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Mike Tomlin cites Ryan Finley’s mobility as an issue for the Steelers defense

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The Pittsburgh Steelers defense will be dealing with a quarterback who can run for the second straight week.

Cincinnati Bengals v Oakland Raiders Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a Week 11 loss to the Cleveland Browns where the defense saw Baker Mayfield not necessarily run the ball well, but use his mobility to extend plays and create outside the pocket.

These plays, while impromptu, were daggers to the Steelers defense, and Mike Tomlin realizes how this can be problematic in the very near future as the Steelers prepare to face rookie Ryan Finley and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12.

“We’ve got to deal with the quarterback mobility issue, not only because our last performance and the things that Baker [Mayfield] was able to do on extended plays, but [Ryan] Finley is also talented in that area.” Tomlin said during his Tuesday press conference. “I think he had over 50 yards rushing or so last weekend. Created some big plays, some field flipping things for them on extended like plays. We’ve got to be able to deal with his eligibles and we’re familiar with those guys, and their talented.”

The last time the Steelers played the Bengals, it was a Week 4 game on Monday Night Football and Andy Dalton, not Finley, was the man under center. Dalton certainly has some mobility to his game, but not to the extent of Finley. It will be imperative for the Steelers’ pass rush, mainly Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt, to keep Finley in the pocket and allow the front four to do damage from the interior.

When it comes to Finley’s weapons, the Steelers are very familiar with the Bengals’ offensive weapons.

“His [Finley’s] utilization of running backs in the passing game, Joe Mixon, Giovanni Bernard, two proven guys, guys that are big components in that way. We’ve got to do a good job versus [Tyler] Eifert in the passing game at the tight end position. He created some issues for us last time, and historically he’s created issues for us because he’s a tough matchup. He’s an athletic and vertical capable type tight end.” Tomlin said.

However, the biggest question mark would be the availability of A.J. Green. His presence on the field changes a lot of things for the Steelers’ defense.

“Obviously, Tyler Boyd is a quality receiver. A guy that’s capable of working outside and inside and dominating possession downs. We’re cognizant of the possibility of A.J. Green. We realize he worked out in pregame last week. So, we better have a plan in place if he shows up in stadium, and respect the things that he’s capable of doing, but not only the things that he’s capable of doing, the opportunities that he creates for others. Get some two-high safety opportunities. I imagine the running of the football gets easier when guys like him are available. I’d imagine it’s easier to get the ball to guys like Tyler Boyd when he’s available.”

On paper this is a no-brainer pick between the 5-5 Steelers and 0-10 Bengals, but there are facets of this game which could make it a tough matchup. The game is played in Cincinnati, the Bengals have absolutely nothing to lose, the Steelers are coming off their worst performance of the season and are ravaged by injuries.

All the more reason for the team, and fans, to take this Week 12 game seriously. A win catapults the Steelers further into playoff contention, while a loss would be devastating for their postseason hopes.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the game in Cincinnati Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.