The Bengals lost their tenth straight today at Heinz field, 23-7 to the Steelers. As has been the case all year, the Bengals found new and interesting ways to lose a football game.
This time, they gave up 23 points without allowing a single offensive touchdown to the anemic Steelers offense. Despite a depleted defensive roster, which included yet another defensive back going down to injury (Safety Chinedum Ndukwe) the Bengals held up against the Steeler attack, turning away three red zone drives, forcing 3 Scott Suisham field goals.
The Black and Gold didn’t need much else, as they got 14 points courtesy of Carson Palmer interceptions, one from Lamar Woodley and one spectacular one from Troy Polamalu, which was plenty to overcome the seven points the Bengal offense was able to produce.
The tenth straight loss matches the worst losing streak in franchise history for a single season. Marvin Lewis is now navigating in David Shula-bad territory. He can break the record next week in front of the home crowd against the lowly Browns.
The worst part about it is the Bengals started off so well, taking the opening kickoff and driving 69 yards in 8 plays to take a 7-0 lead on Carson Palmer’s one-yard toss to an eligible OT Andrew Whitworth all alone in the end zone.
After the teams traded four punts, the Bengals drove deep into Steeler territory, but stalled as QB Carson Palmer was sacked driving them out of field goal range. On their next possession, Palmer threw his first pick-six, this one to Polamalu who returned it 45 yards, diving for the pylon and a 7-7 tie. Palmer was trying to hit Terrell Owens, who appeared to trip up on the play in getting his legs tangled up with DB Ike Taylor.
That was all the magic dust the Bengals had and they reverted to playing like the worst the 1990’s had to offer.
Palmer’s second pick six came in the third quarter as the team still had hope, but Woodley snagged Palmer’s weak pass to the flat out of the cold Pittsburgh air and trotted 14-yards.
As if to convince Bengals fans that he has truly lost his stuff (or wants out of town), Palmer’s last interception came courtesy of old USC roommate Polamalu, who snagged the pass in the end zone as the Bengals were scrambling to make it interesting as the two minute warning approached.
The Steelers ran out the clock from there.
Who Played Well?
The Bengal offense played fairly well for a quarter and a half. The defense, considering its depleted condition, did a solid job for most of the game. They recorded four sacks of Ben Roethlisberger and kept the Steeler running game in check for the most part.
Kevin Huber had some very impressive punts, and the return game was better.
Who Played Poorly?
This is Palmer hands-down. The former Heisman winner doesn’t seem to have much zip on his passes these days, and many of his throws are coming off his back foot. His mechanics look bad, and his passes seem to float too much, allowing DB’s to jump the routes. Three interceptions, two returned for touchdowns—this was the major difference in the game, and while I’m normally a Palmer apologist, this was an unacceptable performance from the Franchise Player.
A home game that is likely to be blacked out against the rival Browns. Much of the Bengals’ slide from good to horrible can be traced back to their 23-20 week four loss at Cleveland. With their other remaining games against San Diego and Baltimore, this may be their last opportunity to get a win in 2010.
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