Tim Benz: Feats of strength after excruciating Steelers win over Bengals | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz: Feats of strength after excruciating Steelers win over Bengals

Tim Benz
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree recovers a fumble he forced on Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley for a turnover during the second half an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Cincinnati.

You know how it’s going to go this week. All “Duck vs. Mason.” All the time.

Not that Devlin Hodges doesn’t deserve credit for sparking the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 16-10 comeback win.

He does.

But aside from one pass, Hodges was only 4-for-10 for 39 yards. And he threw a really bad incompletion near the goal line on a third-and-5 with 3:18 left that stopped the clock, giving the Cincinnati Bengals a free timeout before the Steelers kicked a field goal.

So as we go through our “Feats of Strength,” as we do after every Steelers’ victory, let’s focus on some of the other stars of the afternoon.

Especially since you’ll be hearing plenty of Duck calls between now and next Sunday.

That one passing play we mentioned

As Mike Tomlin pointed out, Hodges is bound to get a lot of love after this result. But 79 of his 118 yards came on one touchdown throw to James Washington.

And Washington did a lot of the work on his own, especially with this straight arm to plant former Steeler B.W. Webb.

“You can’t take anything away from James Washington for what he did to produce that play, after the catch and so forth,” Tomlin said following the game. “You’ll make more out of Duck’s contributions than need be. So be it. It comes with the position. (Quarterbacks) get too much credit at times, and they get too much blame at times.”

True. But at least Hodges made the throw. Something Mason Rudolph didn’t do enough of the last two weeks.

Big Bud does it again

Bud Dupree got a strip sack to kill a Bengals’ drive when the teams played at Heinz Field earlier this season.

He did it again Sunday in Cincinnati.

Except this one was even more impressive and impactful because Dupree recovered the football himself, after T.J. Watt jumped on the ball back in Week 4.

And, on this occasion, Dupree’s theft gave the Steelers the ball back in the fourth quarter with just a six-point lead in a game the Steelers couldn’t afford to lose.

Snell yeah!

The Steelers needed someone to be a presence on the ground with James Conner out of action again.

Luckily, rookie running back Benny Snell was finally healthy, and featured.

He ran for 98 yards on 21 carries. His previous high was 75 yards on 17 carries versus the Chargers.

Snell ran hard, and it was good to see him contribute.

There. I hope those kind words now make those of us in the Pittsburgh media as “cool” as the Kentucky media types.

Cain was “able”

And so was Whyte.

Deon Cain (Indianapolis Colts) and Kerrith Whyte (Chicago Bears) were signed off practice squads this week.

Right away, they stepped in and made contributions. Before Snell really got in gear, Whyte got 43 yards on six carries. And Cain drew a deep pass-interference call and made one outstanding 35-yard catch.

“They put their hands in the pile,” Tomlin said of Whyte and Cain. “We don’t underestimate the difficulty of jumping on a moving train and being a positive contributor.”

We’ll see how much those two remain in the mix — or if they even remain on the roster — once Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster return. But even if they don’t, they made more of an impact than anyone had a right to expect.


Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

The New York Jets (4-7) dealt an unexpected blow to the Oakland Raiders (6-5) with a runaway 34-3 victory at MetLife Stadium.

The loss drops Oakland behind the Steelers (6-5) in the race for the second wild-card spot by virtue of conference win-loss results. For now.

Next week, the Steelers host the suddenly hot Cleveland Browns. They have won three games in a row to improve to 5-6. Meanwhile, the Raiders get to go back home and host Jacksonville (4-7).

The Buffalo Bills (8-3) maintained their hold on the top wild card by outlasting the Denver Broncos 20-3.

The Colts and Tennessee Titans, who are also both 6-5, play each other in Indianapolis next Sunday.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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