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NFL WEEK 9 : MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Bengals face daunting task

November 08, 2010|Sam Farmer

A year after the Cincinnati Bengals kicked off a five-game losing streak for rival Pittsburgh, the Steelers want to return the favor.

The Bengals have lost four in a row heading into Monday night's game against Pittsburgh (5-2), a team they swept last season.

"I don't know if there's a worse feeling than losing a bunch of games in a row," Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said. "This is definitely a low for this group and a low for myself, but in no way are we packing it in."

For the 12th time in their 43-season history, the Bengals failed to win in October.

Beating the Steelers is a daunting challenge for the Bengals, who have lost six of seven home games to Pittsburgh during the Ben Roethlisberger era. The Steelers quarterback has had 12 touchdowns and four interceptions in those games.

Until last season, Roethlisberger had an 11-0 record when playing in his home state of Ohio.

That ended when the Steelers lost road games to both the Bengals and Browns.

Now, the Steelers are coming off a Halloween fizzler in New Orleans, where they couldn't get in sync on offense and lost, 20-10.

"You can't make excuses. We have to play better," Roethlisberger said. "We never got into any rhythm. This is definitely a gut check for us. We got knocked down a little bit, and now it will be interesting to see how we will bounce back."

When the Steelers are playing their favorite style, everything starts with the run. In its last nine games at Cincinnati, Pittsburgh has averaged 162.1 yards on the ground.

That's more than double what Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has averaged in his last four games (67.8 yards), and the Steelers were stonewalled on three consecutive runs inside the one-yard line in the loss to the Saints.

Mendenhall could see bigger lanes against the Bengals, who are ranked 23rd in rushing defense and have given up more runs of 20 yards or longer (eight) than they did all of last season (five).

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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