Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers: By the numbers

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CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 18: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals calls a play at the line of scrimmage during the first quarter of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 18: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals calls a play at the line of scrimmage during the first quarter of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Some are calling it a must-win game when the Cincinnati Bengals visit Heinz Field in their first matchup of 2017 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here are the numbers you need to know for the Week 7 matchup.

 78.2: Ben Roethlisberger’s passer rating this season

It’s no secret that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had his way with the Bengals in the past, posting a 21-7 record and never missing a game against Cincinnati. So far this season, though, Roethlisberger has not had his signature Big Ben games.

The two-time Super Bowl winner’s only 300-yard game this season came in a 21-point home loss to Jacksonville, where he threw five interceptions and no touchdowns.

Roethlisberger ranks 27th in passer rating this season. He leads only five quarterbacks – Mike Glennon, Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, Joe Flacco and DeShone Kizer – in that category.

17-0: Pittsburgh’s record when Le’Veon Bell gets 23-plus carries

When healthy, Le’Veon Bell has been arguably the best running back in the NFL since he’s been in the league. If the Steelers want to make another deep run in the playoffs, the answer seems to simply be to give him the rock.

Bell was a second-round pick in 2013 out of Michigan State. Since joining the Steelers, they are a perfect 17-0 when he runs the ball 23 or more times in a game.

Le’Veon Bell’s 179-yard performance led Pittsburgh over the undefeated Chiefs last Sunday at Arrowhead. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Le’Veon Bell’s 179-yard performance led Pittsburgh over the undefeated Chiefs last Sunday at Arrowhead. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

In the 2016 postseason, Bell ran 29 times in a win over Miami and 30 times one week later in Kansas City to send Pittsburgh to the AFC title game.

That pattern has continued in 2017. Bell had 15-carry games against Chicago and Jacksonville, the Steelers’ two losses this season.

Bell’s been held under 100 rushing yards just twice in those 17 wins. Two of those six – Dec. 2013, Dec. 2016 – were against Cincinnati.

10: The magic number of points allowed for Bengals’ defense

Around Cincinnati, we like to break things up in eras. The Dark Age era is the 1990s, where the Bengals were the NFL’s laughing stock. The Marvin Lewis era started in 2003 when he was named the ninth head coach in franchise history. The Dalton-Green era began in 2011, when the rebuilding progress started on draft night.

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This number represents the Dalton-Green era. Since 2011, the Bengals have beaten the Steelers just three times in 13 tries, holding them to 10 points each time.

Nov. 2015: 16-10 at Heinz Field

Sept. 2013: 20-10 at Paul Brown Stadium

Dec. 2012: 13-10 at Heinz Field

A stellar defensive performance is a good start for the Bengals to win on Sunday. Cincinnati holds the league’s second-best passing defense, giving up 160 yards per game through the air. Pittsburgh is tops in that category, giving up 154.

118.5: Rushing yards allowed per game by Steelers’ defense

In both of Pittsburgh’s losses this season, they’ve been gashed by the run. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for 218 yards on 35 carries and two touchdowns. Two weeks later, Leonard Fournette went for 181 yards and two scores on 28 carries. Chris Ivory added 41 yards on eight attempts.

The Steelers have allowed 200-plus rushing yards four times over the last two seasons.

While Pittsburgh is susceptible to the run, the ground game has not been Cincinnati’s forte this season.

Joe Mixon’s first NFL touchdown lifted the Bengals to a 20-16 win over Buffalo. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Joe Mixon’s first NFL touchdown lifted the Bengals to a 20-16 win over Buffalo. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Bengals are tied for 28th in rushing yards per game (84). The holes have not been there for the trio of Joe Mixon, Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.

Mixon’s season-high is just 62 yards, coming off 18 carries against Green Bay. The rookie owns the Bengals’ only rushing touchdown of the season, but he had to bounce outside to score that game-winner against Buffalo.

$94,198: Amount of fines paid out by Steelers’ players from win over Kansas City

Pittsburgh’s 19-13 win over Chiefs last week came at a cost – literally.

The trio of Bell, linebacker Bud Dupree and safety Mike Mitchell were all fined, totaling over $90,000 combined.

Mitchell has been the most talked about because he is a repeat offender. He was fined $48,620 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Charcandrick West and $9,115 for a late hit on Alex Smith.

Dupree was fined $24,309 for unnecessary roughness and Bell $12,154 for a celebration penalty.

Next: 3 Keys To Victory Over The Stilluhs

Taking out Bell’s celebration, the on-field incidents just add to the Bengals-Steelers matchup this weekend, one that will feature linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s first game in Pittsburgh since the controversial finish to the 2015 playoff game that forced him to miss last year’s loss in the Steel City.

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