Steelers Hoping to Put Cincinnati Out of the Race

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

The defending Central Division-champion Pittsburgh Steelers struggled offensively two weeks ago, losing, 17-7, on a Monday night to the Cleveland Browns before righting themselves in a 20-0 victory over the Houston Oilers last weekend.

The Steelers are appearing in their second Monday night game of the season tonight against the winless Cincinnati Bengals (0-3). A win not only would give the Steelers (2-1) a healthy start toward defending their championship, but give them a 2-1 record in their first head-to-head meetings against their division rivals. A loss would almost certainly take the Bengals out of any contention in the AFC Central.

“This is a like a three-game series,” Steeler cornerback Dwayne Woodruff said. “We had Cleveland, then Houston and now Cincinnati. We know what we have to do.”

Among the things Woodruff and the Steelers’ secondary must do is contain two of the NFL’s top pass-receiving threats in veteran Cris Collinsworth and rookie Eddie Brown. They troubled the San Diego secondary last week in the Chargers’ 44-41 victory, with Collinsworth catching 10 passes for 161 yards.


Bengal Coach Sam Wyche has not yet officially named his starting quarterback, but former Maryland star Boomer Esiason almost assuredly will get the nod after completing 26 of 44 passes for 320 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Chargers.