Bengals should heed, Steelers are looking super
By Alan Robinson, Associated Press
Updated 8:12 AM Wednesday, November 11, 2009
PITTSBURGH — At the same time the Colts and Patriots are looking ahead to their pivotal AFC game in Indianapolis on Sunday night, Nov. 15, they might be tempted to peek over their shoulders at the Steelers.
With a look of worry, too. The Super Bowl champions are gaining on them.
Winners of five in a row, the Steelers are looking again like a team no one would willingly play in January. Or February.
The Denver Broncos might pass along this message to the Cincinnati Bengals: The Steelers aren't much fun in November, either.
The Steelers (6-2) appear to have long since moved past their last-minute losses to the Bears and Bengals that occurred with star safety Troy Polamalu injured and out. Their defense-driven 28-10 victory in Denver on Monday night put them in position to take over sole possession of the AFC North lead if they beat Cincinnati (6-2) on Sunday.
In their last two games, the Steelers have been dominant defensively and effective offensively in defeating two teams that were unbeaten only a couple of weeks ago, the Vikings (7-1) and the Broncos (6-2).
"We pride ourselves on being a great, dominant road team," said wide receiver Hines Ward.
What effectively is a three-game swing resulting from a single afternoon also makes Sunday's AFC North game vitally important to both the Bengals and Steelers.
If the Steelers win, they would lead the Bengals by one game and own plenty of momentum, plus a soft closing schedule. Should the Bengals win, they would essentially lead by two games because they would own the tiebreaker based on beating the Steelers twice.
Big games between the Bengals and Steelers have been rare since the 1980s, but this is clearly one of them.