Done with Pitt. Now what?

MCT Campus

Get out of our house. The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. The Steelers (1-2, 0-1 in the AFC North Division) had claimed the last eight games in Cincinnati.

With the Bengals down 15-20 late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Carson Palmer led the team down the field on 16 plays for 71 yards. With 18 seconds to go in the game, Palmer completed a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andre Caldwell to grab a 21-20 lead. The men-in-stripes converted the two-point conversion and the rest is history.

The defending Super Bowl Champions have lost their second straight game. The defense has collapsed in those games, allowing last minute scores from the opposing teams. Part of their problem on defense is obviously the absence of strong safety Troy Polamalu, who was injured week one in the Steelers victory against the Tennessee Titans. Pittsburgh is surely missing his presence on the field because he is that type of impact player that can fuel others around him.

The Bengals (2-1, 1-0 in the AFC North Division) struggled offensively in the first half, however, they are starting to prove they can finish plays at the end of games. The Bengals have scored 24 points in the fourth quarter through three games so far this season, according to Against the Steelers, they scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, and in week one’s freak loss to the Denver Broncos they scored seven points.
The resilience that the Bengals have shown so far this season cannot be ignored. The orange and black have taken leads with less than one minute to go in two of the three games played. The offense is finding ways to make plays and perform in the clutch. Palmer and his offense are executing 41.4 percent on third down conversion opportunities and they are 4-5 on fourth down tries.

Cincinnati’s defense has not been flashy when it comes to creating turnovers, but they are coming up with stops when the team needs it most. Cornerback Jonathan Joseph picked off Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and ran it back for a touchdown in Sunday’s game.’
That is the only interception that the defense has recorded. They have recovered four fumbles to give them a total of five take-aways. The Bengals defense has found the opposing quarterback 10 times this season and defensive end Antwan Odom has recorded seven of those sacks.

If the Cincinnati Bengals can continue to get solid play out of their defense and clutch play from the offense, they will continue to add numbers to the win column. Injuries will always play a factor in football and if that bug avoids the Bengals, they will continue to get better. Recent years have taught Bengals fans not to get their hopes up. The orange and black are going to have to win a few more ball games before hope is restored in Cincy.
Cincinnati will meet in-state rival, Cleveland (0-3, 0-1 in the AFC North Division), in week four at 1 p.m. Oct.4 in Cleveland. The Browns cannot count on anyone to be the quarterback. They have serious problems on both sides of the football and if the Bengals play their game, they should improve to 3-1 and 2-0 in the division.