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(Sunday, November 13th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 17
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Rashard Mendenhall scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter and Pittsburgh's defense came up with two interceptions in the fourth to claim a 24-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in a key AFC North battle.
Mendenhall carried the ball 16 times for 44 yards and two scores for the Steelers (7-3), who came into the game a half-game behind the Bengals and Ravens in the division. Baltimore's loss to Seattle on Sunday moved Pittsburgh atop the standings.
Ben Roethlisberger completed 21-of-33 passes for 245 yards, one touchdown and an interception for Pittsburgh, which bounced back from a tough 23-20 loss to the Ravens last Sunday.
Mike Wallace caught six passes for 54 yards and carried the ball two times for 31 yards for the victors.
"Good bounce back for us in many ways," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. "Probably more than anything the sufficient plays from the defense particularly down the stretch to preserve the win in light of how we finished the game last week. We are excited about that."
Andy Dalton connected on 15-of-30 passes for 170 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for Cincinnati (6-3), which had a five-game winning streak snapped.
With the score tied at 17-17 midway through the third quarter, the Steelers put together an 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive. Jerricho Cotchery got the march going with a 13-yard catch. Antonio Brown caught a 12-yard pass a few plays later to put the ball at the Cincinnati 40. Isaac Redman followed with an 11-yard run before Wallace added a 12-yard catch to put the ball at the nine. Mendenhall then broke through a leg tackle and rumbled into the end zone for a 24-17 lead with 1:55 to go.
Lawrence Timmons picked off Dalton early in the fourth. The Steelers took over at their own 33, but were forced to punt.
After two more punts, the Bengals took over near midfield with 4:28 left. Cincinnati used the ground game to get to the 25, but William Gay came up with a huge interception.
"The guy made a great play and jumped the route," Dalton said. "My eyes were on the flat defender and when I let go of it he jumped it. He made a great play."
The Steelers kept the ball for the final 2:27 for the victory.
The Steelers jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead. A 38-yard punt by the Bengals set up Pittsburgh at its own 46. Wallace caught two short passes before running 15 yards to the 16. Three plays later, Roethlisberger rolled to his right and found Cotchery in the end zone for a 16-yard score.
Another three-and-out by Cincinnati was followed by a second Pittsburgh touchdown. Mendenhall caught a 26-yard pass before Wallace broke a run for 16 yards to move the ball to the Bengals' 33. Faced with a 3rd-and-10 from the 20, Heath Miller caught an 18-yard pass. Mendenhall then rumbled into the end zone from two yards out for a 14-0 margin with 3:37 left in the first quarter.
The Bengals finally woke up on offense during their next drive. Andrew Hawkins caught a 25-yard pass on third down to keep the march alive. A few players later, Dalton threw a jump ball into the end zone for his rookie wide receiver. A.J. Green managed to catch the ball for a 36-yard score despite being double covered. The rookie hurt his right leg on the catch.
Cincinnati's defense followed with a big play. On the second play of the second quarter, Miller bobbled a pass from Roethlisberger and Leon Hall took the ball away from the tight end for the interception. The Bengals got a 43- yard field goal from Mike Nugent to cut the gap to 14-10.
The Steelers almost had another touchdown before the half. Roethlisberger threw what seemed to be a 24-yard TD pass to Cotchery, but Miller was called for offensive pass interference. Brown caught a 21-yard pass on the next play to move the ball to the 13. Pittsburgh had to settle for a Shaun Suisham 39- yard field goal and 17-10 lead at the break.
The Bengals tied the game early in the third period with an 11-play, 67-yard drive. Faced with a 3rd-and-10 near midfield, Andre Caldwell caught an 11-yard pass. Colin Cochart then caught a 25-yard pass to put the ball at the 10. A seven-yard catch by Caldwell combined with a personal foul penalty on the Steelers put the ball at the one. Dalton found Jermaine Gresham in the left corner of the end zone to make it 17-17 with 8 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Steelers hold a 50-32 lead in their overall regular-season series with Cincinnati, which includes a sweep of last year's home-and-home set between the divisional foes...Hall left the game with an Achilles injury in the first half...Roethlisberger is 8-1 at Paul Brown Stadium in his career...Brown caught five passes for 86 yards...Hawkins hauled in five passes for 56 yards.
11/13 20:43:25 ET