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Polamalu's picks prime Steelers' defense

There was lots of speculation about what was wrong with the 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers.

After Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, there's no mystery. The problem with the 2009 Steelers was the absence of safety Troy Polamalu.

No ifs, ands or buts about it.

Polamalu makes the Steelers. Without him, they simply are an average team.

With him, he turns a team with a banged-up offensive line and a quarterback that looks like he can barely walk and breathe into a title contender.

Polamalu's interception return for a touchdown Sunday kick-started the Steelers and turned the Bengals into the Bungles.

Another Polamalu interception and a LaMarr Woodley pick-six later, and the Steelers beat the Bengals 23-7.

It was quite a showing by the defense. And it all happened because of Polamalu.

Polamalu's play the past couple weeks elevates him into the frontrunner for the defensive player of the year award.

More importantly, it sets the Steelers up for a long playoff run.

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