The Bengals lead the NFL in sacks, but will need to rush with discipline against Ben Roethlsiberger on Sunday. (US Presswire)

During a run of five consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bengals S Chris Crocker lined up for each and every one of them. He's seen enough Steelers besting Bengals to quality for an honorary degree in the topic.

While many reasons pile up to cause these lopsided results Crocker firmly believes the Bengals finally getting over the hump of beating Pittsburgh on Sunday begins and ends with one job.

“The key to this game -- and it’s no secret -- is we can’t let Ben kill us,” Crocker said. “If we get to him we’ve got to get him on the ground. He’s the x-factor, he truly is.”

So it goes for the Bengals, who lead the NFL in sacks and been as disruptive as any team in the NFL against the pass. Their 43 sacks are on pace to break the franchise record. But disrupting never necessarily leads to sacks when chasing Roethlisberger. He's the best in the league at creating unscripted plays and only Peyton Manning has thrown for more yards than Big Ben against the Bengals since Week 2.

Whether it be a pump fake that repeatedly send defensive ends like Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson skyward seeking a block or unorthodox jukes or even tossing tacklers aside, allowing a play to bounce to the perimeter could doom the Bengals on Sunday, and consequently doom their playoff hopes.

“He does such a good job on the pump fakes if he starts to move he gets you off balance,” defensive coordiantor Mike Zimmer said. “So you start to move your hands with the pump fake and then he steps back inside and buys himself some more time. We have to make sure we know where the targets are.”

Johnson (8.5 sacks) and Dunlap (4.5 sacks) both will be responsible for contain in their rush. As fierce as the Bengals like to sprint off the edge, keeping  contain can be a delicate balance.

This will be the eighth game against Roethlisberger for Johnson. Because of Big Ben's unique style combating his moves can be difficult when you never know what he'll try next, but Johnson hopes his experience can pay off when his team needs it most.

“It won't be anything new to me, it will be something I expect,” Johnson said. “Hopefully I can stay focused in and locked in enough to not go for it. In the heat of the game you are moving so fast you are not even really thinking about it, there you are reacting and going.”

Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates on Twitter at @CBSBengals.