, but he has been a solid depth player and should come relatively cheap.

  • JohnnyV1

    Winners for me. I liked the play of Cameron Heyward and Al Woods on the defensive line. Timmons also played well. Heath Miller, Ben and Bell. And a pretty nice kick by Suisham on a very windy, cold night.

  • Steve

    Remember the special Teams had a blocked punt and TD run back, thats 14 points. How can you have them on the looser list?

  • cencalsteeler

    It seems as though Ben fell back to his old ways in week 1-4. He was extending the play too much and honestly, that doesn’t fit into this offense Haley and co. built it for. Now that the two have come to a common ground, they’re both producing a very nice offense.

  • CrazyTerry

    Let’s not forget the initial injury happened 2 years ago because he was out of shape. In a way, he started the whole chain of injuries because of his laziness

  • MC

    With Sanders most likely gone next season I hope they roll out Wheaton a lot more going forward. Drafting a big WR I feel is a must also.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    I’m usually pretty hard on Big Ben, and he did throw a number of short, squirrely ducks. You see a lot of those outside in December, less from Ben. He was very, very good in this game.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Hoping Ziggy lights in up the next two weeks and breaks the bank…on someone else’s roster. I know these guys make millions, tens of millions, but it’s hard to just ‘give up’ you body. I’m no fan of the guys who step up in contract years. Ziggy and Worilds need to be paid like backups/marginal starters or let them walk.

  • SumnerYoung

    Talented players have good technique, and they fit most schemes. I think Ziggy has slow hands, and thus is usually engaged by the O-Lineman first, and he struggles to disengage from the block. He is usually out-leveraged, and he also has slow feet. However, he does have great strength and so he wins occasionally. But I agree with most of the commenters above, that Hood is an average starter and a good back-up. Re-sign him if he can be had for backup money. I think McClendon and Al Woods are better players than Ziggy, and like Ziggy, I believe Al Woods is also a free agent. Definite offseason decisions to be made on the D-Line.

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