The Cincinnati Bengals walked onto Heinz Field and used defense to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. The defense stepped up and the Bengals came away with a 16-10 victory. The win was a franchise best for the 7-0 Bengals, and it extended their AFC North lead to three and a half games over Pittsburgh.
Ben Roethlisberger got into the flow early and went 5-for-6 on the Steelers’ opening drive of the game. He was able to lead the Steelers on an 80-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock. Roethlisberger showed no effects of the MCI sprain that had sidelined him for four games. A rollout to the right ended in a touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. The Steelers went up 7-0.
Andy Dalton and The Bengals took over at their 20-yard line and went on a long march of their own. After hitting A.J. Green on a big-gainer to extend the drive, the Bengals stalled. Dalton attempted a third down pass to Tyler Eifert, but the ball was juggled and dropped. The Bengals settled for a 44-yard field goal from Mike Nugent, to cut the score to 7-3.
The Bengals took over and eventually moved the ball to the Steelers 28-yard line. Once again, they suffered penalties and poor execution which resulted in a Nugent field goal from 45 yards out. The Half ended with the Bengals trailing 7-6.
What was first thought may be an aerial shootout between Big Ben and Dalton closed the first 30 minutes as a defensive struggle.
The Steelers lost a huge part of the Killer B’s in the first half. Le’Veon Bell was taken off the field with a knee injury, after being tackled by the Bengals’ Vontaze Burfict. Bell had accounted for most of the Steelers’ yards before he was taken from the game. According to The Bleacher Report, initial reports say Bell may have a possible MCL injury only.
The third quarter started with the Bengals stalling, after nice runs by Jeremy Hill. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s exotic play formations were failing to work against the Steelers.
Roethlisberger aired a deep pass to Antonio Bryant that was intercepted by the Bengals’ Reggie Nelson and returned to the Steelers’ 33. The penalty-bug hit the Bengals again and they had to attempt another Nugent field goal. This time it was blocked by Cameron Heyward. The Steelers promptly marched downfield and scored on a 32-yard Boswell field goal.
The Bengals finally put together the drive of the game after another Roethlisberger interception. Shawn Williams’ pick gave the Bengals the ball at Pittsburgh’s 45-yard line and Dalton went to work. He ran the no huddle offense to perfection and eventually found A.J. Green for the go ahead touchdown.
The Bengals added an insurance field goal and held on to win an important division game. Andy Dalton survived one of the toughest games of the year. Dalton was sacked three times but gutted it out. He walked the sidelines, encouraging his teammates. He finished 23-of-38 for 231 yards. It wasn’t pretty, but the Bengals came away with respect and a much-needed victory.
[Feature Photo by Justin K. Aller / Getty Images]