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Bengals Checklist On Five Keys To Victory Against Pittsburgh Steelers

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We look at last week's five keys to victory and see how the Bengals fared in each area.

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Three touchdowns. Who knew that the chasm that existed between the Bengals and Steelers was that wide? Some may say that the 42-21 score was misleading, as the game was tightly-contested for a little more than three quarters, but other facets would say different. Pittsburgh's near-550 yards of total offense is one place to start.

Last week, we looked at five of our biggest keys to the Bengals pulling out a victory against the hated Steelers. Unfortunately, it seems as if the Bengals had "F's" across the report card this week, even with the game being so close for a period of time.

Blitz Or Contain?

Importance: High

How Bengals Fared: Epic Fail

Synopsis: Whatever it was that Paul Guenther chose, it didn't work. Blitzes were attempted, but pressures on Ben Roethlisberger were minimal. For once, Big Ben didn't beat the Bengals with long runs on broken plays, but his extensive amount of time in the pocket allowed him to gash the Bengals secondary without any threat up front.

Follow Le'Veon Bell With Multiple Sets Of Eyes:

Importance: Very High

How Bengals Fared: Fail

Synopsis: It was obvious that Bell should have been the focal point for the week in film study by the Bengals' defense. With just under 250 total yards and three touchdowns, the eyes that were watching him evidently need to visit the optometrist. The front four was consistently pushed around by the Pittsburgh offensive line and the absence of Vontaze Burfict was missed, even though the damage by Bell was limited early on.

Shore Up The Missed Tackles:

Importance: Medium/High

How Bengals Fared: Fail

Synopsis: The few hands that were laid on Roethlisberger were squandered and Bell almost never went down on first contact. With the Bengals offense gashing the Steelers defense on the long ball and carrying a lead into the fourth quarter, it wasn't of the utmost importance early on. But, as the Steelers have often done, they utilized the hard-nosed running game to wear down the Bengals late. The failure in this area was uber-eveident in the 25-point fourth quarter.

Play Loose And Confident:

Importance: Medium

How Bengals Fared: Poor/Fair

Synopsis: It wasn't the biggest aspect of the afternoon, but it did make an appearance after the Andy Dalton fourth quarter fumble. After the lone turnover of the game, the Bengals collapsed to the tune of a touchdown-fest by the Steelers in the final thirteen minutes or so. On the day overall, Cincinnati went toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh and rebounded nicely after falling behind early.

"Out-Steeler" The Steelers:

Importance: Very High

How Bengals Fared: Poor

Synopsis: Being out gained by 135 yards, including 106 on the ground, that isn't being more physical than the Steelers. As was mentioned above, the Bengals had some refreshing responses early in the game, but you just felt that it was a house of cards, didn't you? With Roethlisberger never being challenged in the pocket and Bell looking like a more athletic Jerome Bettis, it set up a long afternoon for the Bengals. Furthermore, when the you-know-what hit the fan in the form of a fourth quarter fumble, the Bengals appeared to fold.