Steelers much improved since Bengals loss
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It was a different Steelers team, at a different point of the season.
All of the pieces were in place on offense. Most of them, anyway.
Still, the Steelers make no excuses for their 23-20 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 27 that left them with a 1-2 record.
"We could have closed the game out," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "We could have done it on offense."
Added offensive coordinator Bruce Arians: "We left so many points on the field."
The 6-2 Steelers have won five consecutive games since losing to the Bengals, thanks in no small part to their resurgent offense, ranked No. 5 in the NFL.
The rematch with Cincinnati is at 1 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field.
"It's going to be a big test for us, but we're moving in the right direction," Roethlisberger said.
Against Denver's top-ranked defense last week, the Steelers scored touchdowns on three of their six legitimate second-half possessions. They closed out the fourth quarter with touchdowns on their last two drives to turn a close game into a blowout.
Unlike their uneven performance in the Cincinnati loss, the Steelers' offense didn't repeat the mistake of leaving points on the field against the Broncos.
Roethlisberger said the difference in the offense has been encouraging, but he believes there's still plenty of room for growth.
"We're not where we want to be yet, but we keep improving," said Roethlisberger, who is tied for first in the league in completion percentage (70.6), joined by the Colts' Peyton Manning.
In the first game against Cincinnati, the Steelers failed to convert on third-and-goal at the 1 in the first quarter and fourth-and-4 from the Cincinnati 35 in the second quarter.
The Steelers scored only once on five-second half possessions - Roethlisberger's 1-yard run in the third quarter. Another third-quarter possession resulted in Cincinnati returning a Roethlisberger interception for a touchdown. Following that possession, Jeff Reed missed a field goal after Limas Sweed dropped a wide-open touchdown pass.
"We had a mental (lapse) on third and one on the goal line," Arians said. "We had a mental on third and five on the goal line. We dropped a touchdown pass. When it's a tight game, it's going to haunt you."
During their five-game winnning streak, the Steelers have averaged 29.6 points, after averaging 15.6 points through the first three games.
The addition of second-year running back Rashard Mendenhall to the lineup the past five games has sparked the offense - along with a greater attention to detail from everyone involved.
"That's all we've talked about is to make sure we're right," Arians said. "Respect who we're playing but make sure we do what we're supposed to do, and we'll be alright."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Brown downplays possible matchup against Seahawks’ Sherman
- Dubinsky suspended for cross-check on SidneyCrosby
- Clairton captures 12th WPIAL football championship
- WPIAL Class A notes: Return sparks Clairton for 2nd straight week
- Howard leads West Virginia over Iowa State
- Downtown holiday parade festive, but turnout low
- Pitt notebook: Offensive struggles continue
- Woman dies after bleeding on sidewalk outside Carrick pizzeria
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Barefoot toddlers found wandering in Uniontown Hospital lot
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line