I was shocked watching this game live. The Bengals came out and took it to the Steelers. 10–3 Bengals after the first quarter. 20–9 Bengals at halftime. 20–15 Cincy going into the fourth quarter. It was an upset in the making. The Steelers found a way. You could sense when Cincinnati didn’t put them away early that the Steelers were going to chop wood in the second half and get back into it. They did. Huge win for the Steelers, and thus ended the long-shot playoff hopes of the Bengals.
The Steelers are already AFC North champs. Now, they’re hoping for a #2 seed. The Steelers hope to wind up in a tie with a Kansas City team that won the AFC West, as they own the tiebreaker over them.
— Is it wise to use Big Ben (21-36 for 286 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) in Week 16?
Pro: The Ravens’ top corner (Jimmy Smith) is out. The Ravens are great against the run, so more passing is probably the order of the day. Weather will be decent for December.
Cons: Ben’s recent numbers are not juicy…1.2 TDs and 236.6 yards per game. 1 TD/1 INT versus the Ravens the first time around. Ravens playing for their playoff lives.
Which Ben do you think shows up here? The Ben who averaged 3.0 TD passes per game in the first five games of the season, or the 1.4 TD passes per game with just one 300+ effort since?
I sense some more passing here, and maybe leaning more towards 2 TDs passes than 1.
— A.J. Green for Week 16?
I have no idea why A.J. Green is rushing back.
I have no idea why the Bengals are encouraging AJG now that their playoff hopes are dead.
With Green, you would be playing a guy who, if he shows any issue at all, is going to be pulled from the game. If he goes half speed, what’s the point? If he goes all out on a route, he could easily have a relapse issue. If Green shows anything, then shutdown corner A.J. Bouye is going on him.
I don’t see many reasons to roll these dice unless you’re desperate.
— Vontaze Burfict (9 tackles, 1 PD) will be out Week 16, which probably pushes Karlos Dansby (4 tackles, 1 PD) for better IDP numbers…but this could be rookie Nick Vigil’s (3 tackles on 18 snaps played) time to shine.
— Somewhat out of nowhere, Tyler Eifert (1-9-0/3 targets) is out for Week 16. Tyler Kroft (11 snaps) gets a small bump, but not enough to matter for fantasy Week 16.
— Eli Rogers (5-75-1/6 targets) had a decent game, but I think we’re past the knee-jerk reaction from the fantasy experts where they get all happy on him because ‘the Steelers like this kid‘. He’s just a mediocre player, and I’ve said that watching him this entire season.
— The Bengals really had some playoff life going into this game. The Bengals led into the third quarter and meanwhile the Ravens were battling in their game with the Eagles. The Bengals were nearing the perfect storm – an upset of the Steelers and a Ravens loss would have been a massive boost for Cincy to sneak up and win the division. Of course, they lost this game. In this very important game, the Bengals had all of two catches/three targets set up for Rex Burkhead (7-32-0, 2-18-0/3 targets). The guy is a WR playing RB. You’re missing A.J. Green. You need something to push past the Steelers. You have this interesting, unique thing with Burkhead…and two catches…one catch in the second quarter, the other early fourth quarter.
The Bengals have never, nor will they ever, have a plan to push Burkhead. Free agency cannot come fast enough for him (two more weeks).