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Banged-up Steelers top Bengals, 24-17
Andy Dalton’s slip-out-of-the-hand interception set up Roethlisberger’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller and a tying 2-point conversion to the tight end with 24 seconds left in the half. Chris Rainey’s 11-yard touchdown run put the Steelers ahead early in the fourth quarter, and the injury fill-ins finished them off.
“I’m proud of the way those young guys stepped up,” said Roethlisberger, who was 27 of 37 for 278 yards. “There never was a doubt they would do that.”
The Bengals got the better of it at the outset, pulling ahead 14-3 by getting their running game moving behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis and turning a fumble by Roethlisberger into a touchdown. If they were going to end that streak of futility against the Steelers, this was their chance.
Dalton’s only glaring mistake made the difference.
He saw a defender waiting to make an interception and tried to stop his throwing motion. The ball slipped out of his hand, hit the helmet of Bengals lineman Kevin Zeitler and deflected to linebacker LaMarr Woodley at the Cincinnati 29-yard line with 1:23 left in the half. That set up Roethlisberger’s tying TD pass and conversion.
“You can’t have a thing like that happen,” Dalton said. “We had a chance to go down and score points or at least keep it where it was. What you can’t let happen is not just let the ball slip out of your hands, but let them get an interception and get points.”
The Steelers’ 31st-ranked running game was missing Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, as well as center Maurkice Pouncey and right tackle Marcus Gilbert. Rookie Mike Adams made his first start in Gilbert’s spot.
Plus, Polamalu was inactive for the fourth time in the last five games with a calf injury.
That put a lot on Roethlisberger, who usually does well in his home state — 15-2 all-time in Cleveland and Cincinnati — but has rarely been so short-handed.
“On the road, which is big for us, in this hostile environment — I can’t say enough about it,” Roethlisberger said.
Notes: Steelers rookie NT Alameda Ta'amu served the first of his two-game suspension for his arrest last weekend. … Bengals rookie CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive for the seventh game. He hurt his left knee over the summer and hasn’t played. He’s expected to be ready after the Bengals’ upcoming bye week. … BengalsC Jeff Faine injured a hamstring, forcing rookie Trevor Robinson to take over in the second half. … The Steelers wasted a chance to score off a trick play in the first half. Roethlisberger threw a lateral to Antonio Brown, who threw a pass to uncovered running back Baron Batch. The ball went through his arms. Roethlisberger then threw an end zone interception.
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