Three things the Steelers must do to beat the Bengals

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When the Steelers met the Bengals in November they lost a very winnable game at home.

This time around there’s no room for excuses: it’s a must-win game.

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It’s already too late for Pittsburgh to win the AFC North division, given Cincinnati’s three-game lead, but if they lose this week their odds of earning a wild card spot will drop dramatically, and could effectively kill their season.

Here are three things that Mike Tomlin and company need to do differently from last time in order to secure a win.

1. Run it down their throat

In the November 1st meeting the Steelers offense was totally imbalanced. Pittsburgh ran 45 pass plays compared to just 19 run plays, and it makes no sense considering the disparity in the results.

Ben Roethlisberger was unusually rusty in his return from the MCL injury. He averaged just 5.8 yards per pass attempt and threw three interceptions. He was under consistent pressure from Cincinnati’s pass rush the entire game and was sacked three times.

Meanwhile, the Steelers were running the ball extremely well.

Before Le’Veon Bell went down with an injury he was averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Then DeAngelo Williams came in and did even better, managing 71 yards on just nine carries.

Todd Haley needs to run the ball more this time to keep the Bengals defense guessing.