The Steelers' offense was still looking for its identity heading into its Week 12 duel in Cincinnati.
After spotting the Bengals a 31-13 lead in the third quarter, needless to say, the Steelers offense found their identity.
In one of his finest games as the Steelers' quarterback, Neil O'Donnell and his lethal five-receiver set overwhelmed the Bengals' defense. O'Donnell threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns, while Bam Morris scored three short-range touchdowns in the second half en route to a 49-31 comeback victory.
After a touchdown catch by Andre Hastings and Morris' first touchdown cut the Steelers' deficit to three points heading into the fourth quarter, a 71-yard touchdown pass from O'Donnell to Kordell "Slash" Stewart gave Pittsburgh the lead for good at 35-31. Stewart paced the Steelers with 86 yards receiving and was one of 10 Steelers to record a catch. Ernie Mills and Yancy Thigpen tallied 80 and 86 receiving yards, respectively, with the former scoring on a 42-yard reception to make the score 21-10 Bengals in the second quarter.
Led by Jeff Blake, the Bengals offense scored 10 of the game's next 13 points before the Steelers' offense took over. Pittsburgh rolled up 377 passing yards, 191 yards on the ground, and recorded 28 first downs. Now with the lead late in the game, Pittsburgh played ball control with Morris, who bulldozed his way to 101 yards that included the game's final two touchdowns.
Pittsburgh's defense also played well down the stretch after struggling early. Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, and Jason Gildon each recorded sacks as Blitzburgh held the Bengals to 265 total yards while converting on just three of their 10 third downs.
After starting the season with a 3-4 record through seven games, Pittsburgh's 49-31 win in Cincinnati was the fourth win in what would become an eight-game winning streak. The Steelers' dominant defense and the five-receiver set steamrolled through the Bills in the divisional round of the playoffs, then held their breath as Jim Harbaugh's Hail Mary passed fell incomplete, securing Pittsburgh's 20-16 win over the Colts in the AFC Championship Game.