Scouting Report: Bengals

A look at what the Steelers will be up against on Sunday afternoon against the Cincinnati Bengals:

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A TALE OF TWO CINCYS:** The Bengals failed to score a touchdown in their first two games, when they averaged 4.5 points and 258 yards per game in losses at home to Baltimore (20-0) and Houston (13-9). That cost offensive coordinator Ken Zampese his job.

Since quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor has taken over as the offensive coordinator it's been a different offense.

The Bengals have averaged 25.0 points and 346.3 yards per game in three games since the change (a 27-24 overtime loss at Green Bay, a 31-7 win at Cleveland and a 20-16 win over Buffalo).

Quarterback Andy Dalton's passer rating was 47.2 through the season's first two weeks (he had zero touchdown passes and four interceptions). But in the last three games Dalton has compiled a passer rating of 116.2 (with seven touchdown passes and two interceptions).

Wide receiver A.J. Green had 10 catches for 141 yards and no touchdowns in the first two games. Green has 22 catches for 363 yards and three scores in the last three games. Overall, he's on pace for a 1,612-yard season, which would break the franchise record for receiving yards in a season (1,440, Chad Johnson, 2007).

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READ THE RESUME:** Cincinnati is No. 2 in total defense (262.8 yards per game), No. 1 in yards per play (4.2), No. 2 in passing yards per game (159.6), No. 1 in yards per pass play (4.4), No. 2 in sacks per pass play (.10), No. 4 in first downs allowed per game (17.2) and No. 2 in scoring defense (16.6 points per game) through six weeks (five games).

The Bengals have 18 sacks this season and at least one in an NFL-best 34 consecutive regular-season games.

Cincinnati has also been efficient on defense. The Bengals have held opponents without a first down on 25 of 59 total drives. Opposing offenses have failed to make a first down 42.4 percent of the time (No. 3 in the NFL).

YOUTH MOVEMENT: The Bengals' average opening-day age was the youngest in head coach Marvin Lewis' 15 seasons (25.45 years old). Cincinnati's 14 rookie or first-year players on opening day was also the most under Lewis and the average experience (3.75 years) was the fourth-lowest of the Lewis era.

The Bengals have 21 players on the roster who have never taken a snap from scrimmage against the Steelers.

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The Steelers prepare for the Week 7 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

MIXON'S THE ONE:** Rookie No. 2 pick Joe Mixon leads the Bengals in carries (676) and rushing yards (187). Mixon went over 100 yards from scrimmage for the first time (101) on Sept. 24 against Green Bay (62 yards on 18 carries rushing, and 39 yards on three receptions). Mixon scored his first touchdown on 5-yard run on Oct. 8 against Buffalo.  

SHORT-YARDAGE SPECIALIST: Running back Jeremy Hill has scored 21 of his 29 career rushing TDs from the 5-yard line or closer. Hill has 46 such attempts and has scored on 45.7 percent of them.   

SPECIAL EDITION: Cornerback Adam Jones has a 27.0-yard average on three punt returns this season and has five career punt-return touchdowns. Wide receiver Alex Erickson is fourth in the NFL in kickoff returns (26.3 yards per). Kicker Randy Bullock has seven field goals on eight attempts, the longest from 46 yards out. Bullock was 3-for-3 on field goals and 1-for-1 on extra points for the Steelers in a 24-14 win over the Giants last Dec. 4. His lone miss this season was from 48 yards away against Green Bay.  

STAT THAT MATTERS: The Bengals are 75-17-1 in the regular-season games under Lewis when they have a plus turnover differential. They're 28-23 when the turnover differential is even, and 17-66-2 when they turn the ball over more than their opponents.

HE SAID IT: "Tough guys were built for games like this. I know they respect us. We respect them, too. But it's a mean game and it's going to be a mean game on Sunday." _ Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey on Steelers-Bengals to cincinnatibengals.com.

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