Good morning Bengals Nation. The work week is finally coming to an end which means only one thing: football. Well there's probably more going on with your weekend, but football outranks everything else. It's Steelers week. What's not to like about that? The Bengals play our favorite team to hate. Hopefully this time the results are better for the Bengals.
The Bengals lost round one against the Steelers earlier in the season. We already know what all went on and what could have happened had a few things bounced the Bengals way. However, that wasn't the case. There was one element to be satisfied with and that was the running game.
During the game the Bengals ground attack ran for 109 yards on 26 carries for a respectable 4.2 yards per carry. Cedric Benson had a bulk of the carries in the game with 15 for 57 yards. Backup running back Bernard Scott ran for 38 yards on seven carries. Altogether, their combined efforts helped keep the Bengals in the game. But it wasn't enough to overcome the earlier deficit. Cincinnati will need more of that this week if they want to come away with a win.
However, one thing that concerns me is that Benson has never had success at Heinz Field in his career. In three games in Pittsburgh Benson has rushed for 76 yards on 31 carries for a dismal 2.5 yards per carry. Benson has always performed better against the Steelers when the game is at Paul Brown Stadium. In four games against the Steelers in Cincinnati Benson has rushed for 239 yards on 63 carries for 3.8 yards per carry. Maybe this time around the Bengals will mix up the play calling more and give the play a few more times to Benson in comparison to the past.
Also Benson has two rushing touchdowns against the Steelers that both occurred at Paul Brown Stadium. His best performance against Pittsburgh came during Week 3 of the 2009 season when he ran for 76 yards on 16 carries and scored one touchdown. The Bengals won that game 23-20 thanks to Carson Palmer hooking up with Andre Caldwell with only 14 seconds left in the game. Unfortunately that game wasn't played at Heinz Field.
In the three games that Benson has played in at Pittsburgh, the Bengals have only won one of those match-ups. That was in 2009 when the Bengals beat the Steelers 18-12 and swept the season series.
Scott hasn't been much better. In two games in Pittsburgh he has rushed for 48 yards on 17 carries for a pathetic 2.8 yards per carry. And the only time he has been integrated into the running game against Pittsburgh at home was this season.
If for some reason Benson is inactive for Sunday then the Bengals will be relying on Scott and Brian Leonard to lead the running game. Both of them will need to step up their game in order to take some pressure off Andy Dalton. Even if Benson is starting, the running game will need to step up their performance because the Bengals can't rely solely on the passing game.
Alright here is what you may have missed or overlooked from Thursday.
- Check out our weekly podcast.
- Here is the latest practice and injury report for the Bengals and Steelers.
- So who is wondering if they will be able to view the game on television this Sunday?
- Recently with the way Jay Gruden has the Bengals offense performing, many outsiders are speculating if he will soon be a head coach in the NFL. Gruden can attribute part of the Bengals offensive success to third down back Brian Leonard who has been Mr. Reliable on third down situations.
- Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green have both been mentioned for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month thanks to their performances during November.
- If the Bengals want to make the playoffs this season then they will have to break a trend that has haunted them in the past.
- The NFL has released the latest Pro Bowl results. Unfortunately not a single Bengals player is at the top slot for their position.