The Pittsburgh Steelers play the Cincinnati Bengals at 1pm on Sunday in Queen City. Last year, the Steelers were thrashed twice: 24-10 in Week 3 followed by a 41-10 drubbing in Week 12. But this year, by listening to the defensive captains, it doesn’t sound like a team that lost to their division rivals by 14 and 31 points. They sound mad and determined to make an impact on Sunday’s game.
Cam Heyward was interviewed on @SteelersLive Twitter and had this to say:
“It’s just about really seizing this opportunity and understanding that this game counts a little bit more because it’s the AFC North. You lose once in the AFC, that’s one thing. You lose in the AFC North, that’s two things, you know, it slides you down a little bit further. So these games count more, and you have to approach them like they’re life or death for your team.”
Cam Heyward spoke to the media about Week 1, seizing the opportunity + more. pic.twitter.com/8hvASgETEb
— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) September 8, 2022
TJ Watt also added some insight from his @SteelersLive Twitter interview:
“I mean, it’s no secret they have a pretty balanced offense. It’s going to be a tough challenge. We have to establish that we can stop the run, not only against the Bengals, but in the whole season. That’s what setting the tone early means, and like I said, I’m very confident in that.”
T.J. Watt talks to the media about starting Week 1 in the AFC North + more. pic.twitter.com/nP5uRfIySi
— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) September 7, 2022
Minkah Fitzpatrick added:
“Of course you do. Especially in the fashion that we lost in the last game, you think about it and the certain remarks that were said after the first game. You think about it, let it really resonate in the back of your mind. I’m not necessarily dwelling on it, but I’m going to remember.”
This is a determined defense that is eager to make an impact against the defending AFC Champions, and they have a secret weapon: Larry Ogunjobi.
Ogunjobi had surgery on his Lisfranc injury (foot) January 20th, and failed a physical two months later that would have made him a Chicago Bear for three years. The Bears’ loss was the Steelers’ gain as they picked up the free agent three months later (five months after his surgery), understanding that it takes six months to fully recover, placing his return timetable right at the start of training camp.
Now, Ogunjobi is fully healthy and ready to face his former team. Even though the Bengals now have four new starters across their offensive line, he still has the most experience playing against that blocking scheme all last season in practice. With all of their skill players returning, the offensive scheme that carried them to the Super Bowl won’t change much, and Ogunjobi is providing inside information to help the entire Steelers defense attack the Bengals offensive line on Sunday.
Anything that will stop Pro Bowl running back, Joe Mixon from running for a career high 185 yards, would be a welcome sight for Steeler Nation, and Ogunjobi’s tackling as well as his advice, will go a long way in making sure it doesn’t happen again.
Do you think Ogunjobi’s presence on the defensive line for Pittsburgh in 2022 can help the team improve from a season ago? How will he fare against his old team on Sunday? Make sure to click to comment below!