9-3. 35-7.

For Steelers fans, those are two beautiful numerical strings, a record and a final score, to soak in here in the aftermath of a four TD win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field.

Consider that in the Bill Cowher Era, the team had 9-3 records to start a season three times (1992, 2001, and 2004) over a fifteen year span. Current coach Mike Tomlin has overseen it happening now for a fourth time in five seasons.

And the blowout win represented the 8th win in 10 tries against division rival Cincinnati, a team that came in with playoff aspirations and left with playoff desperation.

It certainly was a team victory in every sense. The offense was four-for-four in converting red-zone trips into touchdowns. The defense allowed just 232-yards for the game in addition to the single digits in points. And the special teams stole the show, with a first half featuring: a blocked FG, a forced fumble on a kick return, a punt return for a score, punts of 59- and 57-yards, and excellent coverage play led by Curtis Brown's two open-field stops.

Here are some more notes and quotes from the Steelers-Bengals game:

-The Doug Legursky story continues to be a fascinating one. The undrafted lineman out of Marshall already had a Super Bowl start at center under his belt (the first one at that position of his NFL career), and coming into today had 11 league starts all told. But this was the first complete game he played at left guard since beating out $20 million dollar man Chris Kemoeatu for the job. Last week he was forced to switch to center when Maurkice Pouncey left due to illness. 7 of his previous starts have been at right guard. He's dealt with shoulder and toe injuries this year. The Legursky Left Guard Era has now officially begun, and it was a solid start with the run game producing a 4.1 per carry average, 136-yards rushing against the Bengals' 5th ranked run defense. Legursky pulled well on the Steelers' signature power runs to the right, and paved the way for running back Rashard Mendenhall's first score of the ballgame.

-OK, technically it wasn't a complete game at left guard for Legursky as Pouncey was pulled in mop-up time and Doug took his place at center. But still, it was a game of continued continuity for the new look O-Line. Ramon Foster was nicked up late in the game, but said afterward he thinks he'll be OK to play Thursday night vs. Cleveland. The pass protection held up well, too, with QB Ben Roethlisberger taking just two sacks (one a coverage sack).

-LaMarr Woodley left the game on the defense's second series with, as he described it, a hamstring that was "just a little sore." I noticed Woodley walking with a slight limp even late last week around the team facility, too, and it may be a process for him to return full-time. Woodley told the Trib's Scott Brown he may have to rotate playing time for the rest of the season with Jason Worilds.

-Steelers receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown had bounce-back games after reduced effectiveness against Kansas City last week. Brown, in addition to his 60-yard punt return TD, caught a key 45-yard ball on a crossing route to set up the team's first score. He also showed his toughness late when taking a big hit from Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson near the sideline. As Brown said, "that was one of my first NFL big hits. You've got to be able to get up, that's what this league is about."

-Wallace had two TDs to give him 8 on the season, and he drew a 45-yard penalty on a pass interference to set up the Steelers' second score. The second Wallace touchdown featured tough running, turning a wide receiver screen into a 19-yard dagger-in-the-heart slice to the endzone. Pacman Jones had given Wallace a good lick to dislodge a catch over the middle early in the game, but Mike rebounded from that and from his two-drop game last week to again be a huge factor for the offense. "We're grown men," said Wallace afterwards. "Nobody had to beat it in our heads that we didn't play well [last week]. [The WRs] took it on ourselves to get better. I think all of us showed up today."

-Wallace needs 422 receiving yards to pass Yancey Thigpen's 1997 team-record mark of 1,398 in a season. Wallace's pace is for 77 catches and 1,302 yards. He'll face a few statistically good passing defenses over the final four games, with Cleveland (#1, twice), St. Louis (#8), and San Francisco (#21) remaining on the schedule.

-Here are the other Steelers WR paces for the 16-game regular season:
Brown 66 catches, 1032 yards
Heath Miller 55 catches, 663 yards
Hines Ward 48 catches, 425 yards
Emmanuel Sanders 28 catches, 265 yards

-Roethlisberger is on pace for exactly the same number of yards he threw for in 2009, a team record 4,328 yards passing. Ben was over 100 in his QB rating (117.3), the fourth time this year he's done that and the 45th time in the regular season in his career. Ben also has three 100+ QB rating games in the playoffs.

-Wallace commented on Antonio Brown's touchdown dance celebration, which Brown has termed 'The Brownie Wiggle.' Said Wallace, "that's his trademark dance, but he's got to give me a little flavor. He gives a little more flavor every time he does it, a little more wiggle with it."

-James Harrison's three sack day gave him eight on the year, one behind Woodley for the team lead. It's also the second game this year Harrison's had the 'sack-hat trick.' Mike Merriweather (1984) and Chad Brown (1996) are the only other Steelers who have managed multiple three-sack games in a season since the NFL began keeping that mark in 1982.

-Defensive captain James Farrior's take on the defensive strategy: "We did our normal zone blitzing that we normally do, we didn't change the gameplan much [from the first meeting with Cincinnati]. Guys just played better. I definitely think we're playing well. Our offense kept scoring, and we had great play out of our special teams, finally got my boy into the endzone. That might have been the difference."

-Casey Hampton almost had himself a sack as well, but his lunge for Andy Dalton in the third quarter came up empty. Teammate Brett Keisel said "I had to razz him a little bit on the sideline, because he doesn't get that many opportunities. If 'Hamp' gets a sack you know we're playing well." For the record, Hampton does have nine sacks in his 11-year career.

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