Sunday, October 21, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Steelers 24, Bengals 17
By Jamison Hensley
CINCINNATI -- Thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 24-17 win at the Cincinnati Bengals:
What it means: It was far from perfect, but the Steelers found a way to hold on to a fourth-quarter lead and win their first road game of the season. Overcoming a sloppy start, Pittsburgh (3-3) moved to within 1.5 games of the division-leading Ravens (5-2). The Bengals (3-4) lost their third straight and their ninth in a row in prime time. This marked the Steelers' fifth consecutive win over the Bengals.
Running game resurfaces: Rookie fifth-round pick Chris Rainey made his first touchdown a memorable one. His 11-yard score up the middle of the Bengals' defense put the Steelers ahead 44 seconds into the fourth quarter. Rainey had 15 yards rushing in his first five games. In his first start, Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 122 yards on 17 carries.
Dalton struggles: Andy Dalton was wildly inaccurate as he once again struggled against the Steelers. He finished 14-of-28 for 105 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His longest pass was 17 yards. Dalton fell to 0-3 against the Steelers.
Slipping up before halftime: The Bengals had a first down with 1:30 left in the first half and a 14-6 lead. But they went into halftime tied at 14. Dalton, who has been picked off in every game this season, threw a pass off the back of right guard Kevin Zeitler's helmet and was intercepted by Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley. The Steelers converted that into a 9-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller, who also caught the two-point conversion to tie the game.
Steelers drop the ball: The Steelers could've had two touchdowns in the first half if they caught the ball. On a trick play, running back Baron Batch, with no one between him and the end zone, couldn't pull in a pass from wide receiver Antonio Brown. Wide receiver Mike Wallace, who had three drops in the first half, couldn't handle a deflected pass that went to him in the end zone. Wallace dropped his fourth pass, one that was thrown behind him, on third down with 5:38 left in the fourth quarter.
Where did Green go?: One play after Ben Roethlisberger's fumble deep in his own territory, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green caught an 8-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. It was his sixth straight game with a touchdown. But that was the only catch in the first three quarters for Green, who entered the game as the NFL leader in receiving yards. Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, who had struggled this season, broke up a third-down pass to Green in the third quarter.
What's next: The Steelers return home to play the Washington Redskins (3-4). The Bengals are on a bye week before playing the Broncos at home on Nov. 4.