PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with head coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals following the game on December 4, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Sometimes I'll do a 'by the numbers' piece as part of our preview coverage; this week let's make it part of the recap of the Pittsburgh Steelers' convincing 35-7 win at home over the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday.
0 -- Number of defenses allowing fewer yards per game than the Steelers. It took awhile for Dick LeBeau's group to get going, but they've been playing a consistently high, championship caliber now for a number of weeks now.
1 -- Number of times Ike Taylor has caught interceptions in back-to-back games. Taylor picked off Bruce Gradkowski in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win for his second pick of the season, and he'll look to keep the streak alive and match his career high for picks in a season (3) when the Steelers host the Browns Thursday night.
2 --- Number of consecutive games Hines Ward has either led or tied for the team lead in receptions (4 vs. KC, 5 vs. CIN). Ward, of course, surpassed the 12,000 yard mark with his 30 yards receiving, and is now just 10 catches shy of 1,000 for his Hall of Fame career.
3 -- Number of consecutive games the Steelers have rushed for more than 100 yards as a team. In the seven games they've eclipsed the century mark rushing the football, Pittsburgh is 6-1.
4 -- Number of redzone trips for the Steelers in Week 14. Also the number of redzone touchdowns Bruce Arians' offense had. Impressive stuff coming off two games in which they punched it into the endzone just three times in nine trips.
5 -- Consecutive games that Antonio Brown has led the team in either receptions or receiving yards. The second-year WR caught only two passes in addition to his pivotal 60-yard touchdown punt return, but those two catches went for a team high 67 yards.
6 -- Number of coaches in NFL history to have won at least nine games in each of his first five season as an NFL head coach now that Mike Tomlin secured yet another winning season with the team's ninth win of the year with four more games still to play. Tomlin joins George Siefert, Mike Holmgren, Bill Cowher, Chuck Knox and Mike Sherman as the lone six to have accomplished the feat.
8 -- Number of defensive turnovers in the Steelers' past three outings. Afer a historically low volume of turnovers forced in the first half of the season, the Steelers defense now has climbed up to 26th in interceptions (8), and 27th in turnover differential (-6). Not great, but a far cry from the huge hole they found themselves in after turning the ball over seven times in the season opener, and then three more times in a Week 3 win against the Colts.
10 -- Number of redzone trips for opposing offenses the past seven games. It's not only hard to score on the Steelers' defense this year, it's becoming increasingly difficult to even move the ball between the 20s. Great work by Dick LeBeau's unit this week.'
11 -- Number of consecutive games the Steelers defense has held its opponent to 23 points or fewer (0, 20, 17, 17, 13, 20, 17, 23, 17, 9, 7).
12 -- Number of losses by Tomlin against AFC teams compared to 20 wins (20-8) since taking over as head coach in 2007. Tomlin also improved to 8-2 against the Bengals all time, and 4-1 at games played at Heinz Field.
16 -- Number of touchdowns for Rashard Mendenhall in his past 17 games. For all the hand wringing about whether or not Mendy is maximizing his potential, that's a telling stat right there. Mendenhall's two first half scores were his seventh and eighth of the season, and the third and fourth against the Bengals this season.
43 -- Number of games between Cameron Heyward's field goal block and the Steelers' last blocked FG (Week 1 '09 vs. Tennessee). Interestingly enough, Aaron Smith, who Heyward has been playing for since Smith went down with another season-ending injury, was the man responsible for the previous block nearly three seasons ago.