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(Monday, November 8th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 21
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Mike Wallace finished with five catches for 110 yards and the eventual decisive touchdown, as the Pittsburgh Steelers withstood a last-minute Bengals drive to take a 27-21 victory.
Antwaan Randle El threw the TD pass to Wallace, while Ben Roethlisberger completed 17-of-27 passes for 163 yards, with one touchdown and an interception.
Rashard Mendenhall ran for 99 yards and a score for the Steelers (6-2), who rebounded from last week's loss to New Orleans and moved into a tie with Baltimore atop the AFC North.
Carson Palmer passed for 248 yards and two scores to Terrell Owens, who has 151 career touchdown catches. He finished the game with 10 receptions for 141 yards.
Cedric Benson ran for a score with 9:05 left to get the Bengals within six, and they got the ball back following Jeff Reed's missed field goal.
Palmer led Cincinnati to the Pittsburgh 12 inside the final minute, but the Bengals (2-6) turned the ball over on downs and suffered their fifth consecutive loss.
The Steelers looked to be in total control after scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter. With the ball at the Cincinnati 39, Roethlisberger handed off to Randle El, who was in motion from right to left and curled back toward the center of the field after receiving the ball. He aired out a pass for the end zone, and Wallace made the grab in front of a defender for a 27-7 lead.
"Our division teams certainly have to watch out for different things that we do on offense, especially when it comes to those plays like that," Randle El said. "They're aware of it. I've done it against Cleveland, I've done it against Baltimore, I've done it against Cincinnati now."
But the Bengals, who beat Pittsburgh twice last season en route to the division title, began their comeback on the ensuing drive.
Palmer's passing, with the help of a tripping penalty on Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley, led Cincinnati to the Pittsburgh 27 for a first down. On the next play, Palmer unleashed a long throw as he was hit, and Owens made the catch over his shoulder as he ran toward the right rear corner of the end zone.
That had the Bengals within 27-14, and Cincinnati got the ball back following Roethlisberger's interception. The quarterback released a floating, wobbling throw that safety Roy Williams grabbed near midfield. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Steelers' Flozell Adams allowed Cincinnati to set up at the Pittsburgh 36.
The Bengals moved down the field thanks to two more Steelers penalties. A roughing-the-passer call on Casey Hampton advanced the ball 15 yards, and Ike Taylor was flagged for pass interference on Palmer's TD try to Owens. That put the ball at the one, and two plays later Benson crashed over the goal line to make it a 27-21 contest with nine minutes to play.
Pittsburgh was still in good position to secure the win, as it used a steady diet of Mendenhall runs to gain yards and drain time off the clock. But with 3:59 left, Reed's 46-yard try was wide left, and the Bengals took over at their own 36.
Their final drive was not smooth by any means. Palmer was sacked and fumbled on the first play, and tight end Reggie Kelly recovered for a 10-yard loss. The Bengals then faced a 3rd-and-14, and a short throw to Benson came out of Palmer's hand wobbling.
But Benson managed to secure the ball after tipping it to himself, then ran for a 16-yard gain.
With just more than a minute to play, Palmer's 20-yard pass to Owens over the middle had the Bengals at the Steeler 17, though an offensive holding penalty on Brian Leonard set them back 10 yards.
Palmer overcame it with a 15-yard pass to Chad Ochocinco along the right sideline. With 44 seconds on the clock, Palmer fired a bullet for Owens that sailed through the end zone. That put Cincinnati in a 4th-and-5, and Palmer went to rookie Jordan Shipley on the next play. Shipley initially had the ball, but lost control as the pass was ruled incomplete, and the Steelers ran out the clock from there.
"We ran out of time," said Bengals safety Chris Crocker. "That's the thing. We can't start that way and then, at the end of the ball game, expect to pull it out."
While the Bengals finished with a strong fourth quarter, they began the game with a series of devastating special teams mistakes.
Bernard Scott fumbled the opening kickoff, leading to Mendenhall's one-yard score a little more than two minutes into the game. William Gay then blocked the punt on Cincinnati's ensuing drive, which led to a 25-yarder from Reed and a 10-0 Steelers edge.
The Bengals, though, stabilized and took advantage of a Hines Ward fumble in the second quarter. Williams recovered at the Pittsburgh 38, and the Bengals scored on a 19-yard reception by Owens. He pulled down the high pass with 8:46 left in the half to become just the third player in NFL history with 150 career touchdown catches.
Roethlisberger threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Ward with 2:07 remaining. After Mike Nugent missed a 51-yard field goal on Cincinnati's following drive, Reed booted a 53-yarder to send Pittsburgh into halftime with a 20-7 lead.
Palmer completed 22-of-36 passes and was intercepted once...Benson finished with 54 yards on 18 carries...Mendenhall added three catches for 31 yards...Pittsburgh had four sacks, including two by Woodley...Jerry Rice (197) and Randy Moss (153) are the other receivers in NFL history with at least 150 TD catches. Owens' 10 receptions give him 1,061 for his career. He is 33 catches shy of matching Tim Brown for fourth all-time...Nugent missed both his field goal tries.
11/09 02:09:35 ET
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