Coach Mike Tomlin offers some insight on the Steelers' opponent this week – the Cincinnati Bengals.
Q. In the first game vs. the Bengals back in September, was it Cincinnati and what it did or was it Pittsburgh and what it failed to do.
A. We always think our performance determines the outcomes of games. That's just our perspective, because we tend to focus on the things we can control. But you have to acknowledge the Bengals are a good team. They fight, they put together a good plan and they executed down the stretch. So you have to give them credit for finishing the game, but we understand that there were some things that we didn't do, as well.
Q. Cedric Benson averaged 4.8 yards a carry – 76 yards on 16 attempts – in the first meeting. Is the target for the defense around 3.0 a carry?
A. We want to snuff out the run and make the other team one-dimensional, so whatever number that is, it's acceptable. We want to put them into predictable second-down and third-down situations because of what we do vs. the run game. That's always our focus. If you have to put a number on it, OK, it's 3.0 or less.
Q. How much will Chris Henry be missed by the Bengals offense?
A. I don't know how much he will be missed, to be quite honest with you. Andre Caldwell has really emerged. When you think about the Bengals, you think about Chris Henry as the third receiver, but actually, going into the last game and even now, Caldwell has better numbers. So really, I think the issue for them is fourth receiver, and potentially what's going to happen in four-wide situations, as opposed to third wideouts.
Q. Do they ask Caldwell to stretch the field vertically?
A. He does, and he has. He has been an AFC North killer, if you will. He beat us with a catch in the end zone late in the game, and I think he's also done it against Baltimore twice. This guy is adept at doing big things in divisional play.
Q. On the last drive by the Bengals in the first meeting, was the killer the pass to Laveranues Coles that converted a fourth-and-2?
A. The fourth-and-10 was the killer. On fourth-and-2, sometimes 2 yards people can convert those. There's really no difference between third-and-2 and fourth-and-2 when you're going for it. You like to get off the field on third-and-10, and you particularly like to get off the field on fourth-and-10.
Q. What are the keys for the Steelers in this game against the Bengals?
A. We have to come out and play with great tempo. We can't blink. This is good on good, and a lot of times those games are determined in 60 or 60-plus minutes. We can't ride the emotional roller-coaster. I trust that our guys won't.