A center who knows how to play center
Don't even begin to underestimate the value of a player who understands the nuances of the position. With all due respect to Kelvin Beachum, he's not a center. For whatever reason, the Steelers have prepared Beachum to be a jack of all trades, and in return, they found out, in horrifying fashion, he's a master of none.
A tight end who may not be a tight end, but can block
While that same logic can be applied to the fact Beachum is likely to see snaps at tight end against the Bengals, Beachum knows how to block on the edge. He's basically going to be used as a tackle, but with another tackle next to him. That's something he'll be more comfortable with, and judging by the blocking performances of David Paulson and David Johnson, it will be an improvement. A clean edge will equal more time for the Steelers to actually develop some offensive rhythm.
He has two regular season touchdowns in his career. Both against Cincinnati. He has four interceptions against the Bengals, and he's 7-3 in 10 starts against them. Polamalu looked like the unpredictable and destructive player he's been when healthy against the Titans in Week 1, and the Steelers will let him play cat-and-mouse with Andy Dalton in this game.
Speaking of Dalton...the Steelers have tormented the Red Rifle in each of his four games against Pittsburgh - 64-for-123 (52 percent), four touchdowns, five picks, 5.5 yards per attempt and a 1-3 record. This is perhaps slightly slanted, considering he's shown improvement over those two years, but the Steelers have beaten him plenty of times, and it's a good game to continue their hot hand against him.
The Steelers faced 42 rushes last week against the Tennessee Titans. They gained 112 yards. That kind of commitment to futility can only come through a higher-level mandate to continue doing what shouldn't be done. The Bengals aren't going to run the ball that much. When teams get one-dimensional against the Steelers, their defense tends to lock teams down. Last year, Cincinnati rushed 37 times for 94 yards against the Steelers in two games. The Bengals scored 30 points in two games - and seven of those came off a defensive touchdown.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers vs. Bengals: Everything you need to know
- Polamalu praises Thomas, who was surprised at his promotion
- An open letter to James Harrison
- The Steelers can be better without Maurkice Pouncey
- 5 reasons why the Steelers will beat the Bengals
- Being 'thoughtfully non-rhythmic' against Andy Dalton
- Steelers vs. Bengals: Key matchups: Bengals DEs vs. Steelers OTs
- Week 2 2013: Game time, TV schedule, online streaming, odds and more
- I'm OK with lower expectations about the Steelers 2013 season
- NFL Week 2 Open Thread
- Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson was disappointed in Week 1 performance
- Fantasy Football Week 2: Which Steelers to start/sit