Anatomy of a Play
The reality is that Cincinnati is still an NFL team and they're playing hard. They are 1-0-1 in their last two games and earlier this season they took the 9-1 Giants to overtime.
Heading into the fourth quarter, it was still a one-score game. The Steelers led 17-10. But two critical plays turned what might have been a good finish, into a rout.
There were several points of note on Washington's touchdown:
- Nickel cornerback Geoffrey Pope, the rookie that Washington ran by, is no longer on Cincinnati's active roster.
The first half of the Anatomy breaks down Washington's touchdown and illustrates those key points.
The second half of the Anatomy gives props to the Bengals improvement on defense. We show a successful blitz from last weekend's game against the Eagles where safety Chris Crocker came through Philadelphia's line untouched and dropped McNabb for a 7-yard loss. There are two key notes from Crocker's sack:
- The Bengals are blitzing more and blitzing better.
- Their nickel corner is no longer rookie Geoffrey Pope but rather veteran Jamar Fletcher.
It's no secret that Pittsburgh's defense is one of the best in the NFL and it's unlikely that Cincinnati will score more than 20 points. So in order to win Thursday's game, the Bengals defense probably needs to hold the Steelers below 20 points. The best way to accomplish that is to pressure Ben Roethlisberger.