Late Interception Seals 24-17 Steelers Win Over Bengals

CINCINNATI (KDKA/AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers were looking to shake off a last-second loss to the Baltimore Ravens last weekend as they headed into Cincinnati Sunday afternoon for a showdown with the Bengals.

It was a game of possible playoff implications as the Bengals (6-3) and the Steelers (7-3) met for the first time this season. They’ll play again Dec. 4 at Heinz Field.

While the Bengals rallied and tied up the game in the third quarter after falling behind the early, the Steelers never trailed and managed to hang on for a 24-17 victory.

Rashard Mendenhall ran for a pair of touchdowns in the win, and the Steelers – who came into the game with only two interceptions all season – intercepted rookie quarterback Andy Dalton twice in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

Cornerback William Gay anticipated Dalton’s throw and stepped in front of Jerome Simpson for the clinching interception inside the Pittsburgh 20-yard line with 2:27 left to play.

After the game, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked about pulling out the win and heading into the bye week.

“I’ll take it; I wouldn’t necessarily say I was pleased – I’d be pleased if we were 10-0 but we’re not – we are what we are,” said Tomlin. “I haven’t ran across a bye that I didn’t like. I always get that question, that’s really funny to me – you know, you get it when you get it.”

Dalton handled most of what Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau threw at him. He had two more touchdown passes, giving him 14 overall — the most by a rookie quarterback in his first nine games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

But in the end, a Steelers defense that’s finally getting healthy and forcing turnovers got to him.

Dalton was 15 of 30 for 170 yards and touchdown passes of 36 yards to fellow rookie A.J. Green and 1 yard to Jermaine Gresham.

Meanwhile, even though they lost to the Steelers, Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis said he felt as if his team measured up.

“We got work to do and we’re going to be in the same position regardless – we’d like to have had the win, we didn’t get it and we’ve got to go to work – but I don’t think this team needs to worry about now whether they can play with the so-called elite of the AFC cause they can and will,” he said.

keisel dalton 132687591 Late Interception Seals 24 17 Steelers Win Over Bengals

(Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh got a needed win by putting together long, balanced drives while thousands of Steelers fans waved Terrible Towels in the first sellout crowd of the season at Paul Brown Stadium.

Click here for the game boxscore and stats!

The Bengals received the ball to start the game and took over on their own 20 yard line, but went nowhere as the Steelers defense forced a quick three-and-out.

Pittsburgh began their first possession of the game on their own 46 yard line.

Facing a 3rd-and-10 from the Cincy 16 yard line, Ben Roethlisberger got flushed out of the pocket and found Jerricho Cotchery wide open in the endzone to put the Steelers up 7-0. The touchdown capped an eight-play, 54-yard drive.

Roethlisberger was 21 of 33 for 245 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He was sacked five times, matching his season high.

After forcing another three-and-out, the Steelers marched down the field and added to their lead.

The drive was in danger of stalling out at the Bengals’ 20 yard line, but Roethlisberger found Heath Miller for a 15-yard pass to move the chains. On the next play, Mendenhall broke a tackle and dove into the endzone to put Pittsburgh up 14-0.

The Bengals finally moved the ball on their third possession of the opening quarter and cut the lead in half.

Dalton went deep downfield and found A.J. Green for a 36-yard touchdown into double-coverage with 14 seconds to play in the first quarter. The Bengals’ scoring drive covered 79 yards in just seven plays.

On the Steelers next drive, Miller bobbled a pass from Roethlisberger and saw it fall into the arms of Cincinnati’s Leon Hall.

Click here for a Steelers-Bengals photo gallery!

However, the Steelers defense came up with a big stop to force the Bengals to settle for a 43-yard field goal by Mike Nugent to cut the lead to 14-10.

After trading possessions without putting points on the board, the Steelers orchestrated a 16-play, 67-yard drive which ended in a 39-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham to give Pittsburgh a 17-10 lead.

lewis allen simpson 132685976 Late Interception Seals 24 17 Steelers Win Over Bengals

(Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh would take that lead into halftime and got the ball back to open the second half. However, they were forced to punt it away after just three plays.

Cincinnati wasted no time tying the game either. Dalton hooked up with Jermain Gresham for a 1-yard touchdown pass to cap off an 11-play, 67-yard drive with 8:38 to play in the third quarter.

But on the ensuing drive, the Steelers regained the lead.

Mendenhall broke a tackle on a run up the middle and stretched for the goal line to put Pittsburgh up 24-17. The 9-yard touchdown run capped an 11-play, 81-yard drive.

Next week, the Steelers have a bye week. After that, they will head to Kansas City for a game against the Chiefs at 8:20 p.m. on Nov. 27.

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(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Stephen

    Let’s hope they don’t give up another 92 yard game-losing drive…

  • Jason

    As usual, the Steelers O-line SUCKS!

  • Joseph Puskar

    awesome win….negative attitudes suck

    • Jaydog

      At this point in the season, there is not much you can do to “address” things to be a contender. You have the personel that you have. I would still try playing Heywood some to get a a pass rush. Casey Hampton stinks.

  • Dan

    Yep, win was needed. But I agree that the offensive line definitely stinks. It’s not negative attitude, it’s calling it like you see it. Line needs to start opening lanes for the backs and protecing Ben.

  • Jeff Johnson

    The O line stinks for several reasons. First is the talent level but there’s also Ben holding the ball forever, Mendenhall spinning and Arians’ strange playcalling choices. They’ve got a week off to get some guys back and adress certain issues.

  • kev

    They could hardly beat a Bengals team with a rookie quarterback.. and they also could hardly beat the Colts.. you fan boys better forget about a super bowl this year.

  • kev

    They are just lucky they have a SOFT schedule this year, and did not even have to face a Colts team with Manning.. they are also lucky they play in the weak ass AFC.. the NFC is the real football league.. the AFC is the little girls league the Steelers are lucky to be in

    • Andy

      NFC is “real?” Since the merger, the NFC has one 22 to the afc’s 19. That’s only 1 more than splitting the difference. And the AFC has won 6 of the last 10. So before you try to talk all tough at least learn some facts so that you don’t show the ignorance that you seem to be full of.

    • Jaydog

      NEWS FLASH: you play the schedule they give and try to beat every team no matter how good or bad they are. The whole NFL has parody for many reasons. Only the Green Bay offense is out of this world.

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  • Hanging On

    When does a win feel like a loss…24-17. Hey diddle diddle Arians up the middle. Get rid of that bum coach so we can have a chance in the playoffs. Any chance of drafting some decent linemen on both sides of the ball. Glad I was around during the 70’s when the Steel Curtain was just that, not a lame pretender.

  • steelers losers

    oh look at me im a steelere fan i got all their memorabaila i almost got to shake a steelers hand i told all my freinds they were so impressed its ok if they dont give a sht about me i love them when i watch the game i say is this a rap video or a football game bunch of losers are the steeler fans lmfao

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