Thoughts From The Pressbox

Dale Lolley filed this report following the Steelers' 42-21 win in Cincinnati:

I was told by people in the know that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was in a bad mood the week leading up to game against the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago.

Conversely, Tomlin was said to be a in great mood this week in the lead up to the game against the Bengals, one they won going away, 42-21.

Perhaps Tomlin had seen some things on tape that scared him against the Saints and hadn't seen similar issues from the Bengals.

Or, perhaps Tomlin realized that his team feeds off of him.

Part of being a head coach in any sport is giving off the right vibe during the buildup to a game.

"He was into it. He was pumped up," said Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey. "When your leader is like that, it brings everybody else up. It was huge today, we needed it."

@ Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell joined some lofty company on Sunday with his third consecutive game of over 200 or more yards.

Bell matched the great Walter Payton in that feat. Payton, the only other player in NFL history - HISTORY! - did it in 1977.

"Second ever? That’s pretty good company, huh?" said guard David DeCastro. "That’s a cool stat. We’ve got three more left. Hopefully he can get another one."

"Wow!" said Pouncey. "That’s saying a lot right there. That speaks for itself. I hope he stays on our team forever then. Seriously."

It was a big accomplishment for Bell. But he might want to send his offensive linemen a nice Christmas gift - DeCastro in particular.

Bell followed DeCastro around the left end so often in this game, Bell should have just hooked up a sleigh to the guard's back and rode though the massive holes like Santa Claus.

"We ran the same play, two, three, four times in a row," said Bell. "Those guys couldn't stop it, so we continued to run with it."

@ You would have thought that in a game against the Steelers, who have now allowed 13 pass plays of 40 or more yards, including two Sunday, the Bengals would have tried more deep plays.

But it's obvious that their coaching staff has no faith in Andy Dalton to not turn the ball over in those situations.

In fact, the Bengals got lucky that a third deep pass that was intercepted by William Gay, on a fantastic play on the ball, was overturned by penalty.

And Dalton hung a fourth deep ball up long enough that Antwon Blake made a nice play on it, with Mike Mitchell coming over and laying a big hit on A.J. Green to assure he wouldn't catch the rebound.

Dalton must have thrown 25 passes that were within five yards of the line of scrimmage in this game. And with no running game to speak of, it was only a matter of time before the Steelers made something happen.

@ Doesn't the run defense look much better with Steve McLendon and Stephon Tuitt out there so often?

Throw out a 20-yard TD run by Dalton on a blown assignment, read-option play, and the Bengals had 20 carries for 66 yards.

@ Todd Haley takes a ton of criticism, but how about the guts it took in a seven-point game to call for a bomb down the sideline from your own end zone?

@ Mike Adams was taking a lot of criticism on Twitter during the game for being awful.

The Steelers didn't allow a sack on 39 pass attempts and ran for 193 yards.

We should all be so awful.

@ I picked against the Steelers this week but with the caveat that it wouldn't surprise me if they won. In fact, I figured the Steelers, Ravens and Browns would all win, just because that's the way the AFC North has gone this season.

Only the Browns blowing a late lead to the Colts in a game they led the entire way screwed that up.

@ I've written this before, but does anyone doubt the Steelers' pick of Bell in the second round of last year's draft now?

The only back taken ahead of him last year, Giovani Bernard, had nine touches for 36 yards Sunday.

Bell had 32 for 235.

He now has 1,924 yards this season. Bernard and Eddie Lacy, the player fans wanted last season and continued to harp about last offseason, have combined for 1,903 this season, pending Lacy's game Monday night against Atlanta.

To borrow from Ben Roethlisberger, "Who's laughing now, Kevin Colbert?"

@ Speaking of Roethlisberger, that "fractured" wrist sure didn't look too bad when he threw the ball 55 yards down the sideline to Martavis Bryant, did it?

There were some swirling winds at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday, but Roethlisberger was effectively sharp. He wasn't perfect, but he was certainly better than he had been lately.


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