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Steeler Hitman

2020 Week #10 GDT Steelers vs. Bengals

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Starting Game Thread 11/9/20 @ 2:15 pm

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Who Dat, When Dat, Where Dey: The 8-0 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. 2 - 5-1 Cincinnati Bengals: Sunday, November 15, 2020 @ 1 pm (I'm telling the Steelers offense it's a special early kick-off game at 11:30 am because they typically don't show up until the second half. That way, they may be just arriving at the 1 pm kick-off thinking they are down by 10. 🤪😁

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Series History: Steelers lead the series history 66-35-0 including 2-0 in the play-offs. The Steelers have won 10 in a row including 14 of the last 15 games. The Bengals last won at Heinz field in 2015. Pittsburgh Dad's jokes are the only thing that have kept the Crying Bengal Fan from a river of tears in the Queen City versus the Steel City Steelers.

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I know we aren't allowed to post weekly hotties, but the crying Bengal girl looks kinda cute when there's no snot running down her face. You got my vote for weekly hottie. You're way better looking than Pittsburgh Dad! That's one thing the Bengals won. If I am snowed in, I'll take the crying Bengal girl for body heat. 😉

Key Bengals Offensive Players: Rookie QB Joe Burrow, RB Joe Mixon, WR's Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and AJ Green, OL Trey Hopkins, Jonah Williams, Bobby Hart

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Rookie QB Joe Burrow has shown a lot of grit and heart keping the Bengals competitive despite a 2-5-1 record. The Bengals have been very competitive and upset a strong Tennessee Titans team 31-20 before their bye week. The future looks bright in Bengal Land with Joe at the helm.

Steelers Defensive keys versus the Bengals Offense:

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1. Get back to the week one run defense.  The Steelers run defense has been gashed for over 400 yards over the past two weeks. Some is by design, some by opponents execution, and some by key injuries on the DL, at LB and Nickel Back Mike Hilton.  The Bengals running backs collectively and individually are averaging less than four yards a carry. This is not the week to let them get better. Hopefully some missing and new pieces come back: Tyson, Mike, and Avery. 

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2. Get your intimidating swagger and persona back. Teams are dishing out punishment to the Steelers instead of taking it from them. Everyone is playing their A game against the Steelers. Some are taking advantage of some injuries and some are just plain bringing it.  Get your swagger back and start playing bully ball again. Beat teams up on the ground on both sides of the ball. Win the battles in the trenches and the Steelers can dominate! The past two weeks the Steelers have taken more punches than they want to. Football Commandment #1, "It is more blessed to give a hard hit than take one!" 

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3. Don't let Joe get going. Burrow has 91.4 QBR, has 11TD's, 4 INT's, and has thrown for nearly 2300 in 8 games as a rookie. 💪 Baptize him to AFC North football. He is mobile, but has been very good in the pocket. Don't let him get comfortable or he can pick you apart better than the last two QB's that we faced passing. The Steelers pass rush has struggled at times with mobile QB's and have missed on several sack attempts. Hit him, hit him hard, and wrap him up when you do. This future NFL star QB can hurt you. Don't let him dictate to the defense. The Steelers pass defense has given up big pass plays of more than 20 yards in every game this season. Let's stop that trend. He has capable weapons at WR in Boyd, Green, Ross and Higgins. Put a tourniquet on the big plays.

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Dupree and Cam narrowly miss getting to Garrett Gilbert. TJ has also bounced off a few QB's this season narrowly missing sacks and strip sacks. 

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4. The team has faced some mobile QB's and at times has gotten tremendous pressure and other times have missed sacks and let the ball get out of the QB's hands by not hitting and wrapping. With the roughing rules, there is a fine line, but too often (in my humble opinion) QB's are getting the ball out and making plays. The Cowboys almost got a few big completions like this and it has happened in other games. Don't give second chances in this department.

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5. This wouldn't be a bad week to keep the turnover machine (Minkah Fitzpatrick) going! He has made two key game saving pass break-ups, recovered a key fumble and picked off a red zone pass (Take a knee there though champ) that saved points.  Joe hasn't thrown a lot of picks, but not a bad game for NFL Baptism by Fire to the AFC North Football. This may also help jumpstart the offense and rushing attack. defense has not played well, but have been on the field a lot at times. The best defense is a good offense eating up the clock, scoring points and keeping the defense sipping Gatorade. 

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6. Get the Boyd off your backs.  Tyler Boyd has had solid games versus the Steelers. He is a favorite target of Joe Burrow and our secondary has given up chunks of yardage and big plays. Boyd is more than capable of bringing some receiving pain to the Steelers secondary. The Bengals can present some coverage headaches with Boyd, Green, Ross and Higgins.  A heavy consistent pass rush will be needed to disrupt their timing. If I were the Bengals, I would try to get Ross involved deep as the Steelers have been susceptible to deep passes.

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Bengals safety Jessie Bates is a ballhawk. Many Steelers fan feel like the organization made a draft mistake passing on Bates.  we are still mad about the William Jackson thing too! 🤬

Key Bengals Defenders: DB's Jessie Bates, McKenzie Alexander, William Jackson, LB Josh Bynes, Germaine Pratt

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Steelers offense needs to find more creative ways to get Anthony McFarland involved in the offense and ground attack.

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James Connor has found attempts and yardage to be hard to come by the past two games. Offensive balance would help get Connor going again.

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We love seeing Big Ben give thanks for the TD pass! However, some praises would be nice for the run game getting active. 

1. What has happened to the Steelers ground game? The running game has been out of synch as has the entire offense at times. This offense and team is at its best when it is balanced. Connor, Snell, McFarland, Samuels, and Watt are not what many would term cream of the crop, but they are solid and effective when put in the proper situations to highlight their skillset. James Connor should be the feature guy. McFarland the just of pace fast guy. Snell the short yardage back and Samuels the receiving threat downfield and for dump off's. This past game despite Dallas struggling to stop the run, the Steelers helped as much as a 12th defender by misusing the role of some of these guys: McFarland short yardage instead of Snell and Connor running outside and off tackle instead of McFarland. 

This offense can be well balanced and very good when running well. Getting Derek Watt back should help. Step up the run game this week and use your weapons wisely. The fixation with wanting to throw has to settle down some. Get back to the balanced 60% run and 40% pass ratio if possible. This team is deadly when they can execute this mix of run and pass and the Steelers are putting up numbers similar to this: 30 rushes for 140 yards and 2 TDs and 30 of 40 passing for 265 yards and 2 TD's., 0 INT''s.

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2. What is with the deep ball fascination? Deep balls are sexy and you have a Ferrari in Chase Claypool, a Charger in Ray Ray,  a Corvette in Dionte' Johnson, and a tricked out Nissan in Washington.  However,  don't drive your Ferrari or sports cars to Seven Eleven or Royal Farms for milk and bread.😲  The offense does well with short and intermediate passes. It will help to open up and compliment the rushing attack. Short passes move the chains, they eats up clock and opens up some things deeper (later). I saw this work in several other games, and Big Ben and OC Fichtner need to shore this up better and move the chains and extend drives. That is just smart football. Going deep gets a bunch of yardage, but matriculating the ball downfield wins games. 

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3. Start using your "Bell Cow" receiver more. Ju Ju has been the go to guy in the crunch so why wait until you are down by 10 points or moe to start throwing to him? Maybe if you throw more to Ju Ju, some of the three and outs become first downs and you extend drives and put points on the scoreboard. Throwing deep to Claypool, Johnson, Ray Ray and Washington is sexy, but not always effective.  Start getting the ball in this guys hands some more.  Move Ju Ju around outside and in the slot.  Just get him the ball. while you don't have to throw to him at 40 or 50 yards a clip, getting him involved will help other aspects of the offense.  

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4. Steelers Offense needs to show up before the second half kick-off.  We talk about fast offensive starts all of the time, but it rarely happens.  The entire team will play much better with some offensive help early. If opponents get down early, it takes them out of their ability to run and plays into the hands of our pass rush. You make your opponent become one dimensional. It is much harder to throw when everyone knows you have to throw and there is no threat of running. Teams have done this to us and the only reason that the Steelers are not sitting 5-3 is largely because of Big Ben's ability to play street ball as they call it. Get the offense going early and build momentum.

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5. Bring your A Game. We have been outplayed  or out hustled for two or three quarters of the past three games. We can't keep winning like that and more importantly, can't win a championship playing one, two or three quarters of good football. This applies to both sides of the ball. We have to play four quarters of football and start complementing each facet of the game. Many would argue that all that matters is your record, the Steelers are 8-0.  However, our goal is not to win games only, but championships! 

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Going Old School and drafting TJ Who's Your Mamma! Yep Championship!!!!!😂

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Coaching

1. In the immortal words of Coach Paul Hissler, "Son get a mean on!" Winning erases a lot of errors. Defensively, this defense has bent, been pushed around, been hit, but keeps slugging. Despite not looking pretty at times, they are making key stops and coming up with timely sacks, turnovers, and stops.  This group is better than they are playing.  They are leaving some sacks and turnovers on the field. Get back to Steelers black and bruise style of football. Play with an attitude! 

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2. Play complimentary football. The offense keeps the defense rested and fresh. The defense sets up the offense. The special teams flip the field. The coaches make good decisions and adjust as needed.  This has been achieved once with any consistency in a game in 2020 (The Browns). This is a scary good football when that happens. When it doesn't come together they give opponents hope. Comebacks are great, but getting out in front of a team and putting it on them with the weapons in all four phases this team has can be outright scary!

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3. In the immortal words of Charles Remington (Ghost and the Darkness), "You just got hit!" And dang hard I will add. I have been trying to give Coach Smith some love, but the Cowboys trio of Special Teams Coaches (Fassel, Daniels and, Tolzien) put a whipping on your special teams coach. 

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A. Poor kick coverage including "almost" an American Dream for America's Team (Music City Miracle)

B. You get a 15 yard PF and kick from the 50. Boz kicks a near perfect high, deep flutter kick only to have it returned near or past mid field.

C. No adjustment to the pressure up the middle on FG's and EP's. This cost us valuable points that could have haunted the team. 

D. Failed two-point conversion ( blaming you for being in that situation in the first place) and two missed EP's. There was your three points needed to kick a 40 yard FG that puts the game out of reach at the end.

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Coach Smith's special teams gotta get better. You had a bad game one and a bad game eight. In between you made some good adjustments and played well. Learn from the two bad games and improve. On a positive, I thought Jordan Berry punted well. His kick inside the 20 could have been about five yards deeper, but overall he did well.

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4. Head Coach Mike T and OC Fichtner have to have the team better prepared. On the bright side, the Steelers won two games that they were technically outplayed, outhussled and was far from an A game on any aspect of play. However, the offense has to get off the plane and be at the stadium before halftime going forward. The play-down moniker will follow until you play your A game against B and C competition! Harsh, but true statement of fact. We have got to improve here otherwise 2020 looks like 1997, 2004. 2010, and 2017. All very good teams that had good records and didn't win the elusive Lombardi #7. If the standard is the standard, we all have to raise our game to avoid another great record with a disappointing finish and missed opportunity. 

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5. Great teams and great organizations are only concerned with raising the Lombardi at the end. There are no half-point/mid-season champions crowned. Let's keep our eyes on the prize and goal. No one is expecting this team to go 19-0 or 20-0. However, I think that we want this team playing its best football late season and to improve each week. Despite some difficulties, I believe that this team is growing.  They do have to start playing better in all phases of the game to reach their goal. That would include playing every opponent tough each week regardless of record.  they are all bringing their A games and we would like to see the Steelers bring their A game. 

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Prediction:  Despite some adjustments and tweaking needed the Steelers win this one. Pittsburgh Dad enjoys a Iron City and the game without having a "friggin hart-attack!" Steelers over Bengals 31-17. Sorry Bengals fans.....Your future is going to be quite bright with Joe Burrow at QB.  Your time will come, but I believe the Steelers time is now! 

 

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"I hate those guys from western PA. Always breaking my heart! When do we play Cleveland?" 😝😉😁

 

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I wonder who it is? I like how buttoned up this team is, though. Seems like there are very few leaks with this staff. 

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2 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

I wonder who it is? I like how buttoned up this team is, though. Seems like there are very few leaks with this staff. 

same here, who is it?  Now they have to go through all the precautions and possibly other players will miss the game .  Wait and see.

 

As for the "A game", why does that even exist? Shouldn't every game be the  "A Game"?

 

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38 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

I wonder who it is? I like how buttoned up this team is, though. Seems like there are very few leaks with this staff. 

 

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15 hours ago, 3rivers said:

same here, who is it?  Now they have to go through all the precautions and possibly other players will miss the game .  Wait and see.

 

As for the "A game", why does that even exist? Shouldn't every game be the  "A Game"?

As much as we like to believe that we give 100% 100% of the time, that is just not realistic. To use a simple analogy from college, I studied for many classes, quizzes, and tests, but I never got 100% straight through in any class. The term "perfection" is used a lot in football. It is not really what perfect is. The goal is winning, but you don't win every game perfectly.  Your effort and emotions, etc are not always at the maximum. 

I have put forth A efforts and got B and C grades in some classes. I have put forth B and C efforts and got A's in others. It is hard to get up for every game. The effort and intensity that the Steelers put forth in playing the Browns, Titans, and Ravens was higher than the intensity that they put forth playing the Cowboys. You could see it and feel it. The C effort almost cost them because the Cowboys certainly brought their A game. Sometimes your A game is not enough. No shame in that. 

The word effort may not be the right word as I don't think that the Steelers played any less hard (their effort trying to win was any less) for Dallas than they did anyone else. The result was not an A effort for the execution of their play. They were out-hustled, out coached, and out-played most of the game If that makes more sense. It wasn't because they didn't try. A fully focused and in tune Steelers team would not have been in that position. You learn from it and move on. 

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Good luck this week fellers! I’m excited to see how Joey B looks vs your defense. Should be his hardest test of the year. 

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19 hours ago, Steeler Hitman said:

3. Start using your "Bell Cow" receiver more. Ju Ju has been the go to guy in the crunch so why wait until you are down by 10 points or moe to start throwing to him? Maybe if you throw more to Ju Ju, some of the three and outs become first downs and you extend drives and put points on the scoreboard. Throwing deep to Claypool, Johnson, Ray Ray and Washington is sexy, but not always effective.  Start getting the ball in this guys hands some more.  Move Ju Ju around outside and in the slot.  Just get him the ball. while you don't have to throw to him at 40 or 50 yards a clip, getting him involved will help other aspects of the offense.  

Couldnt agree more, Hitman. I just wrote about it last weeks gameday thread before reading yours -- but I found that same issue. We just are not throwing to JuJu early, which indicates not having him in the gameplan or, at least, not having him be the active part of the gameplan. 

JuJu is catching 78% of the balls coming his way. The next closest of the non-RB/Vance McDonald variety - 67%. They need to plan to get the ball in his hands early. 

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can't wait for that Vaccine to come out

I can't do another sports season like this..

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We might have a chance with Mason as the starter, but not a very good one. I think Mason will look better with practice than he did against Dallas, but I'm not expecting much. Maybe Landry Jones level of replacement. 

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If Ben and other test positive the NFL should reschedule the game.  Just like they did for the Titans and Pats.  I have a feeling that NOW the answer will be to play because the Steelers had their bye week ( that was forced on them).

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2 hours ago, MOSteelers56 said:

We might have a chance with Mason as the starter, but not a very good one. I think Mason will look better with practice than he did against Dallas, but I'm not expecting much. Maybe Landry Jones level of replacement. 

I would want Dobbs to start.  At least he can run

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9 minutes ago, jebrick said:

If Ben and other test positive the NFL should reschedule the game.  Just like they did for the Titans and Pats.  I have a feeling that NOW the answer will be to play because the Steelers had their bye week ( that was forced on them).

They won't. They will make us play regardless. 

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