NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals Game Day Preview

Mason Rudolph

Welcome to the most comprehensive Pittsburgh Steelers Game Day Preview on the internet! NGSC Sports brings you your one stop shop for everything you need to know about the Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich of Pittsburgh SportsNation brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a Game Story, Steelers Keys to Victory, Score Prediction, Game Information, a detailed breakdown of each team, Individual Stats, and Team Stats. Heck, you’ll even know the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!

LAST CHANCE SALOON: IT’S WIN OR KISS THE SEASON GOODBYE FOR PITTSBURGH

As bad as the 0-3 record the Pittsburgh Steelers possess is, the good news is the problems are somewhat solvable, if the team and coaches are willing to execute said suggestions.

Last week in Mason Rudolph’s first start, the coaching staff felt it would be a good idea if they kept the play calls safe and their new QB under wraps. That resulted in a brutal display of forward throwing passing, as Rudolph managed just two throws that were completed past the line of scrimmage.

Both resulted in touchdowns.

“The first drives I could have been a little more aggressive,” Rudolph said. “I’m an aggressive person, that’s who I’ve always been at the quarterback position. It’s a little unlike me, but it’s mistakes you always look forward to cleaning up, and I think we already have this week.”

What were the coaches thinking?

Well, it seems as if offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner was content with throwing Rudolph under the bus.

“We had some opportunity. We had some throws for shots,” Fichtner said. “If you don’t connect or throw them, it never really materializes.”

Fichtner hinted that Rudolph was to throw deep passes much earlier in the game.

“We were able to go down the field early,” Fichtner said. “You’ve got to throw them. You’ve got to throw it. You’ve got to attempt to throw it there.”

Rudolph is looking forward to his second start, and improving on what we all saw vs the 49ers.

“It’s my second week going through the whole process with the guys, the O-line, getting valuable reps,” Rudolph said. “The meeting time, it’s my deal. It’s more focused around what I like to do, preparation, game planning. Randy has been great at giving me opportunities to provide input and what I like, and that’s really helpful.”

The Bengals will likely imitate what the 49ers did, and that was putting eight defenders in the box and daring Rudolph to beat the deep.

It will be time to unleash Rudolph’s arm this week, and often.

The running game has all but disappeared. James Conner hasn’t looked like the player we all saw last year, and the offensive line, which boasts three Pro Bowlers, hasn’t given Conner much room to work with.

Conner is a power runner. Handing him the ball out of the shotgun isn’t going to do him any favors.

Ask yourself, would it hurt worse if a bull charged you as it was up against you, or if it had a running start?

As much as Rudolph may dislike taking snaps under center, it would help the offense out immensely if he were to start doing so, and fast.

Taking snaps under center could lead to novel offensive ideas, like say using play action.

When is the last time we witnessed a Steelers offense utilizing a play action pass? What better way to keep opposing defenses off balance? Especially with the type of runners the team has!

Oh, and where on earth was Jaylen Samuels last week? How can the staff not find a way to get a player with Samuel’s versatility the ball more often? Zero touches isn’t going to cut it.

Defensively, the trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick payed immediate dividends, and Fitzpatrick collected an interception and forced a fumble in his debut vs the 49ers.

Overall, though, the defense has to end the disturbing trend of allowing scoring drives by the opposing team on the very next series after their own offense scores a touchdown.

Talking about letting the air out of the balloon!

“Football is our game. Our business is winning,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said at his weekly news conference. “So, we haven’t been handling business.”

Will an embarrassing 0-3 start finally wake this team up? Despite the loss of Ben Roethlisberger, this team still has plenty of talent on hand.

Historically, Prime Time games, especially Monday Night Football, tends to bring out the best in the Steelers.

“I think the competitor in all of us is a little bit excited about that,” Tomlin said of the stakes. “Also, I think the competitor in all of us is a little bit pissed off — and appropriately so.”

Kevin Gorman of the Tribune Review asked a great question to Tomlin, on how he was managing a team so accustomed to winning through a three-game losing streak.

“It’s not anything to manage,” Tomlin said. “We didn’t come into this thing with any preconceived notions about us being anointed in any way. Each season starts anew and past experiences or successes mean very little in this thing.

“I think that culturally, we spend a lot of time talking about that. From that perspective, we’re not combating that in any way directly. More than anything, we’re dealing with the fact that we’re not getting the job done and managing that frustration and channeling that frustration into productive work in a desired outcome.”

Pretty much, to decipher that, it’s time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to find their manhood and start playing up to the level expected of them.

It’s either that or good bye 2019 season.

 

Steelers Keys to Victory

  1. Take the shackles off of Rudolph: You can’t live in your fears, as Mike Tomlin says. Play to win the game.
  2. Establish the ground game: This is getting tiresome asking for this. If you can’t run vs the Bengals, certain players should retire.
  3. Make Andy Dalton beat you: Shutdown Joe Mixon, which shouldn’t be hard, and force Dalton into making plays, which usually leads to turnovers.

Prediction

Is this the week the real Steelers show up, or have we already witnessed what they actually are?

If this team can’t find it’s game on a Monday Night game at Heinz Field vs a team they always dominate, then it’s going to be a long Winter of Steelers football, and a dreadful one.

One player who can make a big difference will be Minkah Fitzpatrick, who in his Steelers debut collected an interception and a forced fumble.

“I was happy with it. I think I did overall a pretty a good job for two days, three days of practice,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m just excited about continuing to grow with the defense because it is a very good defense, very well-coached, very well-rounded. I’m so excited to keep growing up and keep getting better.”

Another week of practice should benefit Fitzpatrick even more.

“It will be good to get him some additional time and to be able to continue for him to learn the depths of what it is we do and have a better understanding,” Tomlin said. “I don’t think that’s going to do anything but aid him in terms of his productivity and us collectively as he gains some footing back there, particularly working with (strong safety Terrell) Edmunds.”

Fitzpatrick should have fun trying to make Bengal’s quarterback Andy Dalton’s life miserable.

The Bengals haven’t managed much of a running game behind Joe Mixon, gaining just 41.7 yards a contest. If ever there was a week for the defense to get it going, this would be it. The team should focus on getting to Dalton early and often, forcing the mistake prone QB into some juicy turnovers for the defense. A.J. Green is still out, but Cincy still has two pretty good options in Tyler Boyd and John Ross III. Dare the Bengals to run the ball, which they clearly can’t accomplish behind a terrible offensive line.

Expect a much better performance from Rudolph this week, and perhaps even a resurgent running attack. It’s do or die time for the Steelers, and if they take care of business, the upcoming schedule will give them every chance to get back in the thick of things despite the galling 0-3 start.

Steelers 31 Bengals 20

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Game Information

NFL Week 4

Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati Bengals

Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.

Field: Kentucky Bluegrass

Game-time: Monday, September 30th, at 8:15 pm ET

Game Tickets Link

TV: ESPN (locally WTAE-TV)

  • Announcers: Joe Tessitore (play-by-play) Booger McFarland (analyst) Lisa Salters (reporter)

Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE & WBGG 970 AM

  • Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (analyst) Craig Wolfley (sideline) Missi Matthews (sideline)

 

Internet Broadcast: Steelers Nation Radio (SNR) on Steelers.com

Weather at Kickoff: 68 and clear. Winds light and variable.

Vegas Line: Pittsburgh -4.5

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals History

Series History: Began in 1951

Steelers are 62-35 overall vs Cincinnati

  • At Home: 33-16
  • On Road: 31-19
  • Post-Season: 2-0
  • Streak: Steelers won the last eight meetings.
  • Last Regular Season Meeting: Steelers Win, 16-13 (Dec. 30, 2018)
  • Last Post-Season Meeting: Steelers Win, 18-16 (Jan. 9, 2016)

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Steelers

A look at the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Overall Record: 0-3

Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (13th Season with Steelers)

  • Overall Regular Season Record: 125-69-1 (.652)
  • Playoff Record: 8-7 (Qualified for playoffs 8 times)

2019 Pittsburgh Steelers Roster

Steelers Team Statistics Defensive Stats

Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Schedule 

Last Game: 49ers 24 Steelers 20

 

Scouting the Steelers

OFFENSE (Pro Style)

Quarterback

Mason Rudolph*

The 2nd year gunslinger out of Oklahoma State takes over for the injured Ben Roethlisberger.

  • Passing Yards: 286
  • TD Passes: 4
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Sacks: 2
  • Yards Rushing: 22
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Ben Roethlisberger

Out for the season with an elbow injury.

  • Passing Yards: 351
  • TD Passes: 0
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Sacks: 2
  • Yards Rushing: 7
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Running Backs

James Conner*

Stronger, leaner, and healthy, Conner looks to another Pro Bowl season.

  • Yards Rushing: 97
  • Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 11
  • Yards Receiving: 70
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Jaylen Samuels

Dynamic player who can play several positions. Dangerous as a pass catcher out of the backfield.

  • Yards Rushing: 22
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 4
  • Yards Receiving: 44
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Benny Snell, Jr.

Will be used to spell Conner and possibly short-yardage situations.

  • Yards Rushing: 29
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 0
  • Yards Receiving: 0
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Roosevelt Nix (Fullback)

  • Yards Rushing: 0
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 0
  • Yards Receiving: 44
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Wide Receivers

Juju Smith-Schuster*

One of the league’s best already. Smith-Schuster is set to prove he is a true No.1 receiver for the Steelers.

  • Receptions: 14
  • Receiving Yards: 243
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Dointae Johnson*

Talented rookie whose time will come to shine. Blessed with wicked moves in open space.

  • Receptions: 7
  • Receiving Yards: 94
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

James Washington

Ready to have a breakout season and establish himself as a big-time playmaker in the NFL.

  • Receptions: 6
  • Receiving Yards: 88
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Donte Moncrief

Was expected to be the #2 receiver, but has five drops in first two games.

  • Receptions: 3
  • Receiving Yards: 7
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Ryan Switzer

Often utilized in the slot. Will return punts and kicks.

  • Receptions: 7
  • Receiving Yards: 29
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tight Ends

Vance McDonald*

The Vanimal, when unleashed, is a sight to see. Could be a major part of offense if utilized correctly.

  • Receptions: 10
  • Receiving Yards: 88
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

 

Nate Vannett

  • Receptions: 4
  • Receiving Yards: 38
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

*Denotes Starter

 

OFFENSIVE LINE

Left Tackle: Alejandro Villanueva

Left Guard: Ramon Foster

Center: Maurkice Pouncey

Right Guard: David DeCastro

Right Tackle: Matt Feller

 

DEFENSE (Base 3-4)

Defensive End: Cam Heyward

Defensive Tackle: Javon Hargrave/Dan McCullers

Defensive End: Stephon Tuitt

Left OLB: T.J. Watt

Left MLB: Mark Barron/Devin Bush

Right MLB: Vince Willams

Right OLB: Bud Dupree

Cornerback: Joe Haden

Strong Safety: Terrell Edmunds

Free Safety: Minkah Fitzpatrick/Kameron Kelly

Cornerback: Steven Nelson

Nickle: Mike Hilton/Cameron Sutton

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Chris Boswell

  • Extra Points: 4-4
  • FG: 5-5
  • 0-19:  1-1 / 20-29:  1-1 / 30-39: 1-1 / 40-49:  2-2 / 50+:  0-0
  • Long: 46

 

Punter

Jordan Berry

  • Yards per Punt: 47.9

 

Kickoff Returner

Ryan Switzer

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 21.5 / Return TD’s: 0

 

Punt Returner

Dointae Johnson

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 11.0 / Return TD’s: 0

 

PITTSBURGH INJURY REPORT (9/27/19)

  • Out: FB Roosevelt Nix (Knee), LB Vince Williams (Hamstring), LB Anthony Chickillo (Foot)
  • Doubtful: TE Vance McDonald (Shoulder)
  • Questionable: Jayrone Elliott (Hamstring)
  • Probable: None

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A look at the Cincinnati Bengals!

Overall Record: 0-3

Head Coach: Zach Taylor (1st Season with Bengals)

  • Overall Regular Season Record: 0-3 / 0-3 with Bengals
  • Playoff Record: 0-0 (Qualified for playoffs 0 times)

2019 Cincinnati Bengals Roster

Cincinnati Team Statistics Defensive Stats

Last Game: Bills 21 Cincinnati 17

 

Scouting the Bengals

OFFENSE (Pro Style)

Quarterback

Andy Dalton*

Dalton is playing well despite being under constant pressure.

  • Passing Yards: 979
  • TD Passes: 5
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Sacks: 11
  • Yards Rushing: 3
  • Rushing TD’s: 1

 

Running Backs

Joe Mixon*

Mixon has yet to get the Bengals running game going.

  • Yards Rushing: 87
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 3
  • Yards Receiving: 51
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Giovani Bernard

Bernard is always dangerous catching passes out of the backfield.

  • Yards Rushing: 32
  • Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 5
  • Yards Receiving: 56
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Wide Receivers

Tyler Boyd*

With A.J. Green out, Boyd has become the Bengals #1 receiver.

  • Receptions: 24
  • Receiving Yards: 250
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

John Ross III*

Ross is making the most of moving up on the depth chart. 2nd on the team in receptions, but leads the team with three touchdown grabs.

  • Receptions: 13
  • Receiving Yards: 292
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

 

Auden Tate

  • Receptions: 7
  • Receiving Yards: 94
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Alex Erickson

  • Receptions: 6
  • Receiving Yards: 55
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tight Ends

Tyler Eifert*

Has talent but is always hurt.

  • Receptions: 9
  • Receiving Yards: 54
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

C.J. Uzomah

  • Receptions: 4
  • Receiving Yards: 66
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

*Denotes Starter

 

DEFENSE (Base 4-3)

As bad as it gets. The Bengals are giving up 406.3 yards per game and allowing opponents 27.7 points per game. Awful vs the run, giving up 168.7 a game on the ground.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Randy Bullock

  • Extra Points: 6-6
  • FG: 4-6
  • 0-19:  0-0 / 20-29:  1-1 / 30-39: 2-2 / 40-49:  1-2 / 50+:  0-1
  • Long: 43

CINCINNATI INJURY REPORT (9/27/19)

  • Out: WR A.J. Green (Ankle), DE Kerry Wynn (Concussion), DT Ryan Glasgow (Thigh), OT Cordy Glenn (Concussion)
  • Doubtful: DE Carl Lawson (Hamstring)
  • Questionable: 
  • Probable: None

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OFFENSIVE STATS

Total yards per game 

  • Pittsburgh: 276.3
  • Cincinnati: 368

Passing yards per game

  • Pittsburgh: 212.3
  • Cincinnati: 326.3

Rushing yards per game

  • Pittsburgh: 64
  • Cincinnati: 41.7

Points per game

  • Pittsburgh: 16.3
  • Cincinnati: 18

 

DEFENSIVE STATS

Total Yards per game allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 442
  • Cincinnati: 406.3

Passing Yards per game allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 302.7
  • Cincinnati: 237.7

Rushing Yards per game allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 139.3
  • Cincinnati: 168.7

Points Allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 28.3
  • Cincinnati: 27.7

Defensive Stats

Pittsburgh

  • Sacks: 6
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Fumbles: 2

Cincinnati

  • Sacks: 5
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Fumbles: 3

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Schedule 

2019 PRESEASON SCHEDULE (3-1)

Fri. Aug. 9 Tampa Bay at Heinz Field- W, 30-28
Sat. Aug. 17 Kansas City at Heinz Field- W, 17-7
Sun. Aug. 25 Tennessee at Nissan Stadium- W, 18-6
Thur. Aug. 29 Carolina at Bank of American Stadium- L, 19-25

2019 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE (0-3)

Sun. Sept. 8 New England at Gillette Stadium, L- 33-3
Sun. Sept. 15 Seattle at Heinz Field, L- 28-26
Sun. Sept. 22 San Francisco at Levi’s Stadium, L- 24-20
Mon. Sept. 30 Cincinnati at Heinz Field 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Sun. Oct. 6 Baltimore at Heinz Field 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Oct. 13 LA Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sun. Oct. 20 BYE WEEK
Mon. Oct. 28 Miami at Heinz Field 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Sun. Nov. 3 Indianapolis at Heinz Field 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Nov. 10 LA Rams at Heinz Field 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
Thur. Nov. 14 Cleveland at FirstEnergy Stadium 8:20 p.m. (FOX)
Sun. Nov. 24 Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 1 Cleveland at Heinz Field 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 8 Arizona at State Farm Stadium 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 15 Buffalo at Heinz Field 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 22 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 29 Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium 1 p.m. (CBS)

* – Times may change due to flexible scheduling

NOTE: All times are Eastern | Home games in Bold

2019 POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

Sat./Sun. Jan. 4/5 Wild Card Weekend
Sat./Sun. Jan. 11/12 Divisional Playoff Games
Sun. Jan. 19 Conference Championships
Sun. Jan. 26 Pro Bowl (Orlando, Fla.)
Sun. Feb. 2 Super Bowl LIV (Miami, Fla.)

 

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Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

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