One week after allowing four touchdowns and a field goal on the final drive of the game to take the loss, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense was back to form Sunday, stopping the Bengals in Cincinnati 24-13 in a key AFC North matchup. The Steelers offense scored touchdowns on three straight possessions in the first half, and built a 21-6 halftime lead to take the air out of Paul Brown Stadium. After Cincy pulled to 21-13 in the second half, the Steelers scored on a 40-yard Jeff Reed field goal to put them up by 11 to seal the win.
Pittsburgh on offense was well balanced, using the running of Willie Parker, who went for 126 yards on 22 carries. He paced the Steelers running game that went for 160 yards on 33 carries, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Ben Roethlisberger made one mistake, throwing a pick in the red zone, but otherwise made plays all day, going 19-for-26 for 230 yards and two scores. Hines Ward caught two touchdowns and ended with 8 catches for 88 yards. Santonio Holmes caught 6 balls for 87 yards.
The Steelers put the game away, trailing 3-0 with three long drives, all ending in touchdowns starting with a 5-play, 80-yard drive late in the first quarter. They then scored on a 12-play, 80-yard drive that covered 7+ minutes to make it 14-3, then after Cincy scored another field goal to make it 14-6, they drove 67 yards in 9 plays to go up 21-6 on Parker’s short TD run with :06 left in the first half.
Cincinnati put up 296 yards on offense, with Carson Palmer going 23-of-31 for 205 yards and one touchdown. The defense, as it has been the whole season, was the issue, allowing the Steelers 390 yards on offense on 60 plays, 6.5 yards per play. They allowed the Steelers to convert 8-of-11 on third downs as well, stopping them from getting off the field.
The Steelers now are up three games on the Bengals in the AFC North, as they improve to 5-2 on the season. The Bengals, in last place in the division, fall to 2-5.