8:30 PM ET, September 16, 2013
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
One of the NFL's top defenses had given him a big opening.
The elusive rookie turned the catch into a 27-yard touchdown on Monday night, one of his two scores that made the difference in the Cincinnati Bengals' 20-10 victory over the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers.
More from ESPN.com
Has the time come for a serious revamping of the Steelers? Monday's manhandling by the Bengals revealed Pittsburgh to be old, slow and a little soft, Kevin Seifert writes. Blog
If the Bengals want more victories, they'll have to keep their run game going. And to do that, they'll have to give the ball to rookie Giovani Bernard, Coley Harvey writes. Blog
"I saw green grass," said Bernard, a second-round pick from North Carolina. "Once you see green grass, you've got to take it. You don't get many chances like that. When you do, you've got to take it."
He wasn't the only rookie putting his imprint on an old rivalry. First-round pick Tyler Eifert made a 61-yard catch that set up Bernard's 7-yard run for his first NFL touchdown. Together, they gave a preview of what the Bengals (1-1) could become with two new pass-catchers in the offense.
"Gio's done a good job," Dalton said. "We drafted him to be versatile, move around the backfield and make big plays. And that's exactly what we've gotten out of him."
The Bengals piled up 407 yards on one of the league's toughest defenses, holding the ball for more than 35 minutes.
The Steelers fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2002, done in by another game of self-destruction on offense. Pittsburgh had two turnovers in scoring range and couldn't hold the ball long enough to give its defense a breather, failing to get a first down on seven of its 12 possessions.
"There's not a lot of positives going on right now," said Ben Roethlisberger, who was 20-of-37 passing for 251 yards with one touchdown and a deflected interception. "We can't start doubting each other. Right now, there's a general feeling of being upset."
The game was a chance for the Bengals to show they've supplanted the Steelers in the AFC North. They beat Pittsburgh 13-10 at Heinz Field last December to reach the playoffs, and now have moved ahead of the Steelers again with a rare Monday night win.
Cincinnati is 10-20 in Monday night games.
"This doesn't define anything until you look back at the end of the year," coach Marvin Lewis said.
The Bengals put the ball in the Dalton's hands in the first half, letting him pass away while they all but abandoned the run. Dalton had an up-and-down game, finishing 25-of-45 for 280 yards.
Cincinnati's rookies provided the big plays.
No Rush In Pittsburgh
The Steelers failed to reach 100 rushing yards for the eighth straight game -- tied for the longest streak in franchise history. A look at their longest stretches of rushing futility:
* - Active streak
-- Elias Sports Bureau and
ESPN Stats & Information
The Steelers needed to get their offense moving after a horrid opener. They ran for only 32 yards, and Roethlisberger was sacked five times during a 16-9 home loss to Tennessee. Worse, the Steelers lost Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey for the season with a torn knee ligament. Fernando Velasco, signed a week earlier, started in his place Monday.
Roethlisberger got Pittsburgh's offense moving in spurts against Cincinnati. He completed all five of his passes on a touchdown drive that pulled the Steelers into a 10-10 tie at halftime, including completions of 19 and 43 yards to Emmanuel Sanders.
Shaun Suisham kicked a 44-yard field goal, and the Steelers had a chance to add to the lead in the first half. But another mistake -- and they've had a lot of those already -- provided the game's first turning point.
Pinned at their 3-yard line after a punt, the Steelers drove into scoring position. Roethlisberger completed a 34-yard pass to tight end David Paulson, who fumbled the ball as he was tackled. Adam Jones forced the fumble and recovered it at the Cincinnati 13-yard line.
Another of Roethlisberger's passes went off Jerricho Cotchery's hands and was picked off at the Bengals' 13 in the fourth quarter, essentially sealing it.
The most intriguing question: Could Steeler-turned-Bengal James Harrison leave a mark on Pittsburgh's mess of an offense?
Nope. He didn't have a sack or a tackle.
The Bengals rushed for 127 yards, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis getting 75 on 22 carries. Bernard ran eight times for 38 yards. ... The Bengals have consecutive wins over the Steelers for the first time since 2009. ... Roethlisberger was sacked twice by a defense that failed to get one against Chicago.
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass before the NFL game against...(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.1||5.2|
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Sacks - Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-1||1-2|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|FG||10:42||Shaun Suisham 44 Yd||3||0|
|TD||00:57||Giovani Bernard 7 Yd Run (Mike Nugent Kick)||3||7|
|FG||13:16||Mike Nugent 41 Yd||3||10|
|TD||01:54||Derek Moye 1 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Shaun Suisham Kick)||10||10|
|TD||06:08||Giovani Bernard 27 Yd Pass From Andy Dalton (Mike Nugent Kick)||10||17|
|FG||07:51||Mike Nugent 25 Yd||10||20|
Ben Roethlisberger struggled on passes that traveled 15 or more yards downfield Monday, completing 4-15 attempts (26.7%). Of his 11 incompletions on such throws, 9 were the result of overthrows. Monday was the first time Roethlisberger has had 9 overthrows on passes of any length in a game since 2006.[+]
Ben Roethlisberger Passing More Than 15 Yards Downfield, Last 2 Seasons
The Bengals held the Steelers to 13 yards after contact on 16 rushes Monday. Steelers running backs did not gain more than 2 yards after contact on any rush. Through the first two weeks, the Bengals have allowed 0.95 yards after contact per rush, tied for second in the league.
The Bengals sacked or put Ben Roethlisberger under duress on 11 of his 40 dropbacks (27.5%) Monday and he was 1-9 for 1 yard and an interception on those plays. It is his lowest yards per attempt while under duress in a game since 2009 (min. 5 attempts).
Giovani Bernard scored the first two touchdowns of his NFL career Monday night, offering a nice change of pace for the Bengals offense. The Bengals averaged 7.2 yards per play on Bernard touches, including his 27-yard game-winning touchdown reception, and 4.9 yards per play on other plays.[+]
Bengals Offense, Monday vs Steelers
The Steelers have gone eight games without 100 rushing yards, tied for the longest streak in franchise history and the longest active streak in the NFL.[+]
Most Consecutive Games Without 100 Rush Yds - Longest Active Streaks
Andy Dalton completed 17-20 passes 5 yards or fewer downfield for 134 yards Monday, including 4-4 on third down (led to three first downs). In two meetings with the Steelers last season, Dalton completed a combined 17 passes on such throws and was 2-6 on third down (zero first downs).[+]
Andy Dalton Passing 5 Yards or Fewer Downfield, vs Steelers
The Steelers 75 rushing yards through 2 games ranks 31st in the NFL (only Giants have less rush yards with 73). In Week 2 alone, there were 15 PLAYERS who rushed for 75 yards or more.
Ben Roethlisberger is 1-6 for 34 yards on passes traveling 15+ yards downfield. Last season he completed 40 percent of such throws.
ESPN Stats & Information
- NFL Home
- AFC East
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- NE Patriots
- New York Jets
- AFC West
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- AFC North
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- AFC South
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- NFL Nation
- Free-Agent Tracker