Tag Archives: Cincinnati Bengals

2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 10)

Week ten of the 2018 NFL season kicked off on with a matchup of two hot teams in the Carolina Panthers riding a three-game winning streak against the Pittsburgh Steelers on a four-game win streak. What was expected to be the best matchup of the weekend turned out to be a TKO.

Cam Heyward collected two of Pittsburgh’s 5 sacks of Cam Newton. He also registered two hits on the QB, two tackles for loss and 3 total tackles in the 52-21 win. Curtis Samuel saw plenty of action. He caught 4 passes for 18 yards, one rush for only one-yard and 5 kickoff returns for 107 yards with a long of 31. However, he also had a crucial fumble on a kickoff return that set up Pittsburgh for a touchdown.

New Orleans Saints wideout Michael Thomas followed up his career day in week nine by catching all 8 passes Drew Brees tossed him for 70 yards and two touchdowns in a 51-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The second touchdown catch helped Brees pass Brett Favre for the most touchdown passes in NFL History (509). The Bayou Buckeyes on the defensive side shutdown Cincy. Eli Apple intercepted Andy Dalton and took it back 29-yards to go along with 3 total tackles and 2 pass break ups. Vonn Bell made 2 tackles, while Kurt Coleman and Marshon Lattimore 1 in their return to the Buckeye State. Sam Hubbard and Adolphus Washington each tallied 2 total tackles in the loss.

Ezekiel Elliott ran wild for the Dallas Cowboys in a 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Elliott rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and caught 6 passes for 36 yards and a touchdown to help Dallas improve to 4-5 and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Rod Smith carried the ball twice for 8 yards and caught one pass for 14 yards to spell Zeke. Wide receiver Noah Brown was activated from injured reserved and played several snaps. Malcolm Jenkins racked up 7 total tackles in defeat. Punter Cam Johnston, who leads the NFL in net rating, kicked twice for a total of 88 yards, downing both inside the 20-yard line.

Seattle Seahawks tight end Nick Vannett caught one pass for an 8-yard touchdown, his 1st of the season, in a 36-31 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Malik Hooker recovered a game-clinching fumble and made 4 total tackles and broke up one pass to help the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars 29-26. Carlos Hyde rushed for 5 yards on 3 carries in his second game with the Jags.

Oakland Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley made 6 tackles in a 20-6 loss to the LA Chargers. Jonathan Hankins made 2 tackles in defeat.

Denzel Ward returned to the Cleveland Browns lineup after missing the second half of last week’s game with a hip injury. Ward collected 2 total tackles and 1 pass break up in a 28-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Terrelle Pryor was target 3 times, but didn’t catch a pass for the Buffalo Bills in a 41-10 win over the New York Jets. Darron Lee led New York with 11 total tackles in the loss.

Raekwon McMillan collected 7 total tackles and Jerome Baker only registered one for the Miami Dolphins in a 31-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

1st-year Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel went up against the team and coach he won three Super Bowl titles with, the New England Patriots and destroyed them 34-10. The Titans are 5-4 and in second place in the AFC South.

2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 7)

The current Buckeyes embarrassing performance on Saturday night against Purdue must’ve really hurt a few of the alums in the NFL, because they had some rough days of their own on Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 33 yards on 15 attempts in a 20-17 loss to Washington. The 33 rush yards are the second fewest he’s rushed for in a game in his three-year career. He also caught 2 passes for 9 yards.

Bradley Roby picked off a pass, broke up 4 more and made 2 tackles for the Denver Broncos in a 45-10 route of the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.

Nate Ebner made one tackle on special teams for the New England Patriots in a dramatic 38-31 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Malik Hooker made one tackle for the Indianapolis Colts in a 37-5 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Rookie Sam Hubbard made 2 total tackles for Cincinnati in a 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward made 4 tackles, a tackle for loss, and broke up 2 passes in a 26-23 loss in their fourth overtime game of the season to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple led the G-Men with 6 total tackles in a 23-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Apple was traded the day after the game to the New Orleans Saints for a 4th round pick.

Speaking of New Orleans, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas caught 7 passes for 69 yards and a 5-yard touchdown in a 24-23 comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens. On the defensive side, Marshon Lattimore made 3 total tackles and broke up 2 passes, Vonn Bell registered 3 total tackles, and Kurt Coleman added 2 tackles to aid the victory.

Curtis Samuel scored his first career-rushing touchdown on a 14-yard carry to start the Carolina Panthers 17 point comeback against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also caught one pass for 16 yards in the 21-17 win over the defending Super Bowl Champions. Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins collected 7 total tackles and broke up 2 passes in the loss. Cameron Johnston punted 3 times for a total of 135 yards (45.0 yard average) and pinning one inside the 20-yard line.

New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee registered 2 tackles, one pass breakup and one hit on the QB in a 37-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Friday the Cleveland Browns traded running back Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He didn’t play in Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans, but is expected to suit up next week.

On the injury front, the New Orleans Saints placed Ted Ginn Junior on injured reserve with a knee issue that’s caused him to miss the last 2 games. The New York Jets released Terrelle Pryor with a tear in his groin. He’s expected to miss the next two weeks. New York would like to resign him then.

2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 3)

Week three of the NFL season saw the arrival of a new Buckeye, while another was apart of a record-breaking day. We start in Northeast Ohio for Thursday Night Football.

Carlos Hyde had an eventful 24 hours. First he rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns on his 28th birthday to help the Cleveland Browns win 21-17 and get their first victory since December 24th, 2016. Hyde is the first Browns player to rush for a touchdown in the team’s first three games of a season since 2011. He also caught two passes for 5 yards. On Friday Morning, he welcomed a newborn son at 8 pounds and 11 ounces. I expect him to be a member of the 2036 recruiting class at THE Ohio State University.

Back to Thursday night, Browns’ rookie defensive back Denzel Ward made a key strip fumble and recovery to turn the tide in the game. He finished with 4 tackles, one for a loss. On the Jets side, Darron Lee made 7 tackles, two for losses and one QB hit. Terrelle Pryor caught one pass for 25 yards on the night.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas was apart of another record setting day in Atlanta against the Falcons in the game of the week. Thomas caught Drew Brees’ 6,301-career completion, which surpassed Hall of Famer Brett Favre for the most in NFL history. Thomas, the NFL’s current leading receiver, caught 10 passes for 129 yards in a 43-37 overtime win. The rest of the New Orleans Buckeyes of Ted Ginn Junior, Vonn Bell, Marshon Lattimore and Kurt Coleman played a key role in the victory as well. Ginn only caught 3 passes for 12 yards, but had a 6-yard touchdown catch and one carry for 20 yards. Bell made 5 tackles, while Lattimore and Coleman made 2 each to help the Saints improve to 2-1 on the season.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott looked like the “Zeke” that ran the Buckeyes to the 2014 National Championship against the Seattle Seahawks. Elliott carried the ball 16 times for 127 yards and caught 3 passes for 11 yards, but had a key fumble in Dallas’ comeback attempt that fell short 24-13. For Seattle, tight end Nick Vannett caught 4 passes for 27 yards to help the ‘Hawks get their first win of the season.

Miami Dolphins linebackers Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillian played a huge role in helping their team stay undefeated. Baker had 9 tackles, while McMillian had 4 tackles in the 28-20 win over the Oakland Raiders. 2nd-year defensive back Gareon Conley made two tackles in defeat for Oakland, while defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins made one tackle in the loss. Raiders’ kicker Mike Nugent scored 8 points on two extra points and two field goals, one for 52 yards.

Safety Malik Hooker made 6 tackles and broke up one pass for the Indianapolis Colts in a 20-16 loss to the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. His fellow safety on the other sideline, 10-year veteran Malcolm Jenkins, made 4 total tackles and broke up one pass in the win. Eagles punter Cameron Johnston punted 3 times for a total of 128 yards for an average of 42.7 yards.

Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman caught 2 passes for 7 yards, while cornerback Bradley Roby made 2 tackles in a 27-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

On Sunday night football, offensive lineman Taylor Decker started for the Detroit Lions against the New England Patriots and helped lead the way for Detroit’s first 100-yard rusher since Reggie Bush on Thanksgiving Day 2013 (70 games). Detroit beat the Patriots 26-10. Special teams ace Nate Ebner made 2 total tackles in the loss.

Pittsburgh All-Pro defensive lineman Cam Heyward made 1 tackle, 1 for loss and registered a QB hit to help the Steelers get their first win of the season, 30-27 over the Tampa Buccaneers on Monday Night Football.

Eli Apple missed the New York Giants 27-22 win over the Houston Texans with a groin injury. Cincinnati Bengals center Billy Price missed his first career game, a 31-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers, with a foot injury he suffered in week 2 on Thursday Night Football. Curtis Samuel also missed the Panthers-Bengals game with a chest injury.

2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 1)

36 former Ohio State Buckeyes started the 2018 NFL season on opening day rosters. That’s tied with the Miami Hurricanes for 4th in the League.

A popular Silver Bullet from the 2014 National Championship team retired in the offseason. Linebacker Joshua Perry hung up his cleats after suffering his sixth concussion. He now works as an analyst for Spectrum Sports in Columbus. Wide receiver Braxton Miller, formerly of the Houston Texans, is currently a free agent and hoping to catch on with another team this season.

The season started on Thursday Night with the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Atlanta Falcons as they raised their first championship banner. Two-time Super Bowl Champion and All-Pro Malcolm Jenkins made 3 tackles in the 18-12 win for the champs.

Rookie defensive back Denzel Ward had an impressive debut for the Cleveland Browns in his first career start. He got his first interception against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers and picked off Ben Roethlisberger again late in the second quarter as the Steelers were driving with under a minute remaining in the half. Ward finished with 6 tackles (2 solo).

5th year Running back Carlos Hyde made his debut with the Browns and rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He also caught one pass for 3 yards.

On the Steelers side, 2017 All-Pro defensive tackle Cam Heyward made 5 total tackles and had a sack in the sloppy 21-21 draw.

New Orleans Saints Buckeye quintuplets of Ted Ginn Junior, Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Vonn Bell and Kurt Coleman hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thomas caught 16 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. Ginn Junior also caught a touchdown to go along with 5 receptions for 68 yards and 1 rush for 5 yards in a 48-40 surprising loss. On the defensive side, Marshon Lattimore, Vonn Bell and Kurt Coleman each made 3 total tackles.

Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown in the Dallas Cowboys 8-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Zeke also caught 3 passes for 17 yards. Elliott’s backup Rod Smith rushed once for 5 yards and had a tackle on special teams in defeat.

Jerome Baker, Raekwon McMillan of the Miami Dolphins had to sit through two weather delays that caused their game against the Tennessee Titans, which kicked off a 1 PM, to end around 8:15 PM. The rookie Baker made 5 tackles (2 solo) while McMillan, who missed a majority of his rookie season in 2017 due to injury, made 6 tackles (2 solo) in the 27-20 victory.

Tight end Nick Vannett caught an eleven-yard pass for the Seattle Seahawks in their 24-27 defeat to the Denver Broncos. His position counterpart on the other side, Jeff Heuerman also caught one pass for fifteen yards. Cornerback Bradley Roby made 2 tackles in victory.

Eli Apple made 3 tackles and 2 pass defensed for the New York Giants in their 20-15 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

New England Patriots special teams ace Nate Ebner had one tackle in the defending AFC Champions 27-20 win over the Houston Texans.

The Cincinnati Bengals game against the Indianapolis Colts featured rookies Sam Hubbard and Billy Price against 2nd-year safety Malik Hooker, Johnathan Hankins and John Simon of the Colts. Hooker made 4 tackles in the 34-23 loss. Billy Price and Sam Hubbard also saw game action. Yuan Lewis missed the game for Indianapolis with as the team put him on injured reserve with a right foot injury. Chris Worley did not dress for the Bengals.

Darron Lee and Terrelle Pryor of the New York Jets faced off against the Detroit Lions in the Motor City on the first game of the Monday Night Football double header. Lee returned an interception of Matt Stafford 36 yards for a touchdown and picked off a second pass late in the 3rd quarter to go along with 6 tackles. Pryor playing on his 3rd team in 3 seasons caught 3 passes for 49 yards. It was his first game action since his 2017 season ended after only seven games after he tore 3 ligaments in his ankle.

Mike Nugent and Gareon Conley of the Oakland Raiders faced the Los Angeles Rams in the last game of week one. The 14-year kicker scored 7 points on two field goals and an extra point in the Raiders 33-13 loss. Conley made one tackle.

Joey Bosa missed the LA Chargers 38-28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with a foot Injury. Bosa has been wearing a walking boot and his status for week 2 is currently questionable.

Offensive Lineman Pat Elflein (Minnesota Vikings), Corey Linsley (Green Bay Packers), Rookie Billy Price (Cincinnati Bengals), Andrew Norwell (Carolina Panthers), Taylor Decker (Detroit Lions) and long snapper Jake McQuaide (Los Angeles Rams) all started for their teams this weekend.

Steelers Sneak Away With 5th Consecutive “W”

Bell’s 131 total yards from scrimmage help the Steelers escape with a 24-20 win over Cincinnati. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Two teams from Pittsburgh got off the bus at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday. The first half was the team that lost 4 consecutive games in weeks 6 thru 10. The second half was the team that has now won their last 5 games, especially on the defensive side.

The first half version of the Steelers beat themselves offensively and defensively with key penalties that set the Bengals up for points and kept themselves from scoring touchdowns. Pittsburgh was flagged 4 times for 74 yards in the first half alone. They finished the game with 7 for 104 yards.

Three major penalties told the story of the first half. A face mask by Stephon Tuitt on a 3rd down sack on the first Bengals offensive drive, and a pass interference in the end zone against Artie Burns on the second drive that put the ball on the Steelers one-yard line, set Cincinnati up to score 10 quick and easy points.

The third against Le’Veon Bell for a chop block that erased what would’ve been Antonio Brown’s 50th career touchdown reception and a what would’ve have been a 17-10 deficit. Instead the Steelers had to settle for a Chris Boswell 49-yard field goal.

Speaking of Boswell, he gets the game ball. If it weren’t for his Steelers franchise record tying 6 made field goals, 5 of 40+ yards, and a touchdown saving tackle on a kickoff return, Pittsburgh would have been out of this game at halftime.

Defensively, Keith Butler’s group couldn’t stop the Bengals running or passing game.

Cincinnati gained 184 total yards (116 passing, 68 rushing), they never punted and didn’t allow a sack or have a turnover. Andy Dalton was 10 of 16 passing for 116 yards. Jeremy Hill ran for 44 yards on 14 carries and had a touchdown that put them up 17-3 with 9:02 remaining in the 2nd quarter.

The Bengals did what the Steelers had done masterfully over the last month, win the time of possession battle and keep opposing offenses as spectators, while not allowing the suspect defense to be exposed. The Bengals held the ball for 17:59 of the first 30 minutes.

Offensively, Pittsburgh could only muster 3 field goals in the time they crossed into enemy territory. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley got cute, and clearly over-thought his game plan. There’s no reason Le’Veon Bell should’ve had 7 carries and 3 receptions in an entire half, as he did on Sunday. It lead to 29 rushing yards for the League’s best back and a 20-9 halftime deficit.

Coach Mike Tomlin implied to CBS sideline reporter Evan Washburn that the Steelers were beating themselves and needed to be “cleaner” in the second half. Obviously the team got the message.

Harrison and the Steelers D held the Bengals scoreless and to 38 total yards in the second half. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Defensively, they cleaned up the penalties and held the Bengals scoreless, while only allowing 38 total yards. Hill rushed 6 times for -1 yard. Dalton went 6 of 11 for 41 yards, was sacked for an 11-yard loss, and threw an interception to Lawrence Timmons.

Meanwhile, the offense patiently and methodically took the lead. Ben Roethlisberger led them to 228 total yards in the second half. Le’Veon Bell rushed for 64 yards to finish with 93 on the day to go along with 5 catches for 38 yards. In total he touched the ball 28 times, and they them won the time of possession battle 32:32 to 27:28. LaDarius Green and Eli Rodgers stepped up and took the defensive attention off Antonio Brown that Roethlisberger has been begging for all season. Rodgers finished with 5 catches for 75 and the go ahead 24-yard touchdown pass. Green also had 5 catches 72 yards, 3 of which were converted for first downs.

The second half performance followed the formula this team has used to win 5 games in a row and take the AFC North lead going into next Sunday’s major matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. If they play like the second half team next week and not the first half version, they’ll be one step closer to the AFC North title and a spot in the tournament.

Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm at Heinz Field.

EXTRA POINTS 

  • Pittsburgh is now undefeated on the season when they allow 20 or fewer points (9-0).
  • The Steelers have now won 7 of their last 8 games at Cincinnati.
  • With his second catch of the day, Antonio Brown recorded the 470th of his career, setting an NFL record for most receptions in a 4-year span passing 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrine Marvin Harrison.

Buckeyes in the NFL (Week 5, 2016)

Bosa made his long overdue debut with the Chargers and had a career day. Photo Credit: Chargers.com

The highest Buckeye selected in the 2016 draft–3rd overall–made his long awaited debut in week five and appeared to be well worth the wait. Defensive end Joey Bosa lined up for the San Diego Chargers against the rival Oakland Raiders after missing the entire preseason to a contract holdout, and the first four games of the regular season to injury. Bosa had 5 tackles (2 solo) and two sacks in the Chargers 34-31 loss to the Raiders. His fellow rookie, linebacker Joshua Perry, had 3 tackles.

Ezekiel Elliott had another explosive day for the Dallas Cowboys. The 4th overall pick in the 2016 draft rushed for his third consecutive 100+ yard game. Zeke had 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries. He also added 3 receptions for 37 yards in the ‘Boys 28-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. On the other side, kicker Mike Nugent only score 2 points for the Bengals on two extra points and he missed a 50+ yard field goal.

Elliott tied with Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith for the most consecutive 130+ rushing yard games vs. the Bengals. Photo Credit: Cowboys.com

The week got off to a good start on Tuesday for former Buckeyes with the news that 11-year linebacker A.J. Hawk signed with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday after being without a team for the first four weeks. Hawk was drafted number 5th overall in 2006 by the Green Bay Packers where he played until 2014 and won a Super Bowl ring (SB XLV). He spent the 2015 season with the Cincinnati Bengals. Hawk didn’t register any stats in the Falcons 23-16 upset victory over the previously undefeated defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.

There was supposed to be a prime Scarlet and Gray match up on the field in the trenches in Pittsburgh when the New York Jets faced off against the Steelers; center Nick Mangold versus defensive lineman Cam Heyward. But, both left the game with injury. Heyward left in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return. Mangold left in the second half with a lower leg injury. Meanwhile, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was inactive for the second straight week, while the guy who replaced him at Ohio State, Darron Lee had 4 tackles (4 solo). Lee continues to be New York’s leading tackler on the season. The Steelers won 31-13.

Terrelle Pryor seemed the be only Cleveland Brown to show up in their blowout loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Pryor had 5 catches for 48 yards and 2 rushes for 3 yards, he also had to play quarterback as the starter Cody Kessler and his backup Charlie Whitehurst were both knocked out of the game with injuries. TP was 1 of 3 passing for 5 yards as Cleveland lost 33-13. Special teams ace and U.S. Olympic Rugby player Nate Ebner had 3 tackles for the Patriots in the victory.

Running back Carlos Hyde of the San Francisco 49ers rushed for 78 yards and earned his lead leading 6th rushing touchdown on 22 carries Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals. The self-proclaimed “El Guapo” also caught 6 passes for 36 yards in the Niners 33-21 loss to the Cardinals.

Rookie Wide receiver Braxton Miller of the Houston Texans made his return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. He had one catch for 12 yards in the Texans 31-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Linebacker John Simon had 6 tackles (3 solo) for Houston in the loss.

Other OSU Alumni news of note, New York Jets rookie wide receiver Jalin Marshall was inactive for the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while rookie defensive back Eli Apple of the New York Giants missed the Sunday night matchup with the Green Bay Packers with a hamstring injury. Rookies Vonn Bell, Michael Thomas and veteran linebacker James Lauriniatis of the New Orleans Saints were on a bye this week. Their next game is next Sunday versus the Carolina Panthers in Nawlins.

Several Buckeyes hit the field in primetime on Monday Night Football. Ted Ginn Junior, Corey “Philly” Brown, Kurt Coleman, offensive lineman Andrew Norwell of the Carolina Panthers face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte.

Buckeyes in the NFL (Week 4, 2016)

Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott swap jersey’s after the Cowboys and 49ers game in Santa Clara, CA. Photo Credit: Cowboys.com

The college Buckeyes set the table well for the ones in the pros with their 58-0 B1G home opener victory over Rutgers. The NFL should just change its name to the BFL, Buckeye Football League, because each week several former Ohio State players are shining on the game’s biggest stage.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott followed up his first career 100+ yard rushing game with another outstanding performance in the ‘Boys 24-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Elliott ran for 136 yards on 23 carries and had another touchdown, his 3rd on the season. “Zeke” now leads the NFL in rushing with 412 rushing yards. So much for that slow start in weeks one and two. He also had one reception for 19 yards. His counterpart on the 49ers sideline, and the guy he replaced at Ohio State, Carlos Hyde carried the ball 15 times for 74 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

Zeke celebrates his 3rd career rushing TD, and 2nd 100+ yard rushing game of his career in the win over the 49ers. Photo Credit: Cowboys.com

On Sunday Night football in primetime, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward registered registered 3 sacks in Pittsburgh’s 43-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers came into the game with only 1 on the season. Heyward added 6 tackles (6 solo) and also batted the pass that was intercepted and returned by linebacker Jarvis Jones setting the Steelers offense up inside Chiefs 5 yard line.

It was a rough day for the former Bucks wearing Carolina Panther blue. Corey “Philly” Brown had 5 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown, Ted Ginn Junior added 2 catches for only 14 yards, 2 kickoff returns for 65 yards and 2 punts for 16 yards. Safety Kurt Coleman had 6 tackles (6 solo) and an interception returned for an 8-yard touchdown, but the Panthers gave up a historic day to the Atlanta Falcons as Matt Ryan threw for 503 yards and wide receiver Julio Jones caught 12 passes for 300 yards in the Falcons 48-33 victory.

After scoring his first career touchdown in the NFL last Monday against the Atlanta Falcons, rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas scored his second career touchdown, and added 4 catches for 44 yards for the New Orleans Saints in the their 35-34 win over the San Diego Chargers. Safety Vonn Bell had 6 tackles (6 solo), while 8-year linebacker James Laurinaitis missed the game with a quad injury. Rookie linebacker Joshua Perry collected 3 tackles (3 solo) for the Chargers in the loss.

Terrelle Pyor had another productive day for the Cleveland Browns. Pryor had 5 catches for 46 yards and a touchdown in the Browns 31-20 loss to the Washington Redskins.

Rookie linebacker Darron Lee of the New York Jets came into week three as the team’s leading tackler and added another 7 (5 solo) in the Jets 27-17 loss at the Seattle Seahawks.

Mike Nugent scored 16 points on 5 field goals and 1 extra point in the Cincinnati Bengals 22-7 win over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.

On the injury front, Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Braxton Miller missed his second game with a hamstring injury. New York Jets wide receiver and return specialist Jalin Marshall missed this week’s game versus the Seattle Seahawks with a shoulder injury and according to head coach Todd Bowles is expected to miss a couple of weeks. Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier missed Sunday night’s victory over the Kansas City Chiefs with a knee injury. In his 3-year career, Shazier has missed 13 games out of 48 to injury. Rookie Cornerback Eli Apple of the New York Giants will miss Monday night’s game against former Buckeye offensive lineman Alex Boone and the Minnesota Vikings with a hamstring injury that forced him from last week’s loss to the Washington Redskins.

Steelers-Bengals: Old Fashion AFC North Football 

Xavier Grimble catches his first career pass for a touchdown to give Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Pittsburgh against Cincinnati, in the rain, on a sloppy field. Just like the heated 2015 AFC Wild Card game. It’s the matchup everyone has been waiting eight months for since the final buzzer sounded on that quirky, bizarre ending in the Queen City back in January.

It was a ugly, just not in the way most expected. With the increased sensitivity by the NFL and officials based on the last testy meeting between these teams, the players were on their best behavior, and the only ugly was in the play.

There were a combined 17 punts on the afternoon. Steelers punter Joe Berry, who punted 8 times for an average of 47 yards, pinned the Bengals inside their own 10-yard line five times. That great field position put the Steeler defense in an advantage.

The Pittsburgh pass defense still makes me nervous with this “bend, but don’t break” method that allowed 330 yards to Kirk Cousins of the Redskins on Monday night. Even though they held A.J. Green to only 2 catches for 38 yards, coming off his explosive 12 reception 190 yard 1 touchdown day at the New York Jets last weekend, Andy Dalton still threw for 359 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers D didn’t register a sack, but the constant pressure in Dalton’s face forced him into several erratic low passes and his completion percentage (30-53, .566%) was abysmal.

But, the D also let Dalton off the hook with two dropped potential interceptions by Jarvis Jones and Ross Cockrel that would have ended drives that eventually led to Bengals points. You get those turnovers and this game likely becomes a rout. I’ll say it again, if this team has hopes of winning Lombardi number seven, you can’t give up 300+ yard passing days, even in this era of pass happy football. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson will pick this defensive philosophy apart.

There’s always three stats you can look at in the box score that will tell you which team won without even looking at the score. Turnovers, 3rd down conversions and time of possession. I can guarantee if your team won two of these three stats, they won the game.

Pittsburgh did win 2 of them. They lost the turnover battle 2 to 1, but won time of possession (32:55 to 27:05) and the 3rd down battle. Pittsburgh was 7 of 17 (42%)–FYI,they were 10 of 12 for 124 yards and a touchdown last week–while the Bengals were 4 of 16 (25%). That’s why the Steelers are now 2-0 after the 24 to 16 victory.

However, Pittsburgh’s offense looked like a shell of the high powered offense that abused the Washington Redskins for 38 points and 437 total yards in the season opener. Ben Roethlisberger started the first quarter decent going 5 of 9 for 101 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. But, he finished the game 19 of 37 for 259 yards and 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He had several balls sail on him, causing him to overthrow open receivers, which I’m sure was related to the wet weather conditions. And, Antonio Brown only caught 4 passes for 39 yards. Thankfully D’Angelo Williams stepped up with 142 all-purpose yards (94 rushing; 38 and a TD receiving).

It wasn’t pretty, but Mike Tomlin and Steelers Nation will gladly take the W. Next up, the battle of Pennsylvania at the Philadelphia Eagles and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz in the City of Brotherly Love. Kickoff is set for 4:25.

Other notes: With his fourth catch of the day, Antonio Brown moved passed Hall of Famer John Stallworth into 3rd place on the Steelers all-time receptions list.  Hines Ward (1,000) and Heath Miller (592) are ahead of Brown who now has 538.

Brown is now 3rd all-time in receptions in Steelers history. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

  • Xavier Grimble’s first career catch was the Steelers first touchdown of the day. It was a 21-yarder to cap a 5 play, 66 yard drive to take a 7-0 lead.
  • The Steelers have now won 3 consecutive games versus Cincinnati, and are 11-3 (including playoffs) since 2010. Therefore I believe it’s only right that I post my favorite Steelers picture EVER.

    Peter Diana / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Staff Photographer 10/23/2005 CINCINNATI : Pittsburgh Steelers Hines Wards levels Bengals cornerback Tory James at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati Ohio. PUBLISHED CAPTION: Peter Diana/Post-Gazette photos Original Filename: dianasteelers1023e.tif

    Peter Diana / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Staff Photographer
    10/23/2005 CINCINNATI : Pittsburgh Steelers Hines Wards levels Bengals cornerback Tory James at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati Ohio. PUBLISHED CAPTION: Peter Diana/Post-Gazette photos Original Filename: dianasteelers1023e.tif

The Cincinnati Bengals Mt. Rushmore

“The Jungle” in Cincinnati has been pretty wild for Bengals fans and their teams, and not always in a good way.

The last time we saw the Cincinnati Bengals in a meaningful game, they were self-destructing themselves into their seventh consecutive Wild Card playoff loss dating back to the 2005 playoffs. They went from being totally outplayed for three quarters, to coming back to take the lead in the 4th quarter and had the game all but sealed with a late interception, to fumbling while trying to chew the clock, followed by their erratic behavior that set up the game losing field goal. The roller coaster ride of a loss to hated AFC North division rival the Pittsburgh Steelers should come as no surprise. That’s been the theme of this franchise for the past 30 season.

In the 1980s they competed in two Super Bowls (XVI, XXIII) after two 12-4 seasons, and won 4 playoff games in the decade. That was followed by the 1990s, where they suffered 8 losing seasons, one 8-8 season (1996) and only made the playoffs once (1990). Then came the 2000s, where in the last 16 seasons, they’ve had 6 losing seasons, 3 seasons of 8-8, 7 winning seasons that led to 4 AFC North division titles, and 5 consecutive losses in the AFC Wild Card. So you can see why so many fans in “The Jungle” left Paul Brown Stadium distraught and in tears this past January.

All In all, their history isn’t so bad. The following four guys, were the bright spots in their roller coaster time in the “Queen City.”

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Paul Brown (1968-1975) is one of the few who can say he’s majorly instrumental in the history of two franchises. He retired from the Bengals with 55 wins and ushered the team to the NFL from the AFL. He won two division titles and made the playoffs 3 seasons in his 8-years as the head guy in the “Queen City.” He can be credited as having the greatest impact on creating the craze football has on the state of Ohio, due to his success in building iconic programs at the high school (Massilion High), collegiate (Ohio State) and professional levels. Even with the success of current head coach Marvin Lewis who is the team’s all-time winningest coach with 112 victories, no one person is more responsible for this team than Mr. Brown.

Anthony Munoz (1980-1992) is widely regarded as one of the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history, if not “THE” greatest. He is so revered he was rated the #12 player of all-time by NFL.com in 2010, the highest of any offensive lineman. The third overall pick by the Bengals in 1980 went on to be an 11-time Pro Bowl and 11-time 1st-Team All-Pro selection. Three times he was awarded the Offensive Lineman of the Year (1981, 1987, 1988) honor. Munoz played in two Super Bowls (XVI, XXIII) and is a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade and NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time teams. In 1998 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first-year of eligibility.

Ken Anderson (1971-1986 player; 1993-2002 QB Coach) led the Bengals to their first AFC Championship in 1981. Anderson is Cincinnati’s all-time leader in career wins (91), games played (192), passing yards (32,838), pass touchdowns (197), completions (2,654) and attempts (4,475). The 4-time Pro Bowler and 3-time All-Pro, was the NFL MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year and NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1981. Anderson was ranked 6th all-time in passing yards for a career when he retired in 1986. His 93.5 postseason quarterback rating still ranks seventh in NFL History.

Chad Johnson (2001-2010) brought the flamboyance to the “Jungle” and helped make the team relevant again, despite the team only having two winning seasons with two playoff appearances, and detractors over his celebrating style. The 6-time Pro Bowl and 4-time All-Pro selection is the Bengals all-time leader in receptions (751), receiving yards (10,783), and receiving touchdowns (66). “Ochocinco” is a member of the Bengals 40th Anniversary Team.

There you have it Bengal fans. I want to hear from you now. Did I get it right? If not, what would your list look like? Maybe Boomer Esiason? Corey Dillion? Let me have it.

Steelers-Bengals Put the Wild in Wild Card Weekend

 I don’t even know how to write this, or where to began. Before the fourth quarter began I was ready to spend my time talking about how the Pittsburgh Steelers defense put up a dominating performance by holding the Cincinnati Bengals to 0 points. I was also ready to praise the Steelers running back tandem of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman for rushing for a combined 123 yards in the absence of DeAngelo Williams.

But then the fourth quarter happened, and these two teams who have butted heads in the most ugly of meetings in recent memory, put the wild in wild card.

The last two minutes alone involved an interception by Steelers backup quarterback Landry Jones that appeared to seal the Bengals first playoff win in 24 seasons, followed by a Cincinnati fumble by running back Jeremy Hill as they tried to salt the game away. Then it got real wild and ugly on the ensuing Pittsburgh drive when the Bengals were called for two 15-yard personal foul penalties, one in which concussed Antonio Brown and set up the game winning 35-yard field goal by Chris Boswell.

There were 18 combined accepted penalties for 221 combined yards in the game. The Steelers 142 penalty yards were 3 away from tying the record set by the 1981 San Francisco 49ers versus the New York Giants in the Divisional round. In a way, didn’t we get what we expected from these two heated division rivals who racked up over $140 thousand dollars in fines just about a month ago?

I’ll let other folks discuss the out of control nature in which the Bengals snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I’ll focus on the actual play on the field.

At the start of the day, if I had told you the Steelers would rush for 167 yards without Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, against the 7th ranked rush defense (92.3 ypg) in the regular season, you would’ve laughed and told me to get out of your face because I didn’t know anything about football.

Pittsburgh rushed for 167 yards on Saturday night. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The Steelers started the game looking to establish the run game. The combo of Toussaint and Todman gained 50 yards rushing in the first quarter, 73 in the first half for an average of 4.3 yards per carry. Pittsburgh ran the ball 29 times at a 5.8 yard per carry clip. It led to the 15-0 lead. To Steeler fans, it looked like old school Steeler football. Dare I say, Cowher Power football.

For three quarters the Steelers D even resembled the efforts of Cowher’s old teams, and completely dominated the Bengals. Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler’s unit only allowed the Bengals to gain 2 first downs in the first half, while holding them to 1/7 on 3rd downs for 56 total yards (2.3 ypp) in the first 30 minutes.

The much maligned pass defense only allowed 188 yards through the air, created 4 turnovers and sacked A.J. McCarron 3 times. But, they were once again exposed in the second half. 142 of those passing yards came in the last 30 minutes, and they gave up 17 first downs, 11 via the pass. Cincinnati took advantage of the secondary to take a 16-15 lead on 25-yard TD pass from McCarron to A.J.Green. It once again looked like the defense had given another playoff game away.

But of course, #7 did what he has done several times for the Steelers, and shrugged off the pain and went 5/7 for 40 yards on the 9 play 74 yard final drive, with the aide of the out-of-control Bengals penalties that set up the Steelers game winning field goal.

Shazier made 13 tackles (9 Solo) anf forced 2 fumbles vs. Cincinnati. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The player of the game without a doubt goes to Ryan Shazier. The 2nd-year linebacker out of Ohio State forced two fumbles that led to 6 points. He also collected 13 tackles (9 solo), batted 2 passes and 1 hit on the quarterback.

Overall I’d give the defense a C+. I say that because while they played awesome for 45 minutes. They also had an epic collapse that would’ve had Steeler Nation questioning Coach Mike Tomlin and the Black & Yellow had the Bengals and Marvin Lewis hadn’t turned back into… well the Bengals.

However, the Steelers are on to the Divisional Round and will play at the number 1 seeded Denver Broncos next Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:40 p.m.

Steelers celebrate first playoff win since 2010 AFC Championship Game. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

OTHER NUGGETS: Steelers are now 8-3 when scoring first in the postseason since 2004. Ben Roethlisberger is now second in NFL history with 4 postseason game-winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime. Tom Brady and Eli Manning share first place, each have 5. The Bengals are now 0-14 in their playoff history when trailing at any point.