After three straight grueling weeks on the road with each game coming down to quite literally the last play of the game, the Steelers did what we all hoped they would to the Bengals on Sunday at Heinz Field - make it easy.
They dominated Cincy from the start with little to no pushback the entire day behind an offensive explosion from Big Ben as he threw for four touchdowns and gave us something we only want to see in the exact scenario it was given to us on Sunday: Mason Rudolph in garbage time.
All that's been talked about nationally over the last week was "sure the Steelers are 8-0, but it's not an impressive 8-0". People were making it the "hot" or "trendy" pick for the Bengals to come in and beat the Steelers.
They did two things good teams do in my opinion. One, they came out and beat a bad team's ass which is what an undefeated team is supposed to do. And two, they learned from last week's shitshow in Dallas and fixed it this week against another bad team. Last week the Steelers made it as vanilla as possible for Garrett Gilbert, and it showed. It was easy for him because Keith Butler said "let's not mess it up" instead of "let's fuck them up".
That's not how it was from the first drive for the Bengals on Sunday. They let their cover guys cover, their rushers rush, and they made life really hard for Joe Burrow. Thank God.
9-0 for the first time in franchise history. Let's hand out some game balls.
The common joke this week now will be "maybe Big Ben should never practice" after Roethlisberger missed all of last week due to COVID protocol. 333 yards, 4 TDs, 0 turnovers. Dude now has 22 TD and 4 INT on the season. He apparently won't win Comeback Player of The Year because Alex Smith miraculously returned, but the fact the Steelers are where they are right now and the numbers Big Ben is putting up should at least put him in the convo of MVP.
The growing connection between Diontae and Big Ben has been a joy to watch. He was the Steelers leading receiver on Sunday with 9 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. There were plays left on the field, too. The scary thing is there's still room to get better, but you can see more and more every week why the Steelers took him in the 3rd round in 2019 out of Toledo and why they actually had a first round grade on him. A stud.
Another day at the office for TJ Watt. 4 tackles, two tackles for loss, 4 QB hits on Joe Burrow, and two huge sacks including one that booted the Bengals out of field goal range at the end of the first half. Those two sacks brought him to 9 on the year which is tied for the league lead. Well on his way to yet another double-digit sack season.
Three passes defensed from Joe Haden on Sunday and I believe all three of them were on third down. One of the very few things that Jonathan Vilma said on the broadcast that I agreed with is that Joe Haden is a savvy vet. He knows the down and distance, understands what route combinations are likely going to come, breaks on the balls and makes plays. Thankful everyday day that he's a Steeler.
The World's Team is 9-0 heading into late November. Enjoy it, and let's keep it rolling.