2nd Half Thread: Pittsburgh Steelers (20) at Cincinnati Bengals (7)

The Steelers haven't impressed me that much in this game. They look like every other team in the NFL this year. Troy Polamalu looks really good, because he is really good. But the rest of the Steelers defense looks average, without looking at the stats. The offense looks average - Mendenhall has broken off some runs, and the passing game - aside from some dumpoffs to Mendenhall and Heath Miller - has looked subpar. Of course, as I write this Mike Wallace hauled in (questionably) a big pass on the sideline as he beat Leon Hall on a fly. I'm not sure if that would be called a fumble if the ball was caught in the middle of the field, but Hall got beat.

The Bengals looked equally mediocre, but probably below average offensively. I think the defense played a pretty solid first half - but faced with a couple of short fields, Pittsburgh took advantage, jumping out to the early 10-0 lead. When the Bengals got the ball back on the turnover by Bengals-fan-favorite Hines Ward, and Terrell Owens ran a brilliant corner-post to score a wide open touchdown in the middle of the field.

Unfortunately, the turnovers really bit the Bengals this half. Bengals turnovers (including the blocked punt, which isn't technically a turnover) led to... all of the Steelers points. 

Also unfortunately, the Bengals sucked terribly on third down. Without looking, I'm guessing they didn't convert a damned one. Following a great little return from Bernard Scott on his fourth or fifth return of the game, the Bengals choked again on third down - Gresham the culprit this time (if it's not one guy, it's another!) - and following a blocked field goal attempt (well, it was just missed, but it doesn't make much of a difference), the Steelers scored more of all of their points, reaching 20 before the half.

The Bengals need to have a mistake-free second half, and they need to start converting 3rd downs and force at least one more take away to win. But the Bengals are beating themselves into the ground this year, and they're 6 feet under tonight.

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