Tomlin on the Bengals

Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at this week's opponent – the Cincinnati Bengals.

Q. What was the toughest part of the loss to the New Orleans Saints?

A. Just that I felt like we were pushing through the difficult portion of the game and we were starting to get on a roll, and I really thought we were going to impose ourselves on them. But of course we lost that football on a fumble late in that contest.

Q. Has Emmanuel Sanders earned a spot on the game day roster for the foreseeable future?

A. If he holds onto the football he has, but that's a big if. He's put the ball on the ground twice. We acknowledge that. He acknowledges that. Part of being a good, young, exciting player is doing the routine things. We're intrigued by the potential, but the routine things are the things that are going to keep him on the field. I like the humble approach to getting better on a day-to-day basis that he has. There are a lot of things to be excited about regarding that young man.

Q. The Bengals have lost four games in a row by an average of right around five points per game. Where do they fall short?

A. Just the significant plays at significant moments. They made those plays a year ago, and that's why they won the division. Often times that's the case here in the NFL. The last time we were in Cincinnati, we had pretty good control of the game and they made some significant plays late, particularly a fourth-and-10 conversion on a check-down to Brian Leonard, their third-down back. Those are the kinds of plays that define winning and losing in this league. We acknowledge that, and I'm sure they do as well.

Q. The Steelers seemed to be in control of the game last year in Cincinnati, but did a couple of red zone failures start to flip things around?

A. We had plenty of opportunities to close that game. We had a third-and-2 in the red zone that we didn't convert. We allowed those guys to convert a fake punt. There were several instances that caused us to lose that game, but we take responsibility for them.

Q. The Bengals have won nine of their last 10 division games, so does that make them a little bit scary?

A. Yes, and that's usually a characteristic of a defending division champion. That's them and not us.

Q. What does the defense have to emphasize to try to keep Carson Palmer in check?

A. Carson does a nice job of getting the ball out extremely quick, especially early in football games. We can't get frustrated. We have to continue to rush the passer. Even when we're doing our jobs, sometimes you beat your man and the ball still is gone. We can't let frustration set in. We have to continue to rush this man, because there are going to be opportunities for us to get there when they're throwing the ball down the field. He really controls the tempo, and maybe the mentality, of the pass rush when he gets the ball out of his hands extremely quickly.

Q. Has Terrell Owens become Palmer's go-to guy as the statistics might suggest?

A. He has. T.O. has done it in every city he has been in. He's a deep-ball guy, he's tough to get on the ground after the catch. He's a savvy, veteran guy who has Hall of Fame-type numbers. We have big-time respect for him, but he's not a one-man show. That guy on the other side – Chad Ochocinco – and Jordan Shipley are playing good football for them.

Q. How is Shipley able to lead the Bengals in yards per catch, with a 14.5?

A. He's working in that slot, and those other guys are garnering a lot of attention, and usually when you have the type of guys they have outside, that dictates a lot of cover-2, which leaves the middle of the field open for someone like Shipley to work against nickel-backs and linebackers and so forth. He's taking advantage of it.

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