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Boswell shows his worth, and more ...

Jim Wexell breaks down the good and bad in Steelers win.

From the notebook of a sportswriter who's trying to muster up some whimsy after watching the 49ers beat the Bengals:

* 49ers. See what I did there? Hahahaha.

* Whimsy, it's like riding a bicycle.

* I have no way of knowing this, but I think we can all assume that Chris Boswell's three 49-yard field goals was close to an NFL record for 49-yard field goals in one game.

* Or at least one game in Cincinnati.

* And of course Boswell made that great touchdown-saving tackle. But, you know, that traitor, Randy Bullock, he made both of his kicks and he also saved a touchdown with a tackle as well.

* Bullock's field goals were from 23 and 22 yards, or the 6 and 7-yard line, bringing to point once again how well this Steelers defense plays with its back up against the goal line.

* The Bengals did score two touchdowns from inside the five. The first was a 1-yard sneak on fourth-and-1 after the Bengals were given a first-and-goal at the 1 by Artie Burns. The rookie got beat deep by Brandon LaFell and inexplicably slammed into him in the end zone on a wobbly, awful pass by Andy Dalton.

* But the Walton Gang stopped the Dalton Gang three times before giving up the TD on a QB sneak.

* The second Bengals touchdown was scored on a four-yard run by Jeremy Hill against the Steelers' nickel front. That was a mistake. It was third-and-1 from the 4. The Steelers should've at least had a nose tackle on the field. Too cute sometimes vs. 3-WR sets.

* Of course, Hill's folly with the Terrible Towel came next and we knew it was curtains for the Bungles.

* For the game, but The Curse of the Towel will no doubt carry over for Hill and/or the Bengals because he further damned it with a vulgar tweet following the game.

* Hill deleted the tweet in a late rush at wisdom, but he no doubt was too late.

* The Walton Gang is kind of a takeoff on the the Old West and the old TV show because L.T. Walton started in place of Cam Heyward and was suddenly thrust into the role of longest-tenured veteran on the DL when Stephon Tuitt left the game with an injury.

* Tuitt's injury is the very bad news behind the smile today. Fans want to enjoy the win over the Bengals, but if that was Tuitt's last game of the season, this was the definition of a Pyrrhic victory.

* As my host -- message board savant Stillerfreak -- said on my last day here in Ohio, "It's a good thing the Steelers have a lot of good linebackers."

* I guess that would be one way of looking optimistically at it. And, to that point, the Steelers did allow only 38 yards of total offense in the second half with the Walton Gang up front. Not sure L.T. had much to do with it, but he and Javon Hargrave and Ricardo Mathews and Big Dan McCullers allowed Ryan Shazier and the other L.T., Lawrence Timmons, unfettered access to the Bengals running game.

* The Bengals gained only 8 yards on 7 carries in the second half. And Rex Burkhead carried only once in the second half for 9 yards. What is Marvin Lewis thinking by not using his Wonder Dog more often?

* I'll finally concede that Timmons has slowed in pass coverage, but he's still a missile coming through the front against the run.

* So after Hill's touchdown, and before the Towel went to work with its magic, Fitzgerald Toussaint returned a kickoff to the 19. From out of the end zone.

* I didn't believe in hard-and-fast rules for return men until then. Toussaint must -- MUST -- down every kickoff in the end zone whenever given the chance.

* I had assumed since the beginning that Toussaint was back there to block for the other guy and return only the errant kicks in rare instances. But that traitor Bullock knew exactly where to go with the ball.

* After another stand by the Steelers inside the 10 resulted in another short Bengals field goal, Bullock went back to Toussaint, who pulled an horrific spin move out of his repertoire to return the kick to the Pittsburgh 15. That Ben Roethlisberger was able to direct the offense to an end-of-half field goal may have turned the game around, but Toussaint certainly didn't help the effort.

* I was on line with the cross bar for that 49-yard kick at the stadium, as well as for another one, and I swear the hand of God helped those babies get over the bar.

* The second half had nothing to do with coaching, the players swear, other than Mike Tomlin telling them to focus and take it one play at a time. So, I guess that's good coaching.

* Not that Tomlin's going to win any Coach of the Year awards from online Steelers fans. My phone blew up calling for his firing after he decided to go for two points with a 4-point lead. I just shrugged because I really didn't care that much.

* I didn't need the point to land either way to win an over-under, either.

* Myself, I would've kicked the extra point, but "the chart" has always called for 4-point leads to be made into 6-point leads late in games. Not that I care what the chart says, and that chart may even be moot -- along with online thinking -- because extra points are longer now and not automatic, as the Bengals know so well this year.

* Why do you think they have a traitor kicking for them?

* I jest, of course. I had a great uncle who pitched middle relief for the 1919 Black Sox. Late in the season, according to family legend, he was asked to pitch for Eddie Cicotte because the owner didn't want to pay Cicotte a bonus for winning 30 games. My uncle refused, and was cut.

* And now you can better understand the players' mindsets when they threw the Series.

* But my family history tells me Bullock should've just said no to the Bengals after spending a week with the Steelers, the organization he came to truly love.

* And I'm sure you all understand why. Whatever comes this week, it's been a great ride.


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