Rapid Reaction: Steelers 24, Bengals 17

November, 13, 2011

CINCINNATI -- Thoughts on the Steelers' 24-17 win at the Bengals:

What it means: The Steelers (7-3) bounced back from a deflating last-minute loss to the Ravens to avoid their first 0-3 start in the AFC North and became the first division team to seven wins. The Bengals' five-game winning streak -- the longest in the AFC -- came to an end. It wasn't easy but Pittsburgh showed some mental toughness on defense to avoid another late collapse. The Bengals (6-3), though, proved that they might be better than some anticipated by coming back from an early 14-point deficit.

Thumbs up: Steelers' defense. Pittsburgh, which was tied for last in the NFL in takeaways, delivered two interceptions in the fourth quarter. William Gay's interception with 2:27 left in the game sealed the victory. Andy Dalton, who had held up against the pressure so admirably, stared down Jerome Simpson before throwing the pick.

Early charge: The Steelers charged out to a 14-0 lead by scoring on their first two drives. Ben Roethlisberger was 7-for-10 for 89 yards, avoiding two Bengals pass-rushers to throw his first touchdown.

Injury factor: Wide receiver A.J. Green hurt his right knee on a spectacular 36-yard leaping catch in the first quarter and didn't catch another pass after that. He spent most of the game on the sideline riding a bike. Also, the Bengals' top cornerback, Leon Hall, injured his Achilles and missed the entire second half.

What's next: The Bengals stay in the AFC North when they play at Baltimore. The Steelers have their bye before playing at Kansas City on Nov. 27.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter



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