| | Steelers Look to Run Against Cincinnati
The last time they played the Cincinnati Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to beat them in a shootout. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger set career highs in every category while going 29-of-41 for 386 yards and three touchdowns. The problem with that strategy is that it won’t work very often against the high-powered Bengals.
Most people expect the Steelers to try a different strategy on Sunday – run the ball.
"I know the Steelers would love to come in and run the football," Bengals running back Rudi Johnson said.
Talking about the number of passes, Steelers running back Jerome Bettis said, "Not 40, that's too many. That's usually a sign of being behind."
"Thirty? Well, that's still a little high," he said. "I think 25 is about the optimum number. I'm comfortable with that."
In the past 31 games, the Steelers are 30-0 with one tie when a running back reaches 100 yards. Oct. 23 they ran 47 times for a season-high 221 yards, setting up a 27-13 win over the Bengals.
In the rematch the Steelers ran only 28 times while throwing it 41 times. "The last time we played them at home, we threw a lot more," said Roethlisberger, who hasn't thrown more than 20 times in any game since. "I think if we don't turn the ball over, then we probably win that game. So if it comes down to that, I think we can (win)."
"If we don't turn the ball over, we win that game," Ward said. "That's just point-blank.
"We may not be a passing team, but if they keep putting eight or nine (at the line of scrimmage) and we're not getting anything done, then you have to pass the ball. You pay the quarterback big money, you pay the receivers to make big plays. You have to go out and use them."
Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis had his players watch film of their win in Pittsburgh this week to remind them of what they need to be as a defense.
"Just to see the kind of passion we played with in that game, even when things didn't go right," defensive tackle John Thornton said. "That's how you've got to play. And when you don't, the result will be what happened (in Kansas City) when you don't play a game like everything's on the line."
"Guys in this locker room are used to playing Pittsburgh, so it's not like there's anything mysterious out there," linebacker Brian Simmons said. "We know who they are and what they're about."