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Tomlin: 4 things you must know vs. Bengals


Still going strong:** Linebacker James Harrison was all over the field for the Steelers on Sunday, with seven tackles, and 1.5 sacks. He was a menacing force that the Kansas City Chiefs didn't have an answer for. But, while his performance highlighted an exceptional day for the defense, Coach Mike Tomlin said it didn't top some of his past performances.

"You have to remember the mid-2000s (and) the type of animal he was," said Tomlin. "I'll take the guy that played yesterday. James plays with a great deal of emotion and desire. He's got great football character. Obviously he's got a lot of talent, but he's got 37-year old talent as opposed to late 20-year old talent like he used to have and there's a difference."

  1. Plenty of depth:* *The Steelers have had eight different starters at linebacker this season, including Jason Worilds, Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Jarvis Jones, Sean Spence, Arthur Moats, Vince Williams and Harrison. And while coaches would ultimately like to have a consistent four all year, it's definitely shown the depth the team has at the position and is beneficial at a key time of the year.

"I am happy that we discovered we have really good depth and guys can ante up and be significant reasons why we are successful," said Tomlin. "You like continuity, but we haven't been afforded that due to a myriad of reasons. The guys have been doing a nice job of answering the bell when called upon and working together, particular with some of the rotations we are playing. We are playing a lot of people." 3. **

Even playing field:** It was just three weeks ago the Steelers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 42-21 at Paul Brown Stadium. But, despite the fact that they are playing an opponent they are familiar with it really isn't an advantage for the black and gold this week.

"It's the same for us as it is for them," said Tomlin. "We are familiar with them because we play them a lot. They're familiar with us. We are recently familiar with them from a matchup standpoint, but so are they. It's significant ball. It's a big game for both teams. From that standpoint and perspective, the playing field is level."  4.

Right in line:* *After a few years of dealing with shuffling offensive linemen in and out due to injury, the Steelers line has had a steady group of five on the field this year and that is one of the attributes that has led to their play. But there is another key factor.

"If you look at this unit, we have third, fourth, fifth year guys in that unit," said Tomlin. "If you subtract two and three years, that's a significant amount of time from a football experience standpoint. It's not only the group is gaining cohesion in terms of the number of people playing. The group is gaining cohesion because those that are playing are becoming experienced players."

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