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Steelers Report Card
Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Monday, September 22, 2003


Grading the Steelers:

Ron Wabby, who is in his 22nd season as the head coach at Brashear High School. His teams have won five City League championships.

Grading the Bengals:

Jack McCurry, who is in his 26th season as the head coach at North Hills High School. His teams have won four WPIAL titles.

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Offense: B +

Last week, the Steelers were accused of being one-dimensional, pass first and run if necessary. To be an effective team in NFL, there must be balance. The Steelers used the running of Amos Zereoue and Jerome Bettis to complement the passing game. They rushed 38 times and passed 34. They have quality receivers, but they also have two excellent runners. Use them all.

Offense: C -

Quarterback Jon Kitna was unable to generate any offensive consistency, and without Corey Dillon in second half, the Bengals' running game was non-existent. With the offense not doing very much, maybe it's time for the Bengals to turn to rookie Carson Palmer. It certainly couldn't hurt.

Defense: B +

The best way to beat the Bengals is to keep Corey Dillon on the sideline. The Steelers did just that, which meant that the Bengals would have to win with the arm of Jon Kitna. The defense sacked Kitna four times and had one interception. It was smooth sailing until a late touchdown pass brought the Bengals to within seven points. The return of Joey Porter sparked the defense and keep the Bengals winless.

Defense: B -

For most of the game, the defense played good enough for the Bengals to win. But the fake field goal was disastrous. With the Steelers lined up for a 50-yard field goal, the Bengals' defensive backs went for the block. Why? Someone always is assigned to cover the fake, and that mental mistake cost the Bengals a chance for a win. The road to respectability is not going to be easy for Bengals.

Special Teams: C +

There were two dark spots -- one being a 24-yard chip-shot miss by kicker Jeff Reed and the other was poor punt coverage, which led to a Cincinnati touchdown. The bright spots were the fake field goal that set up the first TD and the return skills of Randle El, who gave the Steelers decent field position.

Special Teams: B

Peter Warrick has a special talent for returning punts. He always seems to provide good field position. Shayne Graham's 44-yard field goal kept the game within reach, and punter Nick Harris had a good game in the battle for field position. They are much improved, and that's a positive for any team.

Coaching: B

Bill Cowher must of watched "old" game tape and realized he must have a balance on offense to win in the NFL. The fake field goal was a nice touch, along with the game plan to use both of his skilled running backs.

Coaching: B -

Marvin Lewis is doing a good job in rebuilding the once-inept Bengals. The defense is much improved, and if Dillon returns to all-pro form, the Bengals will be able to establish an offensive balance. Palmer is the quarterback of the future. It's not going to improve with him standing on the sideline. Get him in lineup, there's nothing to lose.

Team Score: 90

Team Score: 83






Super Bowl performance



Division title contenders



Wild Card possibility



Shooting for high draft picks in 2004



Check waiver wire

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