And essentially a three game lead with four games to play.
Since I value DJF's opinion, I will post my top 10 friggin' worthless observations on the Stillers' win here:
1. Let's fire Bruce Arians and use the extra money as a signing bonus to extend Ben Roethlisberger. For playcalling, Big Ben is the pick here.
(Seriously, are you guys noticing how much better we're moving the ball when we go no-huddle and Ben calls the plays?) Seriously, I can't imagine where this team would be without him.
2. I am becoming more concerned with Ben's re-emerging tendency to throw horrible picks at horrible times. It started a few weeks ago with the RZ pick against the Bengals, and continued through last night. I actually didn't see the second pick, but the first one was just a terrible throw and a terrible decision. Ben had 15 yards of brown disintegrating grass in front of him, and plenty of soft mud to make the slide.
3. Speaking of "slide," what the crap was up with FWP and losing the football last night? I didn't think he was carrying it loosely or doing stupid things with the ball, but my gosh. 4 fumbles in one game??? And I don't care that a couple were overturned, you can't put the ball on the ground that much. What happens if we get screwed (again) on the challenge? or if we're out of challenges? No excuse for not securing the ball against a defense whose whole MO is to strip the ball.
4. Is there any explicable reason why we kept running the ball to the left when everyone, including the Bengals, knew it was going there? Are Simmons and Colon even worse than we thought? If that's even possible...and the poor footing doesn't help a lot when you're drive-blocking straight ahead.
5. We are badly in need of a true backup RB, worse than I ever imagined. When Willie was fumbling, we had no one else to put in. To repeat the obvious, we need someone that can put two hands on the football and run over some people in the slop.
6. Speaking of slop, I thought the field held up pretty good last night, all things considered. It's hard to know whether or not to fire the groundskeeper or give him a medal for doing what he does with what little he has.
7. I think the slow, sloppy field really hurts our pass rush. Seems hard to get the kind of footing we need to get around the corner.
8. That said, what an AWESOME performance for our D last night, particularly in the RZ. I don't think the Bengals were that out of sync, based on their first drive. I think we made the adjustments and confused them and threw them off their game.
9. When you have that kind of night with Tyrone Carter as your starting safety, you're playing some pretty good defense.
10. Hats off to Hines Ward. He is still the man! But can we keep using Ced Wilson (never thought I'd say that) and get Heat back into the mix to give him some help until SanAntonio returns?