Bengals @ Steelers—A Boswellian Victory

As I was preparing to watch today’s game I typed two things in my game notes before kickoff. The first was, the narrative for this game all week has been about what a nasty physical matchup it was going to be, and wouldn’t it be ironic if it didn’t turn out that way? The second was to note that the Bengals had been playing Renegade at practice all last week.

And strangely, although it was certainly a physical game, it wasn’t really particularly nasty. For one thing, there wasn’t a single personal foul penalty, nor did it seem many flagrant ones had been missed. And off-hand I would say that inuring themselves to Renegade didn’t help the Bengals’ offense out in the second half, because the they didn’t really generate any. But more on that in a moment. Let’s get right to the Acceptable, the Objectionable, and the Appalling…

The Acceptable

The defensive stand in the second half of the game has to be considered more than acceptable. On a day the Bengals’ defense managed to hold Pittsburgh to field goals after shortly into the second quarter, a day in which the Bengals were matching Pittsburgh score for score, it was important to shut the Bengals’ offense down. And shut it down they did. In the second half Robert Golden passed for more yards than Andy Dalton. In fact, Golden’s 44-yard pass on a punt fake was more yards than the Bengals’ offense had, period.

In addition to the obvious defensive stats of two interceptions and four sacks, Dalton was hurried 12 times and knocked down at least seven times. (My computer TV stick thingy was going nuts at the end of the game, and I couldn’t actually see what happened on the last four plays.)

And speaking of going nuts, let’s give credit where credit is due. Heinz Field was really rocking, and the crowd was totally in it. Good job, all, and a shout-out to old school-mate Ken, who was at the game with his two grown sons. I don’t know where they live, but Ken came all the way from Albuquerque, and so thanks to them and 68,000 or so of their closest friends for bringing home the victory!

Le’Veon Bell. Nothing more needs to be said.

Antonio Brown. His stat line was not as impressive as usual (although truth be told it looked pretty much like it always looks when they play the Bengals.) But he had some clutch catches when it mattered.

A shout-out to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who managed to both catch a touchdown pass and have a fun celebration without getting penalized for it. And speaking of flags, he didn’t have any other flags, either. In fact, the entire penalty line for the Steelers is 1-5. I guess this means that all of a sudden Mike Tomlin has his team under control. Amazing what a week will do… (Please read the previous two sentences in the Sarcasm Font…)

And as long as I’m on the subject, while the Bengals were more penalized than the Steelers, the total penalties for them were 5 for 54 yards. A great deal of that yardage was a juicy Pass Interference penalty on, I think, Dre Kirkpatrick, “defending” AB.

Given that the announcers talked a lot at the beginning of the game about the Chris Hubbard-Carlos Dunlap match-up, one which Hubbard lost several times, the Steelers made appropriate adjustments to help him out. Good thing, too. Ben was knocked down from time to time, but wasn’t sacked once.

Joe Haden’s first interception as a Steeler came at a great time. Old Man William Gay’s alert grab of the ball Sean Davis knocked away was pretty sweet as well. (The Bengal that came in, about five minutes later, and hit Gay should have been penalized, but oh well…)

Robert Golden’s Arm. Given that several other quarterbacks are lost for all or most of the season after today’s games, the Steelers might want to make sure he doesn’t get spirited out of Pittsburgh. His 44-yard pass, dead-on to Darrius Heyward-Bey, was the longest play of the day by either team. Something tells me that next week Heyward-Bey will be covered on punts…

And this would not be complete without a mention of the man who single-handedly scored over half the points on the day. Boswell’s five-for-five set a Heinz Field record.

And though I’m always in such a good mood after a win that I tend to sweep the problems under the rug, I will mention just a couple of Objectionable things:

Oh Vance! Just when we were starting to think we could trust you, you drop as sweet a pass as you’ll see in a month of Sundays, right there in the end zone. This would be in the Appalling category, but the other two great catches you had in the middle of the field have spared you this ignominy.

The other half of the kicking staff is concerning me a bit. Jordan Berry had a couple of punts that gave Cincinnati wayyy too good a field position. Fortunately we have the Men of Steel to mop up mistakes, but one of these days it is going to cost us.

Well, that’s going to do it for the moment. I’m sure we’ll have much more to say in the days to come.






  • We have had enough such victories in the last couple of seasons that “Boswellian” is indeed a legit thing – the term needed to be coined!


  • Yes it was Boswellian and the other Anon is right that it needed to be coined. So you did. 🙂

    It was also, to add yet another B, the return of Bearded Ben. In all ways. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I was thrilled to see stubble on him last week, more thrilled to see beard this week and then attributed much success to it all through the game. What strange people we become as fans. There I was, pointing at my tv and yelling about the beard. The beard!! Yes, with those exclamation points. But really Beardy Ben is better. Beard and all, Ben practically ran occasionally in this game. Lumbered, perhaps is a better word but he was still moving. In the last couple of games, he’s more often just winced and huddled and waited for the hit when a sack seemed imminent.

    Right now in the afterblur, I think it was all thrilling. (Minus a period of exasperation and fear in the 3rd Q as Dalton looked good and the Steelers sputtered.) Amidst a huge pile-up of favorite moments, I’m going to momentarily claim the most favorite of favorites was the Golden to HeyBey pass. I love those 2, feel guilty when I’m glad not to see them on the field all the time, and it was nice to see them claim some of the glory. Is it even possible for a human to look happier than Rob Golden after that?

    Questions–Romo and Nantz thought the hide and go seek celebration was great. That completely surprised me. It wasn’t terrible or anything but…eh, it didn’t do much for me. At best kinda cute. Is it just me? Did everyone else love that?

    Next Q Why do the announcers never mention the whole Renegade thing? Surely they know, right? I’ve never heard it mentioned on tv and then you see a game like today’s when a sack follows and it’s almost unbelievable that they say nothing. It makes me wonder if other teams have similar things that don’t get mentioned.

    I agree with you on Berry. I stomped around and said a few choice words about him. How wonderful it is to quibble.

    No injuries, no fights, a couple of hits on Ben after the whistle maybe, and after so much trepidation going into this game. I can almost bring myself to say, Poor Andy. Almost.



    • Ya gotta wonder if there’s some kind of SOP among producers and game announcers not to refer to Renegade when coming out of commercial. We all saw the crowd going nuts before the series that ended 4th and 34, and we all pretty much knew what was going on, but not a word about it. Things that make ya go Hmmmm.

      The JuJu celebration: I think it’s just you, Earthling. It seems like everybody loved it. It’s all over the place on the web and on TV today. It’s all everybody is talking about, because it was PURE FUN. The NFL has to love it because it made the National Anthem controversy go away, at least for one day. That’s a big deal for Goodell. And somebody has to create a black baseball cap for Juju with gold lettering saying, “Make Football Fun Again.” That’s what he does.

      Homer loves Momma’s Stat of the Day. “In the second half Robert Golden passed for more yards than Andy Dalton. In fact, Golden’s 44-yard pass on a punt fake was more yards than the Bengals’ offense had, period.” Wow. Robert Golden, the Man with the Golden Arm. And yet he’s been hidden on the bench all these years, while the offense languishes and can’t score touchdowns. Fire Haley. Fire Tomlin. And, of course, Fire Colbert.


      • Toronto Steeler Fan

        With respect to JuJu’s celebration, I think the reason everybody likes it is that it really has no ego in it. Many (most?) TD celebrations tend to have a “look at me, I’m so great” quality to them, which makes them difficult to like, especially if you’re a fan of the opposing team. JuJu’s celebrations (so far, anyways) are light-hearted works of art that anybody can enjoy.


        • cold_old_steelers_fan

          TSF, I think you may have hit on it. It is like the Vikes playing duck, duck goose. There is an element of whimsy without the showboating.


  • Momma, you left out the appalling….Burfict kicking Nix in the side of the head. He is a petulant child that needs to be spanked. The several time outs Daddy G has given him have obviously not taught him a lesson. 16 game suspension starting with their next game is what should happen.


    • I certainly would have put that in, but didn’t see it until this morning. Hopefully he gets a suspension for that. I agree 16 games seems appropriate. But I won’t be shocked if he is only fined. And good for Nix for not reacting.


  • Rebecca, Thanks for the shout out! What a great game to travel to from Albuquerque. Great job on the article!


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