Do the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers have a long and storied history? They do now. The rivalry dates back to 1970, and the series includes 105 games. No matter the record of either team, they both always seem to put on a fantastic show with great storylines attached. The Steelers hold a big advantage in the series with a record of 67-38, including 2 playoff victories over the men in stripes. However, the Bengals are defending AFC Champs and have won three-straight in the rivalry.
Here’s a brief tale of the tape:
Points: Bengals 1,855, Steelers 2,309
Wins: Steelers 67, Bengals 38
Home Record: Steelers 35-17, Bengals 32-21
Shutouts: 2 - Steelers 15, Bengals 0 (10/15/00), Steelers 20, Bengals 0 (10/19/92)
Biggest Win Margin: 11/6/1988 - Bengals 42, Steelers 7
Closest Game: Bengals 17, Steelers 16 (10/12/1980), Steelers 7, Bengals 6 (11/19/1978)
Overtime Games: 4 - Steelers 3-1, Bengals 1-3
Postseason Record: Steelers 2, Bengals 0
Now Let’s take a look at the most memorable games that these two franchises have offered up to the football world in games played in Cincinnati only. We will do the home games come Week 11.
November 22, 1970 - Bengals 34, Steelers 7
After losing three weeks earlier in the first game of this great rivalry, the once 1-6 Bengals would win the rematch at home 34–7 during a seven-game win streak and finish 8-6 to capture the AFC Central crown. Virgil Carter’s three touchdowns (two in the air, one on the ground) and Paul Robinson’s 119 yards and a score beat down the not-quite-yet Men of Steel.
October 10, 1983 - Steelers 24 - Bengals 14
The Steelers had lost four-straight in Riverfront Stadium before a Monday Night affair in 1983 in the Queen CIty. Ken Anderson was five-for-five through the air until disaster struck. Keith Willis’ sack of Anderson was by the facemask and forced No. 14 out of the game. In came Turk Schonert who blew a 14-10 lead in the Fourth Quarter by throwing two pick-sixes, one to Ron Johnson and another to Harvey Clayton. The Steelers had no offensive scores as the defense dominate with a then-record 9 sack performance and a 38-yard fumble recovery for a score by Rick Woods.
November 6, 1988 - Bengals 42, Steelers 7
The Bengals defeated the Steelers 42–7, the largest margin of victory for either team in the series. The Steelers were in the midst of one of their worst seasons in the modern era at a record of 2-7 coming into the contest. The Bengals dominated through the air with Boomer Esiason throwing three touchdown passes, two two Eddie Brown who also had 216 yards receiving. On the ground, the home team was equally menacing with three James Brooks scores and 110 yards on 10 carries for Ickey Woods. Ironically, the Steelers didn’t turnover the football once, but the offensive line allowed four sacks. Bubby Brister’s 9-yard run was the Steelers only score in a dreadful game. Chuck Noll’s team would lose two more before winning three of their last four to finish at 5-11. Meanwhile, Cincy went on to enter, but lose, Super Bowl XXIII that season, their most recent appearance in a Super Bowl until last season.
November 19, 1995 - Steelers 49, Bengals 31
This is one of my most-favorite regular season games in the history of the NFL. With 10:31 remaining in Quarter No. 3, the Bengals were dominating the Steelers thoroughly by the score of 31-13. But Neil O’Donnell and the visiting black and gold finally got things together scoring 36 unanswered. No. 14 threw two of his three touchdown passes to Kordell Stewart and Andre Hastings (Ernie Mills caught one in the First Quarter) with Byron “Bam” Morris reaching the end zone three times on the ground.
January 8, 2006 - Steelers 31, Bengals 17 (2005 AFC Wildcard Playoff Game)
It took 38 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals to meet for the first-ever postseason matchup between the two division rivals and it was absolutely worth the wait. The division-winning Bengals, with their high-powered offense and staunch defense, were favorites against the sixth-seeded visitors. After Steelers defensive lineman Kimo von Oelhoffen unintentionally rolled into Carson Palmer’s knee on the second play from scrimmage, fortunes didn’t immediately change as the Bengals led 17-7, but 24 unanswered points sent Bill Cowher’s team of destiny to top-seeded Indy and an eventual Lombardi trophy at Super XL.
December 31, 2006 - Steelers 23, Bengals 17 (OT)
A year after they won Super Bowl XL, the 7-8 Steelers had no shot at making the postseason in 2006. However, the Cincinnati Bengals merely needed to defeat their division rivals to get in. On New Year’s Eve, the Pittsburgh Steelers took pleasure in “ringing out the Bengals” earlier on in the day. The fourth quarter started with the Steelers leading 7-3, but the game seemed lost with the Bengals leading at the two-minute warning 17-14. But with 1:03 left, Jeff Reed hit a 35-yard field goal to send the dandy into overtime. Then, Bengals fans rode the “esca-loser” in horror after Ben Roethlisberger connected with Ohio State rookie Santonio Holmes for a 67-yard touchdown with 1:33 remaining in overtime. This would be the final game of Bill Cowher’s Hall of Fame career.
January 9, 2016 - Steelers 18, Bengals 16 (2015 AFC Wildcard Playoff Game)
This game is one of the most infamous and satisfying to Steelers fans in the history of the rivalry. The Steelers led 15–0 after a spectacular Martavis Bryant touchdown catch and three Chris Boswell field goals. However, Roethlisberger had left the game after a dirty hit by Vontaze Burfict. But A. J. McCarron, starting for an injured Andy Dalton, led the Bengals back with 16 unanswered. Then it got crazy. Ryan Shazier would force two fumbles, one that knocked Giovanni Bernard out of the game and another when Jeremy Hill was trying to run out the clock after a Burfict interception of Landry Jones. In the most improbable series of events, Roethlisberger returned despite barely being able to lift his arm and led the Steelers down the field. Then forget crazy, it got downright insane. On a pass over the middle to Antonio Brown, Burfict was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a brutal and concussing blow to Brown’s head. To make matters worse, the notorious Adam “Pac-Man” Jones got into an altercation with Joey Porter, who as an assistant coach shouldn’t really have been on the field, but was checking on AB. After 30 yards in penalties, Boswell came on for the game-winning field goal from 35 yards out. The only thing left for the Bengals was the crying and another star in the form of “Crying Bengals Lady” was born.
October 14, 2018 - Steelers 28, Bengals 21
This was the game that cost Vontaze Burfict $112,000 for illegal hits on Antonio Brown and James Conner and pointing to JuJu Smith-Schuster and telling him, “You’re next.” But the biggest storyline of this ball game was the Steelers falling behind when Joe Mixon made the score 21-20 with 1:18 remaining and Ben Roethlisberger answering with a 31-yard pass to AB with 10 seconds left. Smith-Schuster had 111 yards receiving and Conner 111 rushing and two touchdowns for the victorious visitors.