PITTSBURGH -- There was a time when linebacker Lawrence Timmons was an every-down linebacker and could help the Pittsburgh Steelers defend the pass no matter the opponent.
Timmons has played in 101 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak for consecutive games among NFL linebackers.
But the streak may be in jeopardy.
The Steelers took Timmons off the field and played safety Robert Golden in their dime package against the Bengals on Sunday.
Golden rewarded the coaches when he intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter that set up the Steelers' final touchdown.
"Obviously, (Golden's) ability to play and make some of the plays that he did doesn't hurt his efforts in the regard," Tomlin said.
Golden, who joined the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona in 2012, played well earlier this season when he started for a stretch when Will Allen missed some time with an ankle injury.
"He's grown in all areas and like a lot of guys who are backup players, you work your tail off, you work to improve all aspects of your game," Tomlin said. "I never ask those guys to be patient, I ask them to work while they wait.
"He's had different opportunities at different times of his career to step up and play quality snaps for us. It seems like with each opportunity he gets, he's better than the opportunity before."
--Antonio Brown and William Gay have drawn penalty flags for excessive celebration penalties after touchdowns the last two weeks, and Brown was one of the Steelers who were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for fighting with Bengals players.
So some might be surprised to find out the Steelers are the least penalized team in the NFL. It turns out, other than some of those high-profile flags, the Steelers are one of the most disciplined teams in the league.
"We just try to attack it on several fronts," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We try to be very fundamental in our techniques and continue to teach and preach that daily even at this time of the year. We have a young group in a lot of ways and we're never going to turn the page from that in terms of growing and developing from a technical standpoint, hand usage, etc.
"Also, I think we highlight that from our utilization of officials in a practice setting, and I think that has aided us in terms of practicing with good habits in the right way that's going to allow us to keep the penalties down. We're not perfect. We are going to be penalized. We have been penalized. Largely, I would like us to be less penalized than those we compete against."
--Safety Mike Mitchell, who sustained a shoulder injury against Cincinnati, did not practice Wednesday. Mitchell's streak of playing in 43 consecutive games is in jeopardy as the Steelers prepare for the Broncos. Only five other safeties in the league have played in more consecutive games.
--Linebacker Bud Dupree, who sustained a back injury in the Bengals game, also did not practice.