Football in the snow always looks pretty cool, but otherwise this was a pedestrian game. Either way, we're here to put a fantasy wrap on Pittsburgh's 27-10 win over the Bengals, so sit up straight and settle in.
Steelers Wrap: Ben Roethlisberger didn't play with his hair on fire but he kept the sticks moving, throwing for 243 yards and a score and adding a late 8-yard touchdown run. The Bengals rarely got near him in the pocket and Roethlisberger didn't have any turnovers. He got away with one loose throw, but otherwise, the decision-making was good. It's a nice time for Roethlisberger to get some rest, because the schedule gets a lot tougher going forward (at New England, Dallas, at Baltimore, at Tennessee).
Santonio Holmes had his best game in a while (five catches, 84 yards) before leaving the game with a possible concussion. At least he gets extra time to clear the cobwebs and, hopefully, get ready for Week 13. Hines Ward wasn't used much (1-37), though he did lose another 42-yard catch on a penalty. Heath Miller had a strong night blocking, and chipped in four catches, 44 yards and a short touchdown.
It was a forgettable night for Willie Parker (14 carries, 36 yards), who eventually left the game in the third period with a gimpy knee. Mewelde Moore (15-56 rushing, 4-41 receiving) got more bang for his buck, albeit most of his work came against a gassed Cincinnati defense. Obviously you'll want to keep your hands on Moore so long as Parker's status is in limbo. Gary Russell stole three carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Steelers defense didn't go off as expected, finishing with just one sack and one takeaway (a final-minute interception from cover-securing Troy Polamalu). But from a real-life standpoint, it's hard to fault a unit that limited the opposition to 11 first downs and 208 yards of offense. Jeff Reed remains one of the better cold-weather kickers around, clicking on a pair of medium field goals en route to nine points.
Bengals Wrap: Really, there's no new tale to tell here, but you want both sides of the story and we'll give it to you.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had one snappy scoring drive early in the game and he picked up some garbage yards late, but otherwise this offense went absolutely nowhere. Fitzpatrick got just 4.5 yards per attempt for the night (20-for-37, 168 yards), and that paltry line was inflated by Reggie Kelley's 31-yard catch in the final minute. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (4-20) didn't catch a pass after halftime, and while Glenn Holt had an early touchdown, he hurt the team later with two critical drops. Rookie Andre Caldwell (3-26) had the first receptions of his career, and Chris Henry (2-25) made a couple of plays. None of this affects your waiver plans for next week, trust me.
Cedric Benson never got going on the ground, making just 35 yards on his 16 carries (with a long of seven). It wasn't really his fault, the Cincinnati line couldn't open any lanes. Benson had one catch for four yards and showed poor instincts on some other receiving opportunities; it's never been a strong part of his game. He's in for more tough sledding next week against Baltimore.
The Bengals defense was respectable for most of the night, but being on the field for over 35 minutes eventually takes a toll and the Steelers rolled down the field on their final scoring drive. Shayne Graham picked up a late field goal when Marvin Lewis decided to flush any chance of trying to win the game; I'm sure somewhere in Cleveland, Romeo Crennel nodded in agreement.
Photos via AP