The Pittsburgh Steelers had plenty on the line when they traveled to Paul Brown Stadium for a Week 13 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football. A win would move their record to 10-2 on the season, and all but end the Bengals’ playoff hopes for landing a Wild Card. On top of that, Pittsburgh keeping pace with the New England Patriots among the AFC Playoff Picture just added fuel to an already white hot fire.
Cincinnati won the opening coin toss, and it was the Steelers who got the first shot at putting points on the board, but the drive was stymied by an Adam Jones interception of Ben Roethlisberger on third down.
After a 15-yard penalty on Le’Veon Bell for unnecessary roughness on Vontaze Burfict, the Bengals’ first possession started well in Pittsburgh territory. However, the team’s defense was able to hold them to a field goal, this after Ryan Shazier was carted off the field on a stretcher, and the Bengals took an early 3-0 lead.
Following another Jordan Berry punt, the Bengals drove over 80-yards before Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green for the game’s first touchdown, and extended the Cincinnati lead to 10-0 with just under a minute left in the first quarter.
The second quarter was a true punt-fest, with both teams sharing nothing but punts the entire quarter, until Andy Dalton and company put together a 15-play drive, taking up more than six minutes off the clock, and ended with another touchdown pass to A.J. Green to extend their lead 17-0 before halftime.
The Steelers’ offense continued to be horrible on third downs, and key situations, but the team’s defense was even worse in the first half. After Shazier’s injury, the Steelers defense was a shell of its former self throughout the first half.
Pittsburgh moved the ball into Cincinnati territory with only 21-seconds left in the first half, and a Dre Kirkpatrick defensive pass interference call put Pittsburgh inside the red-zone for the first time. With only 5-seconds left in the half, Mike Tomlin elected to take the Chris Boswell field goal to put points on the board, making the score 17-3 heading into halftime.
For the first time in the past three games, the Steelers did not surrender a big touchdown on the opening drive of the second half, and instead the defense forced a three-and-out giving the ball back to the offense.
Ben Roethlisbeger, and Le’Veon Bell, moved the ball into Cincinnati territory with ease, and on a rather simple checkdown pass several Cincinnati defenders assumed Bell was going to run out of bounds, but Bell tight-roped the sideline and ran by everyone for the first Steelers’ touchdown of the game. The Boswell point-after made the score 17-10 with 8:58 left in the third quarter.
Cincinnati’s offense continued to move the ball on the banged up Pittsburgh defense, and after what looked like another touchdown pass from Dalton to Green, a holding call stymied the drive and equated into another Randy Bullock field goal to extend their lead 20-10 in the third quarter.
The Steelers’ defense finally stood tall on the next Bengals’ possession, and Pittsburgh turned their next chance on offense into a Chris Boswell field goal to cut the Cincinnati lead to one score, 20-13 with just over 10-minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Not to be outdone, Ben Roethlisberger orchestrated another 4th quarter drive, throughout several huge hits and penalties, which resulted in a touchdown pass to Antonio Brown to tie the game 20-20 with 3:44 left in the game.
The Steelers’ defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, giving the Steelers the ball with just over two-minutes left in the game only needing a field goal to win the game. Roethlisberger moved the team with ease into Chris Boswell’s field goal range, and Boswell nailed the kick for the win 23-20.
The win moves the Steelers’ record to 10-2 on the season, as they travel back to Pittsburgh to play host to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 on Sunday Night Football.