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Steelers welcome back Roethlisberger

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The Sports Xchange

Ben Roethlisberger is the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers as preparations begin for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Roethlisberger has missed four games with a knee sprain and bone bruise, and the Steelers were 2-2 with Michael Vick and Landry Jones in the starting lineup.

Roethlisberger will have no limitations when practice resumes Wednesday, coach Mike Tomlin said, adding the decision to install him as the starting quarterback comes without reservations.

“We’ll move forward with Ben as we prepare this week,” Tomlin said.

The game is critical for the Steelers in the AFC North.

Cincinnati is undefeated (6-0) and Andy Dalton might be the one quarterback the Steelers are worried about more than any other this week. The Bengals are fourth in the NFL in scoring (30.3 points per game) and third in total offense (410 yards per game).

Even if Roethlisberger is back and picks up where he left off, Pittsburgh’s defense has to show improvements in some areas.

The Steelers are allowing opponents to convert third downs at a better than a 41 percent clip. That ranks 25th in the NFL. The Chiefs entered the game converting only 27 percent of their third downs, but they converted 56 percent on Sunday.

The Steelers had better fix that because the Bengals come to town converting 46.7 percent of their third downs, second only to New England.

The Steelers also will be looking improve their tackling. The Chiefs had several small gains that turned into big ones because of missed tackles.

“Missed tackles all the way around,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “D-line, linebackers, everybody. We have to get better tackling, and it’s unacceptable. We can’t go up and down on a roller coaster. It has to be consistent and if it’s not, it’s going to be our Achilles heel all year.”

The Steelers beat the Bengals twice last season en route to the AFC North title, including a 42-21 rout in Cincinnati.

“We know for a fact it will be a war,” defensive end Stephon Tuitt said. “It will be physical. They’re going to come here and try to do the same thing we did to them at their place.”

If ever there was a time to secure their playoff positioning in the AFC it’s now for the Steelers, who play their next three at Heinz Field before their off week. They play Cincinnati, Oakland and Cleveland. The end of the schedule isn’t so friendly. The Steelers finish up with three of their final four on the road – all against AFC North foes.


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