Brutish Bengals gift Steelers wild card victory

Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:52am EST
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(Reuters) - The Pittsburgh Steelers secured a last-ditch 18-16 victory over bitter rivals the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, coming out on top of an ill-tempered AFC Wild Card game to extend the home team's long wait for a playoff win.

The contest seemed to be safely in Cincinnati's hands after they fought back from a 15-0 deficit with 16 fourth-quarter points and seized control of the ball with less than two minutes remaining on a Vontaze Burfict interception.

However, as the Bengals endeavored to run out the clock and secure a first playoff victory since 1991, running back Jeremy Hill fumbled after a hit by linebacker Ryan Shazier and the Steelers recovered deep in their own territory.

Inspired by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's return to the game after he was earlier withdrawn with a shoulder injury following a bone-jarring sack, Pittsburgh marched down the field.

In the dying seconds, the Steelers benefited from a pair of personal foul calls, a ferocious late hit to the head by Burfict on an incomplete pass to Antonio Brown and another 15-yard foul on cornerback Adam Jones in the ensuing melee.

That set up a game-winning, 35-yard field goal by Chris Boswell with 14 seconds left.

"It's an emotional football game. Emotional football players, emotional playoffs, everything," Roethlisberger told reporters.

"I'm just so proud of everybody, players stepped up."

When asked about his shoulder, the quarterback said: "We got a win, that's all that matters."   Continued...

Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell (9) kicks the game winning field goal during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports