A little bit of this, and a little bit of that, was pretty much all about the rivalry with the Bengals this week.* *
- Payback time:* *A 16-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 1 is something that is still on the minds of Steelers' players, and something they are looking to avenge this Sunday when the two teams meet at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
"We have a big game this week," said guard David DeCastro. "We kind of owe them one. We are going to be ready; they are going to be ready. It's going to be a fun week. We didn't play well, we didn't block for Ben (Roethlisberger) last time. We have to be better up front and that is our goal.
"We don't like them, they don't like us. It's as simple as it can be."
- The time is now:* *With four games remaining in the regular season, and fighting for a playoff spot, this week's game has more than a lot riding on it.
"It's put up or shut up week," said defensive end Cam Heyward. "They have the best record in the AFC North. You tip your hat to them. We're looking forward to the challenge."
Protecting the ball:* *Turnovers haunted the Steelers offense in the 16-10 loss to the Bengals, and that is one area where they know they have to turn it around. Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted three times, and protecting the ball is a key this week.
"We have to be more efficient, we have to run the ball better, run the ball more and control the clock and not turn the ball over," said tackle Marcus Gilbert. "We have to make plays. They know what type of team we are and are not going to take us lightly.
"They stole a game. We are not going to let this one get out of our hands. This week is different. We are going to wear this one on our sleeves this week.
We can't turn the ball over. Our defense played well. As an offense we didn't do enough to get the job done."
Special delivery: Antonio Brown, who was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the Colts that included a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown, likes the direction the offense has been headed, and where they can continue to go.
"I think we are locked in. We continue to make positive strides and get better. We look forward to the challenge. It's December football. We are built for it. It's time to win games and get better each day." * *