The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will the Steelers defense be able to contain A.J. Green on Sunday?
Through five games, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has 32 receptions for 504 yards and three touchdowns. He pretty much has been Cincinnati’s offense to date, especially with them missing two of their top four wide receivers, currently.
Historically, he has done well against the Steelers. As a rookie, he only caught one pass in his first game against them, but it was a touchdown for 36 yards. He added six receptions for 87 yards later that year. The next season, he had just one reception for eight yards in his first game, but it was, again, for a touchdown, while he caught 10 passes for 116 yards in the next.
In 11 games, the All-Pro has caught 71 passes for 975 yards and six touchdowns, though in his last game against the Steelers, he had just two catches for 38 yards on eight targets. The year before, in two games, he caught 17 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
So how about in games at Heinz Field? He has played here seven times if you include the postseason, catching 51 passes for 605 yards, but for only three touchdowns. So while he has piled on the yardage and the receptions in the road, he has found it more difficult to get into the end zone.
Green hasn’t really faced Artie Burns before. The last time the two teams played, Burns was in just his second game and only seeing a handful of snaps in the dime. It should be an interesting matchup between the two.
But he may see even more time working against a familiar foe in Joe Haden, whom he has faced throughout his career when he played against the Browns. The former first-round pick has fared well in the matchup overall.