Steelers Batter the Bengals for a 33-20 Win
The Cincinnati Bengals talked the talk but couldn’t walk the walk as the Pittsburgh Steelers handed them a 33-20 loss and put their AFC North title celebration on hold at least for one more week.
The Bengals, who fell to 10-3, lost more than a game. Quarterback Andy Dalton left for good in the first quarter with a broken right thumb and did not return. He will see a hand specialist today.
The bad blood between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals was flowing even before the game began.
Referees had to separate the two teams after a scuffle at midfield during warmups about 45 minutes before Sunday’s big AFC North game. It wasn’t clear if any punches were thrown, but tempers were clearly flaring as players pushed and shoved and yelled at each other.
With the win the Steelers improved to 8-5 as they chase a wild-card playoff berth, their chances for the division title remotely alive as they prevented the Bengals from clinching. The Steelers are 14-3 in Paul Brown Stadium after a pregame tussle between the two squads spilled over many times into the game.
Chris Boswell kicked four field goals and DeAngelo Williams ran for two 1-yard touchdowns for the Steelers.
Boswell kicked a 31-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 26-10 lead and Mike Nugent responded for the Bengals with a 27-yard field goal with 10:06 left to narrow it to 26-13.
Safety Reggie Nelson picked off Ben Roethlisberger deep and Cincinnati took over at the 4 with 7:28 left, trailing by 13. It was Nelson’s third interception of Roethlisberger this year, sixth in his career.
But McCarron then threw a deep pass way too deep and safety Robert Golden intercepted it and returned it to the Bengals 16 with 5:14 left.
Williams capped that drive with his second touchdown run for a 33-13 Steelers lead with 3:49 to go.
Cincinnati scored a touchdown with 1:03 left on McCarron’s second scoring pass, of 5 yards to Rex Burkhead. He also threw a 66-yarder to A.J. Green.
Roethlisberger completed 30 of 39 passes for 282 yards, the first time he has been under 300 yards in the past five games.
Their lead was 23-10 after three quarters.
Gay picked off a McCarron pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the half to push the Steelers lead to 23-7. The touchdown was the fifth in Gay’s career with an interception, tying him with Rod Woodson for the Steelers record.
Boswell kicked three field goals in the second quarter, his third with 22 seconds left in the first half as the Steelers grabbed a 16-7 lead at halftime.
McCarron, who had thrown just four passes this season, was immediately effective after replacing Dalton. His first series ended when Nugent came up short on a 54-yard field-goal try. His second series lasted just two plays. He threw deep down the right side to Green, who beat cornerback Antwon Blake to catch the ball at the 30. Safety Mike Mitchell then missed a tackle at the 15 and Green completed a 66-yard touchdown reception.
Cincinnati’s first score cut the Steelers lead to 13-7.
Boswell had kicked two second-quarter field goals to stretch the Steelers lead to 13-0. Boswell’s scores from 42 and 47 ended consecutive Steelers offensive series.
The Bengals in the meantime were losing players left and right. Besides Dalton, they lost tight end Tyler Eifert for the rest of the game with a possible concussion and safety George Iloka to a groin injury that had made him questionable before the game.
The Steelers held a 7-0 lead after the first quarter. Roethlisberger directed the game’s first drive to near perfection. He completed all five passes for 67 yards, including a 31-yard deep toss to Marcus Wheaton on third-and-1. He converted all three third downs on the drive, the final one an 18-yarder to Antonio Brown to the 2.
Williams carried twice from there, the final a 1-yard touchdown.