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Matchup: Steelers at Bungles
Week 13 Post-Game Show
Steelers at Bungles (48-28)
Send your postgame critiques, analysis, ranting and raving about the last game as well as your predictions, smak, & insults about our upcoming opponent. Whether your message is a simple, "These guys SUCK," or a detailed, in-depth analysis, tell us what you think.
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Steelers at Bungles (48-28)
Game Recap
Complete Stats
Team Stats
Game Photos
Week 13 1 2 3 4 F
Steelers 14 10 21 3 48
Bungles 7 7 7 7 28

Scoring Summary
(more like a Novel this week)
First Quarter
PIT - TD, Hines Ward, 34 Yd pass from Kordell Stewart (Brown PAT).
CIN - TD, Brandon Bennett, 37 Yd run (Rackers PAT).

'Da Bungles
Their hair was coordinated, but their defense was not as Pittsburgh beat Cinci 48-28.

PIT - TD, Kordell Stewart, 1 Yd run (Brown PAT).
Second Quarter
CIN - TD, Corey Dillon, 20 Yd run (Rackers PAT).
PIT - TD, Mark Bruener, 11 Yd pass from Kordell Stewart (Brown PAT).
PIT - FG, Kris Brown 44 Yd.
Third Quarter
CIN - TD, Corey Dillon, 4 Yd run (Rackers PAT).
PIT - TD, Bobby Shaw, 45 Yd pass from Kordell Stewart (Brown PAT).
PIT - TD, Jerome Bettis, 8 Yd run (Brown PAT).
PIT - TD, Jason Gildon, 22 Yd fumble return (Brown PAT).
Fourth Quarter
CIN - TD, Peter Warrick, 5 Yd pass from Akili Smith (Rackers PAT).
PIT - FG, Kris Brown 28 Yd.

Key Stats & Facts
• Kordell Stewart 11 of 20, 182 yards, 3 TD, 0 Int, 1 rushing TD: Just when I'm about to give up on Kordell, he scores 4 TDs and plays a near flawless game. The stats, while good, aren't a true reflection of how outstanding Stewart's play was. Kordell was unflappable and, dare I say it, Bradshaw-esque on 3rd down. Stewart converted on 9 of 12 3rd downs (including 7 of 8 in 1st half) with poised, precise passing (including plenty of key long throws downfield) and nifty scrambling. Easily his best outing of the year.

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• Hines Ward 4 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD, 1 rush for 23 yards: It was clear from the outset that Gilbride's game plan (undeniably a damn good one this week) was built around Hines Ward, who gained 23 yards on a reverse on the opening possession and later capped the drive with a 37-yd TD catch. Ward's five 1st half catches were devastating to Cinci, particularly on 3rd down, but his blocking downfield, especially the one that sprung Bruener for a 2nd qtr TD, might've been even more impressive. This guy is the real deal!
• Jason Gildon 9 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fmbls, 1 fmbl rec, 1 TD: What a season the aptly-named "Magnet" is having! With his 2 sacks Sunday (one of which forced a fumble to set up a Bettis TD), Gildon is now in double digits on the year (10), and his recovery and subsequent TD return of the Akili Smith fumble following a horrible snap on the final play of the 3rd quarter was the nail in Cinci's coffin.
• Lee Flowers 11 tackles: Hats off to Lee, but this is NOT a good thing... you never want a safety leading the team in tackles! Courtney Dillon ran roughshod over the Steelers, and just 1 drive into the 3rd quarter had amassed 112 of his 128 yards. This on the heels of a 236-yard game for Jax's Fred Taylor last week. Our formerly inpenatrable defense has suddenly become a sieve, folks... Lewis needs to shore things up FAST.
• Jerome Bettis over 1000 yds for 7th time: Bettis played extremely well in somewhat of a supporting role, gaining 93 yards on 22 carries for 1 TD, frequently bulldozing through hordes of wide-eyed defenders. But the real story is the Bus surpassing the 1000-yard rushing mark for the 7th time in his career. Congrats, Jerome!

Stewart, aided by Ward & Bettis, ate the Bungles lunch Sunday, scoring 4 TDs in 48-28 win.
Offense Strikes Gold in Cincinnati
Article by McMillen & Wife

Okay, let me get this straight. Pittsburgh's anemic offense opened the game with scoring drives of 78 and 80 yards, passed for 150 yards in the first half, and scored 38 points. Meanwhile, the same Steeler defense that didn't allow a TD for 20 consecutive quarters gave up 4 touchdowns to one of the league's worst teams and allowed over 200 yards rushing for the 2nd straight week. So, I've gotta ask it...

Who in the hell were those guys in the black and yellow uniforms on Sunday, and where was Rod Serling? [--insert music from "The Twilight Zone" here--]

What a bizarre game. I wonder how many of those Vegas oddmakers I always hear yacking on the radio about their "guaranteed" winners got the over/under right on THIS one? A whopping 76 points put up by the "offensive powerhouses" from Cinci and Pittsburgh? Talk about a jackpot!

Admittedly, there is some precident for all those points... after all, in 1995, these same two clubs (albeit in the old stadium with radically different personel) lit up the scoreboard for 80 points as the Super Bowl-bound Steelers came back to win 49-31 after having trailed 31-13. Kordell came up big in that now legendary game as a receiver in his role of "Slash," hauling in a pass over the middle and pirouetting his way to a decisive 71-yard TD.

Last Sunday, Stewart was again the hero, but this time, he was under center as a disciplined, patient passer who converted nearly every 3rd down he was faced with... usually with his arm, but occassionally with his legs. Stewart stretched the field, scoring 4 TDs on the day (3 passing, tying a career high) including two beautiful long bombs of 34 and 45 yards (Ward & Shaw). Yeah, maybe some would want to put an asterisk by this one since it came against the lowly Bungles, but on a day when the offense was forced to score a lot of points, Stewart got it done.

Then there was Hines Ward, the surprising focal point of the Steelers' usually run-oriented offense in the first half. As in Pittsburgh's previous victory over Cinci in week 7, Ward caught a long TD pass (34 yards) on the opening drive of the game to set the tone. Ward also finessed his way for 23 yards on a reverse earlier in that same drive (aided by a great block from Kordell). Hines led all receivers with 4 catches for 70 yards, all of them coming in the first half.

The Bus was, as usual, outstanding. Cinci's fear of Bettis clearly paved the way for Kordell to execute one devastating playaction pass after another. Congrats, Jerome, on surpassing the 1000 yard mark for the 7th time in you career. Speaking of RBs, how 'bout backup FB Dan Kreider, who OWNED Takeo Spikes today? I'll tell 'ya... Jon Witman may have trouble getting his job back next season the way Kreider is playing.

As if all of this isn't already weird enough, let's give a big round of applause to... I can't believe I'm about to say this... Kevin Gilbride. Pittsburgh's offensive game plan for this one was flawless.

Now, here's the point where we actually cross into the "Twilight Zone," folks.

While the Steeler offense was marching up and down the field like a well-oiled machine, Pittsburgh's vaunted defense was a sieve for nearly 3 full quarters. Check out these numbers: following their TD drive to open the 2nd half (narrowing Pittsburgh's lead to 24-21), Corey Dillon had run the ball 17 times for 112 yards and 2 TDs, and Akili Smith was 6 of 7 for 67 yards.

I take notes during the game (it's an illness, bruthas) so I can write these postgame reports, and I think you'll notice a familiar theme from these excerpts:

"What in the hell is up with our defense? We're just getting destroyed by the run! Corey Dillon just burned us for a 20-yarder to tie the game."

"Again I say... what is up with the defense!!!??? Dillon is KILLING us!!!!!!"

"Cinci backs have now run 10 times for 105 yards and Akili Smith is 5 of 5 for 52 yards! Disgusting!"

"The performance by our defense is humiliating! Corey Dillon is doing absolutely anything he wants. An effortless 10-play, 80-yard drive to open the 2nd half? Jeez, 50 of the 80 yards were on the ground!"

You get the point. Man, if not for those devastating Cinci fumbles late in the 3rd quarter, I shudder to think what the outcome might've been. I mean, their offensive line was just manhandling us for much of the game. The most worrisome part of this is that vulerability to the run has now become a pattern. We might've written off Fred Taylor's 236-yard shellacking of our defense last week had we shut Dillon down today. As it stands, our once-mighty defense suddenly appears to have some gaping holes.

I'm not even sure what to attribute it to. Lack of pursuit? Too much pursuit? Too much cream in the coffee? Hell, I don't know. One thing is for certain, though... Tim Lewis better get these guys RE-FOCUSED by next Sunday, or the Raiders are going to humiliate us.

Until then, my bruthas!

Tim McMillen
Webmaster, McMillen & Wife

Fan Smak & Analysis
The following articles are listed in the order they were received (with the most recent entries at the top). This isn't a "guestbook" format... I read and manually insert every message, so you may not see your submission show up immediately. Thanks a million for your comments, people!
Submitted by Paul Schellhammer
So let me get this straight...after 3+ years of Kordell barely being able to hit the broad side of a barn with a football from 20 yards away, a three touchdown passing performance against one of the worst teams in the league is enough to make people think that maybe he is coming to recognize his potential? Oh, please. I have been a Kordell fan since the Steelers drafted him but enough is enough. He is not a good passer. One good game is not enough to convince me otherwise, especially against the Bengals. Let's see what he does the next three games against teams with a combined 25-11 record. We'll see what happens then when he's got Bruce Smith and Michael Strahan coming at him. What do I think will happen? I have one anwer that leads to next year's Steeler's draft: Brees or Weinke?

Submitted by Tom Bragg
First off , Kordell did play a decent game for a change . And for that he is due his share of credit . However by the same token look who he played it against ! The absolute worst team in the damn league ! Any QB worth a damn , should easily throw for 300 yds or more against that hapless Bengal defense ! Stewert should have been doing this from day one , not just when he plays some pathetic patsy like the Bungles . To me , his perormance against the Bengals changes absolutely nothing ! He is a pathetic QB who needs to be shown the damn door as soon as the season is over ! Tom Bragg

Submitted by ThreeKandJ
The Steelers rule and your wife rules!
#1 steeler fan in florida
Beware the Bus!

Submitted by Keith "KT" Thomas
The Steelers made their first trip to Paul Brown stadium today and came away with a win, after a 48-28 thumping of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Wether today's win represents something significant or is really just a blip on the radar screen in yet another late-season collapse is yet to be determined. Considering the roller coaster nature of this season, I don't hazzard a guess here. Regardless, we needed a win, and we need a win badly.

The early play of the defense really bothered me. Dillion seemed to be picking right up where Fred Taylor had left off. It looked to me like we were going to get a repeat performance of not only last week, but last year, (when, if you'll remember, our O stepped it up right as our D headed to the tank.)

But then something funny happened.

Our offense started making plays. Although he didn't get 100 yards today and his final average might not be all that impressive, Bettis was running with as much determination and as much heart as I've seen him run all year. Going into the game there may have been questions as to wether or not other players had packed it in, Bettis was certainly not one of them. He ran hard early, making defenders pay dearly as they struggled to bring him down.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Bettis is a winner. He is tough. And his bruising style of play sets and example for this team. The Steelers will let him depart as a free agent only at their peril.

What impressed me even more though, was yes, the play of Kordell Stewart. OK, he didn't break the 200 mark (although he was taken out early in the 4th,) and we need to consider the quality (or lack there of) of the opposition.

But even taking those two things into account, this is the best I've seen him play in three years. He made good decisions. He made quick decisions. He was effective running. He threw the ball down field. More importantly, he threw the ball down field with confidence. He played decisive football for the first time in a long time. (Our receiver also helped by catching the ball.)

I don't know folks. Every time I've thought had Kordell figured out (either positively or negatively) he's turned around to prove me wrong. But today's game, on the heels of some of the improvement he's shown over the last two weeks, was nice to see.

I was also encouraged by the way the defense picked up their level of play. Its not good that the started flat, but I think today they might have won some of their confidence back. It's a cliche, but its also true: There is a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL. It can be a very fine line. In that respect, confidence can be a big difference maker.

The road from here gets tougher. I-5 Raiders, the Giants, and the Deadskins are up next, all three fighting for playoff positions and/or playoff spots. I won't even talk of sweeping all three ‘cause I think this year it would be quite possible to go 10-6 and not make the playoffs. Still, with a lot of tight races around the league, some interesting scenarios could emerge, ones that the Steelers might find themselves in the middle of.

Or maybe not.

As I said at the outset, today's win might just be a blip on the radar screen in another late season collapse. Perhaps could be something more. Today, neither alternative is certain.

One thing is certain.

The Steelers themselves will determine the significance of today's game in the weeks to come...

...and whatever that might be - Keep the Faith!


Submitted by Tom Parrotte
Who were those guys? Entering the last fourth of the season, and the offense is carrying the team? Huh? After moving the ball steadily only to turn the ball over against J-ville last week, the Steelers hang 48 on a team? I'm happy with what's happened to the offense, but very concerned over the defensive problems. Hopefully an adjustment can be made before Ty Wheatly goes for 150+. Looking forward to next week!

Submitted by Mike DeLancey
First of all. Glad you are back up and running, and I hope all is well with you and the family.

Now the Game!!

I agree with your comments in regards to Kordell. He played very well and I liked what I saw with his passing. He was putting that ball right on the money with a few exceptions. The offense just MAY BE coming around for the stretch run (if we have a run).

What REALLY bothers me is the defense. Man, they are giving up tons of yards via the run. This defense which has carried us the entire year needs to get re-focused. If they get it back, we have a shot at upsetting Oakland next week.

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MVP Award
Who deserves the game ball for the win over the Bungles?
Kordell Stewart
 ( 73%)
Jason Gildon
 ( 12%)
Hines Ward
 ( 7%)
Kevin Gilbride
 ( 4%)
Jerome Bettis
 ( 3%)
Lee Flowers
 ( 1%)
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