Football is a simple game, yet one of the most difficult. The fundamentals of playing solid football need to be as consistent as bad breath coming back every morning. It’s the same thing day in, day out, week in, week out. Forget all the stra-tee-gery, when you peel back the layers of the onion, you get to the core. Who blocks, who tackles, not once in a while but “All the while.”
The Steelers Monday night opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, never known for their ability to handle success well, are a perfect example. Last year the Bengals were 5-2 at this point in the season, now they come in at 2-5. One area that stands out as a difference over last year is their tackling. Or inconsistency in tackling, to be specific.
The ’09 Bengals were a rowdy group that got after the passer, and played good run defense because they didn’t have mental blows and they tackled well. This years version has at times looked like the Bungles of old.
Last year the Bengals gave up just 5 runs of 20 yards or more all season. This year, not even to the halfway mark, they’ve already given up 8 runs of 20 or more yards and two 100-yard rushing performances to Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis and Atlanta’s Michael Turner. Through their first 12 games of ’09 the Bengals only surrendered one 100-yard rusher.
When you get a look at the 2010 Bengals on tape, poor tackling jumps off the screen at you like a 3-D movie.
Good tackling is being in the right place, come to balance, under and up, drive through to finish with a solid wrap-up. Wash, rinse and repeat.
Just like brushing your teeth.