Don’t make too much of this, is what BengalFan heard even before the gun sounded. Don’t see 24-10 as some magical wave of the wand. It was just one game against a bruised opponent on a predicted decline.
These are the Bengals we’re talking about. Those are the Steelers. If there’s one thing a veteran Men fan understands, it’s to make hay while the sun shines. There is no measured response, no deep chin scratching following a two-TD W in Pittsburgh.
We beat They. Beat? We kicked their aspirations in their house. Hell, yes, we’re going to party like it’s 1988. Never waste a chance to feel good about the local scrappy little 11.
Without further ado. . .
TEN THINGS. . .
1. To be clear, the Morning Man is not including himself on the We side of things. TML is not a cheerleader. TML roots for TML. But I’m happy for you guys.
2. I can’t recall the last time The Men played a better, more complete game. Certainly not since the last time they made the playoffs. Their biggest hitch was the 10 penalties and the bad throw Joe Burrow made that was intercepted early on.
3. The defense shows definite signs of legit-ness. It stuffed the run for the 3rd week in a row, overpowering an offensive line worse than the Bengals. . .
4. . . . and the Bengals OL was encouragingly solid. Mixon averaged 5 yards a carry, Burrow was not sacked. We didn’t hear Jackson Carman’s name, which was a great thing.
5. He was almost as good as Ja’Marr Chase, who was Ja’Marvelous again. Two more TD catches, including the 34-yard bomb he hauled in with his fingertips late in the first half.
6. The Bengals responded. Whether it was to last week’s loss or to their own pride or to the urgings of Zac Taylor and his lieutenants, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. After a few days of openly questioning their head coach, they made it plain they weren’t tuning him out.
7. The Bengals didn’t play scared v. the Stillers. Maybe some of that is the roster overhaul in the past couple years. Most of the players have little memory (and lesser regard for) what has usually happened when Ben meets Ben-gals.
8. Roethlisberger looks about ready for the gold watch. He has lost his unmatched ability to dance in the pocket, his arm didn’t look big on Sunday. That said, his receivers couldn’t catch anything (eight drops at least) and he was missing his best wideout Diontae Johnson. And his front office is doing him no favors by sending him to war with that OL.
9. And I’ve predicted Ben’s downfall for a few years already. I might have been wr. . . wr. . . not overly correct about that.
10. The Men better win Thursday night against bad Jax. Or revert to who they’ve been for much of their existence. The schedule-makers did them a solid by lining up the Jags for the short week after an emotional W.
Now, then. . .
AN UNFLATTERING REVIEW OF BIG BEN, from Yahoo!, which suggests only respect for Ben is keeping him from being benched:
The Steelers are going to struggle all season to overcome a quarterback who is moving slow and can't throw downfield anymore.
When Roethlisberger threw an awful interception on third down in the third quarter, he probably should have been pulled. The pick led to a Bengals touchdown and a 24-7 deficit. Roethlisberger had completed 15 passes for just 98 yards. He can't throw downfield anymore. He had two picks and a 50.4 rating at that point of the game. His rating was helped tremendously by a touchdown pass, which came on an easy underneath shovel pass. In the third quarter he almost threw another interception deep in his own territory, when he sailed a pass too high over his receiver, but the Bengals dropped it. Later in the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger missed a wide-open James Washington downfield for what would have been a long touchdown.
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE CARDINALS. Oh yeah, it is. The Reds have played poorly for over a month, yes. The Cardinals have won 16 in a row, with a starting rotation you could find at a flea market. Ridiculous.
So what do the Reds look like on Opening Day ’22?
They won’t have Castellanos, who’s been busy building his resume lately.
They will have Greene and/or Lodolo, which could help their bullpen and/or rotation depth.
Miley?Your guess is as good as mine. The Reds can pay him $10 mil or exercise their option for $1 mil. If I were a betting man, I’d wager on the latter. He had a great year until September, he’ll be 35 in November, he’ll never be more desirable in trade than he is right now.
Will the Reds be buyers? Not in a big way. Without Castellanos’ money ($16 mil) they should have a fair amount of pocket change. And if they could somehow dump, er, avoid paying, the $16 mil they owe Moustakas, they have even more.
Some of it will be applied to the arbitration dollars owed Winker, Mahle, Naquin, Farmer and possibly Senzel. They’ll have cash, though. Before last winter’s retrenching, I’d have said they’d spend it. Now?
AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT. . . Why no public support for David Bell, from those paying his salary? Wouldn’t you have felt a little better about the Reds pledges of consistency and continuity had the announcement of Bell’s extension come from ownership? Me, too.
SATURDAY WILL EITHER HELP OR DESTROY UC’s college football playoff chances. Clemson is 2-2, Ohio State and Oklahoma aren’t dominant. Even Alabama isn’t a sure thing. A great year, in other words, for UC to be great. The Bearcats win at Notre Dame and they’re in the playoff hunt.
TRIP REPORT. . . My wife and son are Stillers fans. Don’t blame me because I failed at convincing them to use their brains. Anyway, we took an extra day in the ‘Burgh, so they could spend the weekend with me (great) and go to the game Sunday (tragic, for them).
There’s not a ton of stuff to do in Pittsburgh, but we made the best of it. The South Side has a bunch of bars, the Duquesne Incline is awesome. I wanted to go, again, to Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, but wife and child decided 90 minutes was too far to drive. That was unfortunate. We did one great thing, though. . .
I love visiting junk-tique stores, seeking sports stuff mostly, but also logo-ed ashtrays (I have one from the Watergate Hotel and another from the opening of the Astrodome.) I used to be a Pirates fan, so I thought there was a chance to find something Buccos-related, from when they were an actual major-league team.
I struck gold.
For a total of $34 in one store, I found bobbleheads of four vintage Bucs: Dave Parker, Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen and Richie Hebner. I already had Rennie Stennett. Other than a Huggs bobbler and the Romain Sato nesting doll, the Parker bobbler is now among my prized possessions.
For $5, I got an Arnold Palmer coffee mug, too. My wife scored a “Big Ben 7’’ mug. Those of youse who browse junk places understand what an incredible haul that is.
My favorite junk-abilia: The Watergate ashtray and LPs signed by Steve Forbert, Pat Conroy and the Nighthawks.
Yours? Do you scour junktique places?
TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . The Allman Brothers first two albums were their best. Apologies to Eat A Peach and Live at Fillmore East. Over the weekend, my son and I debated which was better: The self-titled first album or the second disc, Idlewild South. He went for No. 1, I took Idlewild.
All of which means nothing to you if you’re not a Brothers fan.