It is no secret in the NFL that the Cincinnati Bengals have many weaknesses. Possibly, none of them are as crippling as the Pittsburgh Steelers. Just like Superman, the Bengals have their own kryptonite. It isn’t a glowing ore from their home planet, but it comes in the form of a 53-man roster filled with intimidating men wearing gold and black on Sunday.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, unlike Clark Kent, Cincinnati is guaranteed to face their kryptonite at least two times per year and the Bengals don’t have any super powers to shield themselves from the hard hits of the Steelers.
Since the rivalry began in 1970, Pittsburgh leads the series 53-32 and has gotten the “W” in every matchup since the young Andy Dalton became the signal caller in Cincinnati. Even recently when the Steelers and Bengals have been more evenly matched, Cincinnati always comes up on the losing side of the scoreboard at the end of games.
What is it about the Pittsburgh Steelers that stumps the Bengals so often? Pittsburgh’s play calling isn’t full of flash or glitz. Instead, it is hard nose football that pounds opposing teams into the ground, play after play. Is it the Bengals’ stamina or just a mental block when the Steelers take the field?
Whatever it is, the Bengals will have another shot at defeating Kryptonite on Sunday. This time they will be armed with a better, healthier defensive unit than in their earlier matchup this year. They will also have, possibly the most missed weapon of all on their hip; a new and improved running game courtesy of BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
The Bengals are coming into the game much improved at every position and on a second half win streak, whereas the Steelers have been weakened through age and injuries and haven’t been as productive as the season has dragged on. If Cincinnati can play hard nose football the entire four quarters, they will not only have the opportunity to keep their playoff hopes alive and possibly fight for a division title, but they will go face to face with Kryptonite and come out victorious.
With the playoffs on the line and the dignity of the city of Cincinnati hinging on the game, will the Bengals act like the Super Heroes we saw against the defending Super Bowl Champions? Or will they fall prey to their enemy once again?