Depleted Steelers beat Bengals 24-17
Ben Roethlisberger took the snap and went to his knee for the
final play, tucking the ball under his left arm before heading to
the locker room.
Felt like old times for the Pittsburgh Steelers – and like most
times when they play in Cincinnati.
The Steelers got their first road win of the season and moved
into second place in the AFC North with a 24-17 victory over the
Bengals on Sunday night, overcoming potentially devastating
injuries and mistakes.
Roethlisberger, a bunch of running-game fill-ins and a
determined defense got the Steelers through a tough night,
prompting the quarterback to hold onto the ball at the end.
”That is the first time that we have done the `victory
formation’ this year to end it,” he said.
After dropping their first three road games and putting their
season on the brink so early, the Steelers (3-3) closed in on
Baltimore (5-2), turning the division back into a familiar two-team
”It puts us right there in the hunt,” safety Ryan Clark
They pulled it off even though so many of them were standing on
the sideline in sweat suits. The Steelers were missing their top
two running backs – Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman – as well
as center Maurkice Pouncey and right tackle Marcus Gilbert because
It could have gotten very ugly after the Bengals pulled ahead
14-3 in the first half. Instead, Roethlisberger took advantage of
Andy Dalton’s interception, throwing for a tying touchdown and
2-point conversion. And third-year running back Jonathan Dwyer made
his first career start and ran for a career-high 122 yards,
including a 32-yard gain in the closing minute that finished it
”It shows how talented we are and that we try to live up to
that high standard,” Dwyer said.
A lot of players pulled them through.
Shaun Suisham kicked field goals of 42, 47 and 42 yards. And the
defense shut down Cincinnati’s Dalton-to-A.J. Green connection.
”It was a back-against-the-wall mentality and you’ve got to
fight your way out,” said cornerback Ike Taylor, who helped limit
Green, a Pro Bowl receiver, to one catch.
Cincinnati (3-4) wasted yet another chance to show it can keep
up with the division’s best. The Bengals are 0-6 against the
Steelers and Ravens over the last two seasons.
Now, they’ve lost three straight, falling into third place in
”It’s going to be tough to sleep,” cornerback Leon Hall said.
”At the end of the day, we’ve lost three in a row and we’re in a
They knew this was their best chance yet to break through,
especially after the Steelers dropped passes, fumbled and threw an
end zone interception in a self-destructive first half. They
couldn’t take advantage against the team that always seems to win
on their home field.
The Steelers improved to 12-2 at Paul Brown Stadium, where
thousands of towel-waving fans make them feel at home. They have
won their last five overall against their Ohio River rival and 10
of the last 12.
And once again, the Bengals could blame themselves.
Andy Dalton’s slip-out-of-the-hand interception set up
Roethlisberger’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller and a tying
2-point conversion to the tight end with 24 seconds left in the
half. Chris Rainey’s 11-yard touchdown run put the Steelers ahead
early in the fourth quarter, and the injury fill-ins finished them
”I’m proud of the way those young guys stepped up,” said
Roethlisberger, who was 27 of 37 for 278 yards. ”There never was a
doubt they would do that.”
Dalton’s only glaring mistake made the difference.
He saw a defender waiting to make an interception and tried to
stop his throwing motion. The ball slipped out of his hand, hit the
helmet of Bengals lineman Kevin Zeitler and deflected to linebacker
LaMarr Woodley at the Cincinnati 29-yard line with 1:23 left in the
half. That set up Roethlisberger’s tying TD pass and
”You can’t have a thing like that happen,” Dalton said. ”We
had a chance to go down and score points or at least keep it where
it was. What you can’t let happen is not just let the ball slip out
of your hands, but let them get an interception and get
Dalton was 14 of 28 for only 105 yards with a touchdown and an
interception. He threw six passes toward Green but completed only
one, an 8-yard touchdown after Roethlisberger’s fumble.
”They did a great job taking me out of the game plan,” Green
said. ”That’s what it is.”
NOTES: Steelers rookie NT Alameda Ta’amu served the first game
of his two-game suspension for his arrest last weekend. … Bengals
rookie CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive for the seventh game. He
hurt his left knee over the summer and hasn’t played. He’s expected
to be ready after the Bengals’ upcoming bye week. … Bengals C
Jeff Faine injured a hamstring, forcing rookie Trevor Robinson to
take over in the second half.
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