Kevin Huber connected on a 40-yard punt with under eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, pushing the Steelers to their own 13-yard line. On first down, Ben Roethlisberger unleashes a pass down the left sidelines where Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson breaks up the pass, which should have been picked off. A clutch tackle on running back Rashard Mendenhall on second down by Nate Clements, forces the Steelers into a third and six situation. Roethlisberger completes a five yard pass to Miller, who kept chugging his legs, picking up the two yards needed for the first down.
Then Pittsburgh's passing game seemingly (and temporarily) fell apart. After slipping on a drop back, giving Manny Lawson and Domata Peko a shared sack, Robert Geathers power rushed the right tackle into the quarterback, slipping off the block and completing the sack. With 19 yards needed on third down, it appears that the Steelers will be getting ready to punt.
THE KILLER: Roethlisberger uncorks a pass two yards beyond the line of scrimmage for receiver Antonio Brown, who bobbled the 21-yard reception, though completing the catch for the first down.
The third down conversions are hurting Cincinnati's defense.
Third and seven, following a massive hit by Manny Lawson on Roethlisberger who just barely released the football for an incomplete, Antonio Brown completes the 15-yard reception on a hitch route, picking up another first down at Pittsburgh's 39-yard line with 3:22 remaining in the first half.
The "Leon Hall is now being targeted" drive, Roethlisberger completes another 17-yard pass to Brown, surpassing midfield just as the first half reaches the two-minute warning.
One first down with 1:58 remaining in the first half, Heath Miller's offensive pass interference negates a 24-yard touchdown reception to Jerricho Cotchery, pushing the Steelers back to the Bengals 34-yard line. It didn't matter. Chris Crocker lines up on Brown, who outpaces the safety and hauls in the 21-yard reception for the first down to Cincinnati's 13-yard line.
A minimal three-yard Mendenhall run and a bad Roethlisberger throw (thanks to pressure from Michael Johnson and Robert Geathers) sets up a third and seven from Cincinnati's 10-yard line with 1:12 remaining in the half.
Roethlisberger takes the shotgun snap, pump fakes to his left just as Geno Atkins drills the quarterback, completing the sack for a 10-yard loss. Steelers place kicker Shaun Suisham converts the 39-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 17-10 first half lead.