Steelers-Bengals halftime notes

CINCINNATI--The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-7, at halftime.

Here are some notes at intermission:

  • The Bengals got off to the worst start imaginable. Running back Bernard Scott fumbled the opening kickoff, which led to a Steelers touchdown several plays later. The energy was instantly zapped out of Paul Brown Stadium. The Steelers also blocked a punt and turned that into a field goal, which put them ahead by 10 points. The Bengals' special teams overall tonight have been awful. Cincinnati kicker Mike Nugent also missed a 51-yard field-goal attempt before halftime.

  • The Steelers suffered two major blows to the offensive line. Starting center Maurkice Pouncey (lower leg) and guard Chris Kemoeatu (ankle) both suffered leg injuries in the second quarter. Pittsburgh's offensive line isn't deep to begin with. Both are questionable for the rest of the game.

  • Speaking of questionable, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer made some iffy decisions in the first half. His interception to Lawrence Timmons was into double coverage as Palmer tried to force the ball to Terrell Owens. Palmer also had other near interceptions that were deflected.

  • Steelers tailback Rashard Mendenhall is making his presence felt in the running and passing game. He has 71 total yards and a touchdown, which includes three catches for 31 yards out of the backfield.

  • Cincinnati's Owens caught his 150th touchdown in the second quarter, which is third in NFL history. He beat the Steelers' defense inside for a 19-yard score over the middle.