Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Live Score, Video and Analysis
With the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in a surprisingly pivotal AFC North showdown, the outcome at Paul Brown Stadium helped to answer a true enigma. Who are the Cincinnati Bengals?
Like the stripes on their helmets, fans were curious which color is truly representative of their 2011 story.
Is it black, implying that their fast start is the mere result of victories over anemic teams and other NFL surprise stories (i.e. Buffalo)? Are preseason expectations that expected the failures of the young "Bungles"—whose franchise has two winning seasons in twenty years—only being disguised by a deceptive 6-2 record?
Or, is a new, bright orange dawn rising in Western Ohio, rife with young talent and a winning formula? Is the franchise simply seeing the benefit of removing players whose hearts weren't fully committed to winning in Cincy?
Similarly, while Steelers have proven their mettle in recent seasons, skeptics question if another championship run burns inside the veteran squad. Like Cincinnati, fans are looking to discover if the 2011 Steelers will finish more black or gold, stumbling to a heartbreaking finish or showing the mettle that has led them to three Super Bowls in six seasons.
With two top-five defenses (points per game) on the field on Sunday, the key to victory was decided by the offense that blinked late.
William Gay intercepted Andy Dalton in the final moments of a near comeback for the Bengals. While Cincinnati proved their mettle, validating their winning record, the Steelers showed their pedigree with a key turnover late in the game and critical win.
It was Dalton's second interception of the final quarter, the deciding factor in the key division contest.
The "Red Rifle" Andy Dalton once again spun his chamber and found his bullet—namely lead pass-catcher and star rookie receiver A.J. Green—who made an incredible touchdown catch that simply wasn't ultimately enough.
FINAL SCORE: STEELERS 24, BENGALS 17
Want to see WR AJ Green's amazing touchdown catch, skying over the Steelers safeties and hauling in a touchdown?
We've got you covered!
While they hung around and had opportunities to win the game, the Cincinnati Bengals ultimately fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest that turned out much closer than early indications. The Steelers sprung to a 14-0 lead the begged questions about the Bengals' credibility.
Any notions of their being a fluke were discarded as Cincinnati rallied to tie the score after halftime.
Antonio Brown made huge plays for the Steelers offense, which overcame the Bengals' comeback with a third quarter touchdown by Rashard Mendenhall.
Unable to run out the clock with four minutes left, the Bengals had a chance to tie the score late, and they threatened by driving deep into Steelers territory.
Ultimately, as if making up for his coverage late against the Ravens, William Gay stepped up as the hero of the defense late, intercepting Andy Dalton.
Two offensive first downs secured a needed victory for the Steelers, who leapfrog the Bengals and take over second place in the AFC North with a 7-3 record.
FINAL SCORE: STEELERS 24, BENGALS 17
Mike Wallace gets across midfield to the Bengals 43. Clements hauls him down, preventing a touchdown.
That should do it..... the Steelers win the game thanks to a clutch interception by William Gay of Andy Dalton.
Moore gets four yards, and the two minute warning whistle blows. The Steelers have 2nd and 6. The Bengals have 1 timeout.
For Cincinnati to have another chance to tie, they need to make a stop on this series of downs. If they do make the stop, they should get the ball back with about one minute left to play.
Otherwise, the Steelers will improve to 7-3 with a first down.
The interception was William Gay's first since 2008.
On 2nd and 9, Wesley Saunders shows elusiveness in picking up a FIRST DOWN!
With 2:12, the Bengals take their 2nd timeout. They have 1 left, and the Steelers have a first down. The Steelers are one more first down from the win.
On 1st and 10, Moore gains 1 yard to the 32-yard line of Pittsburgh, setting up 2nd and 9 for the Steelers.
The much-maligned offense (late in games) needs to end this game here...
With 2:22 left and the two minute warning, the Bengals have two timeouts. The Steelers need two first downs.
GUT CHECK TIME, RIGHT?!
So, how about a WILLIAM GAY INTERCEPTION OF ROOKIE ANDY DALTON? Making up for the touchdown he gave up last week against Baltimore, Willie is making me eat my words that he is a liability in the Pittsburgh secondary!
William Gay may have saved a week of questions....
Benson is stacked after a 1-yard gain to the 25-yard line. 2nd and 9 upcoming.
Assuming the Bengals can tie the score, the defense cannot be solely blamed. How many times has the Steelers offense stagnated with the lead in the last four weeks?
Benson has a fine carry on 2nd down to the Steelers' 26 yard line. The Bengals have run very well in the 2nd half, often right up the gut!!
Speaking of the gut, it's gut check time for the Black and Gold defense.
Benson gains six yards on first down.
The second punt by Kapinos is fielded by Cincinnati, and the returner crosses midfield! The Bengals have supreme field position with a chance to tie the score in the final minutes.
One week removed from a failure to win the game in the last moments, can the Steelers defense get to Andy Dalton and make a stop?
The Kapinos punt is allowed to bounce, and the football goes out at the 34-yard line.
A penalty marker is down. Holding is called on both teams. Another punt is forthcoming. Another kick means another chance at a return. The Bengals are hanging around....
Ben throws incomplete from the shotgun, forcing a punt.
And the Steelers offense simply isn't putting games away......
As Steelers fans respond to my question with a "yes!" (predictability), the Steelers attempt to run is stuffed again, setting up third and 8.
On first down, the Steelers hand off to Mendenhall for two yards. While running the ball kills the clock, many Steelers fans question the playcalling of Bruce Arians in these situations.
Is this too predictable?
6:39 remaining. Steelers lead 24-17 and have the football. Can the offense put the game away?!
Brown takes the punt at his 18-yard line. And, he has as electrifying a 2-yard return as you can expect to see! :-)
Dalton takes the ball on third down. The Steelers blitz. A fast pass is caught by Hawkins, and Cortez Allen makes a key tackle in the open field.
The Bengals are forced to punt on fourth down and 10.
Dalton throws over the middle. A penalty flag is thrown as Simpson catches for the first down.
This time, the penalty is on the offense for illegal hands to the face. The guilty party is Andrew Whitworth, a huge infraction setting up third and long!!!
These five and six yard gains are destroying the Steelers defense on key drives. Dalton throws a long pattern down the field, and Ike Taylor's great coverage causes an incompletion.
3rd and 4 upcoming.
Dalton throws on 1st and 10 from the 35 yard line, another good first down game of six yards.
On 2nd and 4, a penalty flag is thrown...
Bernard Scott picked up first down yardage, and the call is offside on the defense. The penalty is obviously declined, resulting in another Bengals first down.
Dalton throws an out from the shotgun, and Caldwell takes the ball to the 29-yard line. Six yards translates to 2nd and 4. Gay was off the receiver, allowing the gain.
Dalton hands off to Scott on 2nd and 1, who picks up a solid six yards for a first down. The Bengals offense has breathing room!
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