October 23, 2007

Being Bad Never Felt So Good...AKA Cincinnati Preview Part I

Holy shit...wait, you mean the media is talking about Chad Johnson? Wow, that's pretty unexpected...

But seriously. This week, the Steelers get the dubious distinction of taking on the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals are fresh off a 38-31 win against the hapless New York Jets. So they might be feeling pretty good about themselves, despite the heavier than usual media circus surrounding star wideout Chad Johnson...who after maintaining an impressively low profile this past weekend said yesterday "he won't change to satisfy his critics." Whatever the hell that means.

Overview: The Bengals are currently occupying the basement of the AFC North at 2-4, but that definitely does not mean we should take them lightly. Notwithstanding the fact that this is a division game, and that alone is enough to motivate them, they still have some offensive weaponry the likes of which we are not exactly well equipped to contain. Mainly I'm talking about Carson Palmer, TJ Houshmanzadeh (not even going to look up spelling on that...he should probably change his name), and Ocho Cinco-Chad Johnson. Both Houshmanzadeh and Johnson are big, fast receivers, and given what just happened in Denver, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about this. Johnson is #2 in overall receiving yards, averages 17.4 yards per catch and has 3 TDs through 7 games and Houshmanzadeh is #7 in overall receiving yards, averages 10.7 yards per catch and has 8 TDs.

Offensively: Cincy as a team averages 371.7 yards of total offense , with 273.7 of those coming through the air, just under 100 on the ground, and scores an average of 27.3 points per game, which is good enough to place them a few spots above the Steelers in total offense.

Most recently they experimented with an emphasis on something new and different for them called the run, and had some pretty good success (Kenny Watson - 31 carries, 130 yards, 3TDs...fantasy stats like whoa). Nonetheless, I worry less about the Bungles rush attack than them moving the ball through the air so as to put up a lot of points...in case you didn't get that already...

Of course, their schedule has thus far included such less than stellar defenses as Cleveland(put up 51 points in a Loss), Seattle(put up 21 points in a Loss), Kansas City(put up 20 points in a Loss), and New York(a 38 point Win). So it's entirely possible (I'd say more than possible but I'm reluctant to, after that Denver debacle) that we could shut them down, should we play like the #1 defense in the league.

One other thing in particular I want to note: The only team to allow them less than 20 points so far was the Patriots. The Pats stifled the Cincy offensive juggernaut, allowing a meager 13 points, picking Carson Palmer twice and limiting Ocho Cinco to 55 yards receiving. So from our perspective, film from this Patriots game should serve as good reconnaissance - we'd be apt to check out what exactly the Pats did so effectively ... and game plan similarly.

Defensively: The Bengals are in some pretty dire straits. They recently converted Robert Geathers, a DE, to a Linebacker because if they didn't, they would've likely had to pluck someone from their practice squad to fill the position (as I understand it he's now back to his normal spot, providing Ahmad Brooks can go). Never a good sign...

With 187 points against thus far this season, they rank 29th out of 32 in points allowed. They are giving up an average of close to 5 yards per rushing attempt, just over 7.5 yards per pass, and have allowed 16 passing TDs (good enough for 2nd to last ranking for the stat)! So it's pretty safe to say we should be able to have our way with them so long as we can avoid the obligatory costly turnovers...ahem ahem.

Now, let me say - just because they have let up 16 TDs through the air, doesn't mean we should get away from what has worked. Steeler football should be effective against Cincy. If we run Willie 25-30 times, pass the ball efficiently, and come up with a few big pass plays, we should do very well.
More on this to come tomorrow and Thursday, but until then, this ought to give you just enough to pique an interest...If not, I'm betting this will:
Bengals Stats:


The Chief said...

Want to know how much envy Cincinnati has towards the Steelers? All they talk about is beating Pittsburgh. Nothing in the world matters to them as long as they beat Pittsburgh.

What a pathetic group they are. So long as they are only concerned with beating us, the Super Bowls will always elude them.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Cincinnati area, and Pittsburgh envy is worse than you realize. Even after they lose the douche bag fans scream "Who Dey" like they just won the damned Super bowl. They could go 2-14 as long as the 2 wins are against Pittsburgh. Its sad, really. Cleveland could fall into lake Erie (I know that is what we are wishing for) and Bungal fans could give 2 shits cause it wasn't da burgh. They live and die for this game, retards.