The Bengals know Steelers safety Troy Polamalu well.
Too well, actually.
Both of Polamalu’s regular-season interception return touchdowns have come against the Bengals, with each in a Pittsburgh victory.
Polamalu’s 11-season Steelers career began in 2003, the same year Marvin Lewis began coaching the Bengals.
Asked about the Steelers’ playmaking safety on Thursday, Lewis shared a perspective rooted in experience.
“He does a great job of studying the opponent,” Lewis said, according to a transcript from the Bengals. “He knows your formation tendencies and personnel tendencies. He does a great job of getting himself in position to make plays. You have to account for him, and you have to understand that if this is something unfolding the way you ran it the last couple weeks, he’s probably going to beat you to that spot if you don’t get there in a hurry.”
The 32-year-old Polamalu played every snap in Pittsburgh’s Week One loss to Tennessee, notching six tackles, including a perfectly timed takedown of Titans quarterback Jake Locker (see 2:25 mark of video). In a dead sprint, Polamalu tackled Locker just as he took the snap.
When Polamalu is healthy, the Steelers’ defense can create a little more mayhem.
As Lewis sees it, that’s a product of preparation.