Big Ben reacts to Cowher's prediction
• Asked about former Steelers coach Bill Cowher's preseason prediction that Cincinnati would win the AFC North, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said with a straight face, "He's a mastermind. Obviously, he knew something we didn't know.''
• Defensive end Travis Kirschke missed another day of practice, clouding his status for Sunday's home game against Cincinnati. Kirschke sat out against Denver with the injury and was replaced by Nick Eason, who helped the Steelers limit the Broncos to 27 rushing yards. Fullback Carey Davis also missed Thursday's practice with a hamstring injury. Safety Tyrone Carter, the AFC Defensive Player of the Week with two interceptions against Denver, missed practice because of illness. Wide receiver Hines Ward, linebacker James Farrior, cornerback Deshea Townsend and guard Trai Essex all returned to practice.
• For Cincinnati, linebacker Keith Rivers (calf) and guard Evan Mathis (ankle) missed their second consecutive day of practice. Safety Roy Williams (forearm) sat out after practicing on Wednesday. Defensive end Robert Gathers (hip), running back Jeremi Johnson (chest) and defensive end Frostee Rucker (neck) were limited in practice.
"Having been with Chad, nothing he would do would surprise me. He's a great player, and a good guy.'' -- Steelers defensive coordinator and former Cincinnati coach Dick LeBeau on Bengals coach Marvin Lewis preventing receiver Chad Ochocinco from sending mustard to Steelers cornerbacks this week to help them "ketch-up'' with him.
1 -- Number of NFL teams ranked in the top 5 in both offense and defense this week (Steelers).
10 -- Number of defensive takeaways during Steelers' current five-game winning streak.