The Pittsburgh Steelers saw their playoff chances disappear after dropping this critical AFC North match-up to the Cincinnati Bengals. The young Bengals team took advantage of two Ben Roethlisberger interceptions and pulled out a 13-10 victory.Heath Miller picked off the Roethlisberger pass and then returned it 17-yards for a touchdown, putting the Bengals in front 7-0 late in the first quarter.
After the Steelers blew a scoring chance with Shaun Suisham missing a 24-yard field goal, the Bengals did not miss the same opportunity. After being set up with great field position following a Drew Butler punt, they moved the ball just enough to get into field goal range. Josh Brown finished the drive with a 41-yard field goal to make the score 10-0 with two minutes remaining in the first half.
The Steelers did not quit and has been the case most of the season, were able to put some points on the board in the last two minutes of the half. This time Roethlisberger connected with Antonio Brown for a 60-yard touchdown pass to move the score to 10-7 with one minute left in the half.
After a strange turn of events where the Bengals decided to go for it on fourth downs (4th-and-22), the Steelers took over and moved the ball into scoring range. Suisham capped the 10-play drive with a 40-yard field goal to make the score 10-10 late in the third stanza.
The score remained that way until the waning seconds when Bengals kicker connected on the game winning 43-yard field goal to make the score 13-10. The drive was set up by the second interception of Roethlisberger, on a play eerily reminiscent to the ending of last Sunday’s match-up against the Dallas Cowboys.
The offense has looked discordant for another ball game. While there was some success in the running game, the play calling seemed to go away from it. In all, Roethlisberger is 14-of-28 for 220 yards one touchdown and two interceptions. Brown led the way for the receiver with five grabs for 97 yards and the touchdown. Rashard Mendenhall led the ground game in his return from suspension with 11 carries for 50 yards.
The biggest news for the offense was losing tight end Heath Miller late in the contest with a knee injury.
Defensively, the Steelers are physical and took it to the Bengals with their best performance in 2012. In all, they managed three turnovers, all forced by Cortez Allen (two interceptions and a forced fumble) and six sacks. Lawrence Timmons was all over the field with 10 tackles and two sacks and Keenan Lewis played well although it is clear he was not 100 percent.
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