Game Day Notebook

A reunion of Florida Gators; Dick LeBeau on team's turnover shortage; Bruce Arians on playing with a lead; more.

The Cincinnati Bengals' best pass-rusher is hidden on their depth chart, but he's known as a certifiable threat to the trio of Florida Gators who play on the Steelers' offensive line.

"He's their main rusher," said left tackle Max Starks.

"He's tall, long, strong and can run real fast," said center Maurkice Pouncey.

"He's going to be one of the best defensive linemen I'll face all year," said right tackle Marcus Gilbert. "He's a hard cat to block."

And Carlos Dunlap isn't even a starter. Not that he'll sit the bench for long.

"When he came out of college at Florida, all the guys asked me who was the best defensive lineman I went up against," said Gilbert. "I said ‘Carolos Dunlap,' and I was being honest."

Dunlap is a 6-foot-6, 289-pounder who was the MVP of Florida's national championship game win over Oklahoma at the end of the 2008 season.

He had 10½ sacks the following season, but was suspended for the SEC title game after a DUI arrest during which he was found asleep at the wheel of his running car at an intersection at 3:25 a.m.

Dunlap plummeted from top-10 talent to the 54th pick of the 2010 draft. The Bengals chose Dunlap two spots after the Steelers chose Jason Worilds.

"Dunlap should've been a first-round draft pick," said Pouncey. "And he should've played a lot more last year but they had all those guys who were healthy and some of them were well-paid guys at defensive end. He's playing a lot more this year."

As a rotational pass-rusher last season, Dunlap set a Bengals rookie record with 9.5 sacks, 8.5 of which came in the final six games.

This season, again a rotational pass-rusher, Dunlap was blanked the first six games but has again started to come on strong. He had three sacks in the last two games and leads the Bengals with 20 quarterback pressures. He'll play over Gilbert when he's in the game today.

"He's going to be one of those guys you talk about for a long time," predicted Gilbert. "He's going to be one of those great players. He's hard to block. You see it on film now. When he's healthy, the guy's unblockable. I know that very well."


Through nine games, the Steelers have created only four turnovers by their opponents – interceptions by Ryan Clark and LaMarr Woodley, and fumble recoveries by Troy Polamalu (touchdown) and William Gay.

Surprisingly, the Steelers have won six of their games, which is something the NFL record-holders in this dubious category could not do. The record for fewest turnovers created is 11 by the Baltimore Colts in the strike-shortened 1982 season, when the Colts went 0-8-1.

The record in a 16-game season is 12 by the Washington Redskins, who went 5-11 that season.

Would the Steelers be invincible with a few more turnovers?

"I wish I had the answer to that question," said defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. "It's very frustrating for us, but we're going to just keep swinging away. I think it's going to turn around. I say that every week."


Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians passes more frequently than Steelers OCs of the past when he's trying to salt away a lead. But even the Steelers' short passing game wasn't aggressive enough last week.

With the Steelers leading by four with 4:30 left, and a first down at their 46-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger threw four passes in six snaps, but the Steelers still had to punt before blowing the lead.

Should Roethlisberger become even more aggressive and throw deeper?

"Maybe," Roethlisberger said with a laugh. "You never know."

But Arians tempered his quarterback's enthusiasm – at least publically.

"No, not really," Arians said. "But yeah we're trying to do everything we can to never put the defense back out on the field."


Out for the Steelers today are WRs Arnaz Battle (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (knee) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring).

Out for the Bengals is TE Donald Lee (foot). Doubtful is CB/RS Adam Jones (hamstring).

Questionable for the Bengals are Dunlap (hamstring), TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) and RB Brian Leonard (knee).


Starks explaining his success last week against Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs (one assisted tackle):

"If he's away from the play he's not one of those guys who's going to run after it. He's going to read, read, read, wait, and then he's one of those guys who'll make a quick move at the end after lulling you to sleep. But playing against him as long as I have, you know those tendencies. There comes a point I think that if he knows you have him beat, he will just stop, instead of trying to fight to pressure."

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