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(Sunday, September 27th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 23, Pittsburgh 20
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Andre Caldwell's four-yard touchdown catch with 14 seconds left in the game helped the Cincinnati Bengals take a tough 23-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC North battle.
Carson Palmer went 20-for-37 with 183 yards and a score while Cedric Benson had 16 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals (2-1), who have won their past two games after a heartbreaking loss to Denver in Week 1.
Chad Ochocinco had five catches for 54 yards while Caldwell added six catches for 52 yards for Cincinnati, which had lost eight straight home games against the Steelers.
"We have momentum going into next week at Cleveland and we go into Baltimore the week after. We play very well on the road. I'm really looking forward to that matchup," said Ochocinco. "I just want to take time off to let this one soak in. It's been a real long time."
Ben Roethlisberger went 22-for-31 with 276 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception while adding a rushing touchdown for the Steelers (1-2), who have dropped their past two games. Roethlisberger was 10-0 in his career in the state of Ohio coming into the game.
"For the second week, we were unable to make significant plays at the end of the football game to secure a victory," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "Let me start by complimenting the Cincinnati Bengals, because they did. We respect that element of it and we accept responsibility for our actions."
Willie Parker had 25 carries for 93 yards and two catches for 36 yards and a score. Mike Wallace added seven catches for 102 yards in the loss.
Trailing by 11 points late in the third quarter and facing a 4th-and-3, the Bengals used a fake punt to move the chains, but the drive later stalled and a 52-yard field goal attempt from Shayne Graham was off the mark early in the fourth.
The Bengals defense forced a three-and-out from the Steelers and the offense took over with the ball at their own 15. Consecutive 14-yard passes to Caldwell and Ochocinco got the ball near midfield. A 17-yard pass interference call then got the ball to the Steelers 40. Four plays later, Benson took the ball into the end zone on a 23-yard score. The two-point conversion failed and it was a 20-15 game with 9:14 to play.
Pittsburgh was unable to score on its next touch, but did take four minutes off the clock before giving it back to the Bengals at their 29-yard line with 5:14 to play.
Palmer completed his first three passes for 31 yards and combined with 11 yards from Benson to get the ball to the Pittsburgh 28-yard line. Then facing a 4th-and-2, Palmer completed a five-yard pass to Laveranues Coles to move the chains with under a minute to go.
A spiked ball and two incompletions gave Cincinnati a 4th-and-10 at the 15, but Palmer dumped the ball off to Brian Leonard, who caught the ball in the flat and stretched over the first down marker to give the Bengals a fresh set of downs.
After another spike to kill the clock, Palmer dropped back and hit Caldwell in the end zone and, coupled with a two-point conversion, gave the Bengals a three-point lead with 14 ticks left on the clock.
Pittsburgh brought the kickoff to its own 34 with time left for one last play, but Roethlisberger's last-ditch pass fell incomplete as Cincinnati grabbed the win.
Cincinnati moved backward on its first possession of the game and punted the ball to Pittsburgh. The Steelers needed 11 plays to move 79 yards and a 19-yard field goal from Jeff Reed gave the team a 3-0 lead with a bit less than seven minutes to play in the first. The big plays of the drive were a 41- yard catch by Hines Ward and a 24-yard run from Parker.
The Bengals again failed to move on their following touch and Pittsburgh padded its lead. With a 1st-and-10 at the Cincinnati 27, Roethlisberger avoided the rush and tossed a soft pass to Parker, who avoided a tackle on his way into the end zone for a 10-0 lead with just over a minute to play in the first.
Again the Cincinnati offense sputtered and Pittsburgh got the ball back at its own 39. On the first play, Roethlisberger connected with Wallace on a 51-yard strike that moved the ball to the Bengals' 10-yard line. However, Pittsburgh was held and settled for a 24-yard field goal from Reed for a 13-0 lead early in the second.
The Bengals were finally able to get on the board on the final play of the first half as Shayne Graham's 34-yard field goal capped a seven-play drive to cut the team's deficit to 13-3.
Pittsburgh started the third quarter with the ball, but a poor pass by Roethlisberger was picked off by Johnathan Joseph, who ran it into the end zone on a 30-yard score. However, the snap on the extra point attempt went over the holder's head and it was a 13-9 game early in the third.
Pittsburgh got the ball into scoring position on its next touch, but a 52-yard field goal attempt by Reed was no good and the Bengals got the ball back at their own 42.
The Steelers defense held the Bengals and the team got the ball back at their own 25-yard line.
The offense responded with a long drive of 11 plays that killed almost seven minutes of the clock and was capped on a one-yard push into the end zone by Roethlisberger for a 20-9 lead with three minutes to play in the third. The big play of the drive occurred on 3rd-and-13 at the Pittsburgh 22 when Roethlisberger moved the chains with a 16-yard pass to Wallace.
The Steelers had won the previous five games against Cincinnati...The last time Pittsburgh started the season 1-2 was in the 2006 season when it lost three of the first four games and finished 8-8...The Steelers outgained the Bengals, 373-273 and controlled the ball for 34:42...Cincinnati plays at Cleveland last season...The Steelers host San Diego next Sunday.
09/27 22:35:59 ET
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