The Pittsburgh Steelers will be having a reunion that the Steel City has been missing for some time. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant, and Antonio Brown will be taking the field together and bringing back the attack of the Killer B’s. The Steelers are getting their big guns back just in time for an AFC North battle against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The timing is perfect for the Steelers to break out their bumblebee throwback duds from 1934. The town will be buzzing with adrenaline for the game. The Bengals are 6-0 and sit atop the division with a two and a half game lead over the Steelers. A win at Heinz field could start the ball rolling for the defending champs. Last year, the Steelers caught fire under similar circumstances.
Going into a three-game home stand, the Steelers stood at 3-3. The AFC North was crowded and waiting for a team to claim dominance. The Steelers once again showed dominance in prime time and defeated the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. That drubbing was the start of a three game winning streak which propelled the Steelers to 7-4 before the bye week. After going on another four-game winning streak, the Steelers took control of the division. The Bengals were the victim of bookend loses during the stretch.
With the Bengals coming to town, the Steelers are hoping to go on another tear and overtake the division leader.
The last time the Killer B’s were together was against the Bengals. The Steelers won that game and marched into the playoffs. That win at Heinz Field showed the effectiveness of the tandem when they’re together. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger had 317 passing yards and two touchdowns. Brown had 128 receiving yards and a touchdown. Bryant had a touchdown and Bell had 100 yards rushing. Bryant was inactive for the first six weeks last season, and the Steelers averaged 20.6 points per game while going 3-3. In the final 10 games, all with Bryant active, the Steelers averaged 31.2 per game and went 8-2.
“They’re all special players,” offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert said. “They made the magic happen with our offense. Just having them rolling back in sync together will be a boost for this team.”
The Steelers have had guys rotate in and out of the lineup. But getting all the pieces together will be something special for the Black and Yellow. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley is looking forward to the reunion.
“I’m just happy to have guys healthy,” Haley said. “Obviously, we’ve had guys in and out, but that’s life in the NFL. It’s never going to be perfect, but the more guys you have out there practicing together and working together the better it is for us as coaching staff.”
With Roethlisberger out, the Steelers saw opposing defenses adjust to what they were doing. Bryant and Big Ben’s return means that Brown will be able to take advantage of single coverage. He’ll force the defense to either play him man-to-man or swing over extra help. That will give the Steelers an advantage they haven’t had in some time.
No one can deny that the Bengals are a strong team, but they do have weaknesses. Cincinnati is ranked No. 21 in yards allowed per game while allowing an average of 4.9 yards per carry on the ground. This should be a feast for Bell, who rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns in the Steelers Week 14 win over the Bengals last season.
The Steelers are glad to have Roethlisberger back at the helm. But they’ll also be happy to see the return of Todd Haley’s playbook. It doesn’t have to be scaled down anymore.
[Feature Photo by Joe Sargent / Getty Images]