As the Game Turns: Week 6 at the Cincinnati Bengals

By: G.Stryker

Each and every game has a pivotal moment where victory is decided.  Not always the game winning play, but a play that determines the outcome, and if it went differently, a different result could be likely. So each week we will explore the exact moment of drama where the game pivots on: As the Game Turns.

In a hotly contested back and forth game, the Steelers found themselves down by a point with 1:12 to play in the game, after a Cincinnati touchdown.  Following a few well thrown passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster the Steelers found themselves in field goal range with 15 seconds to play, holding 2 timeouts.  You may have guessed it, this week’s turning point occurred at the end of the game. At this moment, the perfect play call, met the perfect audible, met the perfect defensive alignment, to create the play that gave the Steelers the win.  

The Steelers were lined up 4 wide in a 2 by 2 set.  Left to right the receivers were: Antonio Brown, Justin Hunter, JuJu, and Vance McDonaldJames Conner is lined up in the backfield to block. As Ben Roethlisberger noticed, there are 8 defenders on the line of scrimmage, and no safeties.  The defenders are lined up man to man on all 4 receivers. Ben motioned to Brown, and AB comes in from his far wide position to line up stacked just behind and to the left of Hunter.  At the snap of the football, CB Tony McRae engages Hunter and Brown slides behind Hunter’s block, with a clear path for his slant route. Ben immediately saw Brown as his first read and quickly got him the ball.  It didn’t matter that the Bengals defense rushed 7. The pass was thrown too quickly to a wide open receiver. With no safety help, Brown accelerated untouched, into the end zone, for a 31 yard gain and the win.

For a defense that did not get pressure at all against Big Ben, calling an all out blitz was their last chance to try to get negative yardage, and possibly push them out of field goal range.  Too bad the aggressive play call turned into sour grapes for the City of Cincinnati, and all they could do was watch the Steelers win, yet again, on their home turf.

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