Final

Steelers 27

(6-2, 4-1 away)

Bengals 21

(2-6, 1-3 home)

Coverage: ESPN

8:30 PM ET, November 8, 2010

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 10 10 0 727
CIN 0 7 0 1421

Top Performers

Passing: C. Palmer (CIN) - 248 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Mendenhall (PIT) - 22 CAR, 99 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: T. Owens (CIN) - 10 REC, 141 YDS, 2 TD

Steelers hold off free-falling Bengals after capitalizing on early mistakes

Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- The ball headed straight for Jordan Shipley. So did James Harrison.

Care to guess which one won?

The often-fined Harrison lowered his shoulder and helped knock the ball loose from Shipley near the 5-yard line on Cincinnati's final play, preserving a 27-21 victory over the Bengals on Monday night that left the AFC North with an old, familiar look.

The Steelers (6-2) are again at the top, sharing the spot with Baltimore. The defending-champion Bengals (2-6) are in last place alone after their fifth straight loss, coming up one completion short.

Credit that last rib-jolting hit -- legal all-around -- by the Steelers' on-the-spot defenders.

"The defense held strong," said Ben Roethlisberger, who was 17 of 27 for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception that helped the Bengals rally at the end.

At the end of a night full of foibles, tricks and missed chances, the Steelers turned to their one constant to finish it off. That unyielding defense came through again.

"This is how the Steelers play ball," defensive back Ike Taylor said. "We might get a blowout here and there. But we're always in tough close ballgames. As a defense we just want to close them out. That's what we did tonight."

Pittsburgh seemed to be in control when Antwaan Randle El threw a 39-yard touchdown pass off a trick play to open the fourth quarter, building a 27-7 lead made possible by the Bengals' many mistakes. Pittsburgh also had points set up by a fumbled kickoff, a blocked punt and a missed field goal.

Then, the Steelers turned sloppy as well. Roethlisberger threw an interception that set up Terrell Owens' second touchdown catch of the game, and Jeff Reed missed a 46-yard field goal try that would have clinched it with 3:59 to go.

The drama had just begun.

Last year, Cincinnati jump-started its perfect run through the division by rallying to beat the Steelers 23-20 on Carson Palmer's touchdown pass with 14 seconds left. When Reed's attempt swerved left, the Steelers got a bad feeling.

"They had Carson Palmer and company with timeouts," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "And that's a horror movie and we've seen that before."

Palmer led the Bengals downfield with the help of a wacky play. His pass to Cedric Benson was tipped, but the running back made a juggling catch for a 16-yard gain on third-and-long. Chad Ochocinco's only catch of the game moved it to the 12-yard line.

On fourth-and-5, Palmer found Shipley open over the middle in first-down range, but the Steelers converged and squeezed the ball out to end it.

"I ran in the middle of two guys," Shipley said. "I felt like I had it, and they knocked it out of there."

Palmer was 22 of 36 for 248 yards with an interception and touchdown passes of 19 and 27 yards to Owens.

"I think Carson played a great game under a lot of heat," said Owens, who had 10 catches for 141 yards. "He put the ball in there in tight situations. You look at the last four or five games we've played, it's been a play here or there that's made the difference."

It was fitting that Harrison had a shoulder in the final play. He got his third fine of the season, this one pushing the total to $100,000, for a hit last week on the Saints' Drew Brees. The linebacker got summoned to Commissioner Roger Goodell's office for a meeting.

Goodell was at the game on Monday night, watching as the Harrison-led defense got the best of the Ohio River rivalry.

Eight seconds into the game, the Bengals already were in trouble.

The Steelers won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Bernard Scott got the kickoff and fumbled at the Cincinnati 25. Pittsburgh needed only four plays to score, with Rashard Mendenhall pushing the final yard for a 7-0 lead.

When Scott held onto the ball as he was tackled during the ensuing kickoff, some Bengals fans gave a derisive cheer. They were incredulous moments later when William Gay burst through the middle of the line untouched and blocked Kevin Huber's punt at the Cincinnati 30-yard line -- Pittsburgh's first blocked punt in two years.

Reed's 25-yard field goal made it 10-0, just like that.

"Initially, we created some opportunities for ourselves," Tomlin said. "You knew it was going to be a 60-minute game."

The Steelers lost two offensive linemen on a second-quarter drive. Left guard Chris Kemoeatu hobbled off with an injured right ankle. Center Maurkice Pouncey limped off with an injured right leg two plays later, but returned in the second half. Then, left tackle Max Starks went out in the third quarter with a neck injury.

With the backups in place, the Steelers managed to stay ahead. Roethlisberger threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward, his 15th TD catch against the Bengals -- Ward's highest total against any team. And Randle El's first pass of the season went for a touchdown that seemed to put it out of reach.

Game notes


The Steelers got DE Brett Keisel back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the past two games, but he aggravated it and left the game. ... Ward extended his streak to 186 consecutive regular-season games with a catch, moving ahead of Owens for third place on the all-time list. ... It was Randle El's fifth career touchdown pass. ... Owens' two TDs gave him 151 career. On his last one, he caught the ball at the back of the end zone and inadvertently ran over a security guard looking toward the stands. The guard wasn't hurt.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
CIN
1st Downs1418
Passing 1st downs
710
Rushing 1st downs
73
1st downs from Penalties
05
3rd down efficiency
6-143-12
4th down efficiency
0-00-1
Total Plays6158
Total Yards314272
Yards per play5.14.7
Total Drives1512
Passing193218
Comp - Att
18-2822-36
Yards per pass
6.96.1
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks - Yards Lost
1-94-30
Rushing12154
Rushing Attempts
3218
Yards per rush
3.83.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-32-3
Penalties7-733-30
Turnovers22
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession32:1927:41

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethli...17/271636.0111-9
Randle El1/13939.0100-0
CINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Palmer22/362486.9214-30

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall22994.5122
Roethli...5132.6012
CINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Benson18543.018

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Wallace511022.01397
Mendenhall33110.30173
CINRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Owens1014114.122714
Shipley44711.80267

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITCIN
pitTD12:57Rashard Mendenhall 1 Yd Run (Jeff Reed Kick) 70
pitFG07:46Jeff Reed 25 Yd 100
SECOND QUARTERPITCIN
cinTD08:46Terrell Owens 19 Yd Pass From Carson Palmer (Mike Nugent Kick) 107
pitTD02:07Hines Ward 8 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick) 177
pitFG00:05Jeff Reed 53 Yd 207
FOURTH QUARTERPITCIN
pitTD14:50Mike Wallace 39 Yd Pass From Antwaan Randle El (Jeff Reed Kick) 277
cinTD13:12Terrell Owens 27 Yd Pass From Carson Palmer (Mike Nugent Kick) 2714
cinTD09:05Cedric Benson 1 Yd Run (Mike Nugent Kick) 2721