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Mike Tomlin lauds Steelers defensive back rotation, will deploy similar rotation vs. Bengals

The Week 13 game against the Indianapolis Colts saw the first significant playing time for Brandon Boykin in the 2015 season. It was deemed a success, and will continue in Week 14 according to Mike Tomlin.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers 45-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 13 was more than just the team's highest output of points in 2015, it was the first time Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler deployed a defensive back rotation which included Brandon Boykin. The rotation paid dividends on many levels as Boykin not only had an interception, but it allowed players like Antwon Blake to stay fresh on special teams.

In fact, in Mike Tomlin's press conference Tuesday he talked about Blake being better suited to play special teams when he wasn't playing his usual cornerback position full-time. Maybe some lip service there from the head coach? No doubt about it, but Tomlin did say he liked the rotation and plans to use it against this week when the Steelers travel to play the Cincinnati Bengals.

The combination of William Gay, Ross Cockrell, Blake and Boykin will be tested regularly by Marvin Jones, A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Mohamed Sanu on Sunday in Cincinnati, and if the Steelers want to continue their push to the postseason, a win Sunday is of critical importance.

The Pittsburgh secondary looked improved against the Colts in Week 13 on the prime time stage, but it is no coincidence the Steelers' pass rush was firing on all cylinders either. The Steelers were able to get 5 quarterback sacks and 7 quarterback hits throughout the evening. Moving the quarterback as much as the Steelers did will certainly aid a sagging secondary, and will have to be the recipe for success against Cincinnati.

Quarterback Andy Dalton has been sacked 20 times throughout the 2015 season, a very reasonable number for the Bengals, which shows a strength along the offensive line. In their last meeting in Week 8, Pittsburgh sacked Dalton 3 times, and forced him to throw two interceptions on the day. Throughout the process the team held Cincinnati to their second lowest point total of the season (16).

It will have to be more of the same for the black and gold if they want to leave Cincinnati with a win, and put off their AFC North Championship celebration another week.