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2020 GDT Week #15 Steelers @ Bengals


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Who: 11 - 2 Steelers vs. 2-10-1 Bengals

Where: Paul Brown Stadium Cincinnati, OH

When: Monday, December 21, 2020 @ 8:15 pm 

Key Bengals Offensive Players: QB Brandon Allen, RB Giovani Bernard, WR Tyler Boyd, WR Tee Higgins, WR AJ Green

Key Bengals Defensive Players: S Jessie Bates III, CB William Jackson III, DE Carl Lawson, DT Geno Atkins

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It has been a December, NOT to remember in Steelers Nation 

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Steelers are definitely trending in the wrong direction in December with a 1-2 record in the month. 

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The Steelers are playing like a very tired veteran football team. They have not done a good job of adjusting to the adjustments made by opposing teams and they keep trying to do the same things. Injuries, game delays and player contact or infection due to Covid-19, has definitely taken this team out of rhythm.  They are also tired from not having an actual bye week without getting pulled back and forth like:

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No excuses here, just reasons. However, if the Steelers don't come together and figure it out, they will have a long time to be on a bye after the first play-off  game! No sky is falling or over-reaction, but just a sad, but true reality. 

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Solutions: It doesn't take a genius or brainiac to figure out what the Steelers need to do to improve upon. It is football and the more physical teams typically win. 

1. The offense has to come out and start playing well from the opening kick-off. The Steelers offense has struggled and been inconsistent for much of 2020. They would go a long way in helping this team by starting fast and scoring some early touchdowns. The defense has played well in each of the past three games early. If they had any semblance of offense, the games could have taken a much different turn and the Ravens and WFT could have been blow out wins due to their limitations. They also could have put pressure on the Bills QB Josh Allen to have to throw to win. This offense has scored 19 (13 as the defense scored on a pick six), 17, and 15 points the past three games.  You can't win that way in today's NFL. The drops, inconsistencies/tendencies, lack of offensive adjustments and offensive imagination is stifling  the offenses production. How?

A. Go back to what was successful early in the season: A balanced offense. The offense was trying to find an identity and get Big Ben game acclimated after almost an entire year off. The problem with getting a more consistent rushing attack may be the healthy offensive  personnel available and teams are now crowding the LOS and coming. 

With Feiler and Dotson both potentially being out, there is a huge hole at LG.  Dotson is already the teams best run blocker as a rookie. Potentially losing him doesn't help the run game get stronger.  The Steelers may have to alter their passing attack to help improve the rushing attack and get more balanced. How?

B. Throw intermediate and continue to change up the personnel. The team played TE McDonald and RB Samuels more in Buffalo, but they may also want get away from the RPO quick stuff for a minute.  Start sending some receivers downfield to open up some passing lanes and the zones. Get back to some QB 101 basics (pump fake, movement of eyes to look defenders off of the receivers). 

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What's wrong with this picture? Four to five Bills are around James Connor. Where is a Steelers blocker?

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The eyes have it.  QB Big Ben's eyes are locked on TE McDonald. Bills defender CB T. White is locked in and adjusting. Start pump faking and looking off some receivers. Teams are reacting to what the Steelers offense is showing them. 

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Two things this photo shows: 1. Adjustments 2. Threat of play action passing by running the ball. Heyward was killing the Bills interior, so they double teamed him much of the second half. Edmunds and Highsmith are frozen in their steps. Looks like Highsmith is in the process of backpedaling and Edmunds is reading as a safety whether to come forward to support the run or drop back. Some simple adjustments in approach and execution would greatly help our offense. 

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Because of the lack of complimentary football and offensive cohesions, the entire Steelers defense is being left out on an island.

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Jessie Bates almost held on to a few errant Steelers passes in the first meeting. The Steelers offense will need to clean some things up as opposing defenses are now opposing their will upon the Steelers offense. 

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If the Steelers offense can't move the ball, eat up clock and score, the Bengals will try to wear down the Steelers defense and put up some points. WR's Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are capable of winning some battles against a hurting Steelers defense racked with injuries. 

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The last three games have nearly turned the Steelers season upside down. They are still 11-2, but must get back on their feet as a team so to speak.

Prediction: The Steelers are playing a two win team and they have only won one game the past three weeks themselves. They have to get an offensive identity and move past themselves more-so than their opponents. Coach Tomlin had the Steelers in pads last Friday and is trying to find some way to get his offense to be more physical and aggressive.  The Bengals would love nothing more than to further humble and humiliate a Steelers team that has done the same to them over the past few years.  

 

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Sadly this is a lose lose game for the Steelers.  If they win, they are supposed to against a two win team. If they lose, then they will seriously fall from the NFL's grace and be classified by many as the worst 11-0 start team in NFL history. Many are already saying that the Steelers won 11 straight with smoke and mirrors. The Steelers need offensive cohesion and a much needed W. Adversity is always something that every team and champion must face and overcome. It is not easy, but we will see what the Steelers are cut from. 

The defense should contain the Bengals offense and can hopefully secure some turnovers to help put the offense in position to score and gain some much needed confidence. No one can use the play down to argument as the Steelers are looking pretty average themselves of late. Steelers get a road win 26 - 17. 

Edited by Steeler Hitman
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13 minutes ago, August4th said:

I wonder what conner's value in FA will be, I'm starting to think he can come back for cheap BUT he can't be the starting back next yr. RB is a major need. Najee Harris in the 2nd rd?

I doubt Harris is there at the end of the 2nd. He'll probably go late 1st- early 2nd. 

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51 minutes ago, warfelg said:

Diontae should be the one losing snaps in that situation. 

this is tomlins fault, nobody else. As HC, he needs to take a stand and let the better player get more chances, let the dropper rest in the doghouse. I couldn't believe they johnson back in the game, I thought he was in cortezville

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3 hours ago, August4th said:

I wonder what conner's value in FA will be, I'm starting to think he can come back for cheap BUT he can't be the starting back next yr. RB is a major need. Najee Harris in the 2nd rd?

This is why I was upset they took Claypool when JK Dobbins was available last year.  Claypool has looked great this year, but I feel this team is good enough finding later round WR that it was safe to go RB. We’ve all known this was probably Connors last year and I was not confident that Snell was ever going to be more than a change of pace guy, but we never seem to look what we will need in the future. 

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6 hours ago, SteelersFan2333 said:

This is why I was upset they took Claypool when JK Dobbins was available last year.  Claypool has looked great this year, but I feel this team is good enough finding later round WR that it was safe to go RB. We’ve all known this was probably Connors last year and I was not confident that Snell was ever going to be more than a change of pace guy, but we never seem to look what we will need in the future. 

I dont really agree with this.    If anything, RB was a more immediate need this past draft than WR.  I think they were anticipating losing Juju and not incredibly comfortable what they had in Washington or Dionte....but it was more than we had at RB.   Conner was hurt last year and Snell is JAG.    

They drafted Highsmith to take over for Dupree, so that was clearly looking at the future.   Looking back a couple years, they drafted Mason Rudolph and Chucks....both of which were absolutely about the future.     Whether they were good picks or not is a different story....

Whether us fans like it or not, the Steelers stay true to their board.   I completely believe that Claypool was just the highest guy ranked on their board and they took him.    If they had ranked Dobbins higher, I think he would have been the pick.   I dont think it was a matter of prioritizing WR over RB.

I have many issues with the way the Steelers do things in the draft, but a) they absolutely do look at the future, and b) they stay extremely true to their big board, especially early on....maybe to a fault.  

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