Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't pretty, but the Steelers will take it.
Pittsburgh pulled away in the second half to take a 27-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday night at Heinz Field. The performance wasn't all that impressive. However, Pittsburgh improved to 8-3 and maintained an inside track on an AFC North division title.
The Bengals were scrappy even without star receiver Chad Ocho Cinco, who was deactivated Thursday for violating a team rule. It was a one-possession game until late in the third quarter when the out-manned Bengals (1-9-1) finally wore down.
Pittsburgh still didn't look sharp in two phases of the game -- offense and special teams -- which has to be a concern. This was the easiest game left on the Steelers' schedule, as back-to-back contests await against the New England Patriots (6-4) and Dallas Cowboys (6-4).
A victory is a victory. But the Steelers will have to play better against tougher competition down the stretch to maintain their winning ways.