Monday, October 22, 2012
Upon Further Review: Steelers
By Jamison Hensley
Revisiting the Pittsburgh Steelers' 24-17 win at the Cincinnati Bengals:
As soon as reporters started walking into the Steelers locker room Sunday night, inside linebacker Larry Foote yelled out: "What do you have to say about No. 24 now?"
No. 24 is Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, who was the No. 1 target of criticism last week. He responded by silencing A.J. Green, the NFL's leading receiver, in his best game since last season.
It was a different Taylor because he had a different responsibility. Instead of covering one part of the field, he shadowed Green whether he lined up on the right side or the left one.
"I think he does better when we give him that assignment," safety Ryan Clark said. "When he just plays the right side, he doesn’t have the focus when you match him up all over the field."
Taylor had allowed 24 catches and four touchdowns in his first five games. Green had caught 43 passes and averaged an NFL-best 104.6 yards in the first six weeks. It was a mismatch, but not the one everyone expected.
Taylor held Green to one catch for eight yards. That one catch was a touchdown, a fastball pass on a quick slant. After that, Taylor gave up nothing. He played physical against Green but avoided the pass interference penalties that have hurt him so much this season.
In the fourth quarter, Taylor came around Green to break up a third-down pass to force a punt. He may have given up a touchdown, but he still got the last word.
STAT THAT STICKS: 109 -- Rushing yards by Jonathan Dwyer that went up the middle of the defense. He averaged 9.1 yards per rush between or behind the guards, more than triple what the Steelers averaged entering Sunday night, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
OVERHEARD: "We knew what we had a problem with all this season: We couldn't win on the road, especially defensively, we couldn't hold the lead in the fourth quarter and we accomplished that. Even though it's early in the season and we're 3-3, guys are excited. We're pumped up." Foote told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Steelers (3-3) look to go over .500 for the first time this season when they host the Washington Redskins (3-4), who have lost two of their past three games.