(The Sports Xchange) - The Cincinnati Bengals stayed unbeaten, but it was not easy as quarterback Andy Dalton overcame two fourth-quarter interceptions to throw for 235 yards and the winning touchdown, rallying the Bengals to a 16-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Bengals left it late. Dalton’s 9-yard touchdown to wide receiver A.J. Green gave them their first lead, 13-10, with 2:37 remaining.
Fifty seconds later, kicker Mike Nugent added a 44-yard field goal, his third of the game, to help the Bengals build a commanding 3 1/2-game game lead over the second-place Steelers (4-4) in the AFC North.
After the game, Vincent Rey looked around the Cincinnati locker room and smiled.
“7-0,” the linebacker said to no one in particular. “7-0. How about that?”
Fellow linebacker Vontaze Burfict also weighed in: “Being 7-0 is great and being in first place is great but it’s always a great feeling whenever we beat the Steelers,” he said.
“They are our archrival. It’s always extra special to come in here and beat them on their home field.”
With the clock winding down, the Steelers drove to the Cincinnati 16 but the game ended on an incomplete pass by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Dalton completed 22 of 38 passes after entering the game with an NFL-best 161.1 passer rating, but was intercepted twice with the Bengals trailing 10-6, getting picked by Antwon Blake in the end zone and free safety Mike Mitchell at the Pittsburgh 24.
The Bengals also had two fourth-quarter interceptions of Roethlisberger, who was in his first game back after missing four games with a sprained knee. Strong safety Shawn Williams’ pick set up the winning touchdown and free safety Reggie Nelson’s second interception of the game led to Nugent’s last field goal.
“We were determined we weren’t going to get beat,” Nelson said.
Roethlisberger was 26-of-39 passing for 239 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted three times.
“We have to do a better job of taking care of the football to have a chance to beat good people,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
Roethlisberger was not happy with his performance and refused to use rustiness from the long layoff as an excuse.
“I‘m obviously disappointed in the way that I played,” he said. “I let this team down and I let the fans down. This one is one me and I‘m taking the blame and letting everyone know that I have to play better.”
Steelers star running back Le‘Veon Bell was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a right knee injury. While Tomlin said after the game that Bell was being evaluated, a team source told The Sports Xchange that the Steelers are optimistic that he has sprained medial collateral ligament rather than a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Bell caught a pass from Roethlisberger and his knee twisted awkwardly underneath him when tackled by Burfict.
Bell also suffered a knee injury in last year’s regular-season finale against the Bengals and missed the Steelers’ loss in the first round of the playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens.
“It was a clean play,” Burfict said. “Le‘Veon is a good friend of mine. We’re not trying to hurt anyone. It’s just football and injuries happen.”
Editing by Andrew Both