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Open Thread II: Cincinnati Bengals At Pittsburgh Steelers

With a nine-game losing streak on the line, the Cincinnati Bengals offense came out of the game firing on all cylinders, thanks to multiple Pittsburgh Steelers defensive fouls that helped pushed the Bengals downfiled. Eight plays and 69 yards, with Palmer completing all four passes for 36 yards, the drive was capped with a touchdown to Andrew Whitworth set up by an Ike Taylor pass interference that put the Bengals on the Steelers one-yard line. Aside from an interception return for touchdown by Troy Polamalu, Palmer's first half has largely been well played, completing 11 of 15 passes for 100 yards and the touchdown pass to Whitworth all of the while finding ways to stay alive against a tough Steelers pass rush. Chad Ochocinco leads the team with four receptions for 43 yards receiving. Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott have combined for 31 yards rushing on 11 attempts.

Even though the Bengals are at a 34 yard disadvantage in total yards, Cincinnati has nearly a five-minute advantage in time of possession through the first half. After scoring their game opening touchdown, the Bengals offense has punted three times and Palmer was picked off for an interception return for touchdown. His 16th of the year.

The Bengals defense has played far better than anyone had expected. Forcing the Steelers to punt on their first three possessions, the Steelers offense finally scored points in the final minutes of the first half on a 13-play drive that went 75 yards for a field goal to take a 10-7 lead in the game. Cincinnati's pass rush has largely dominated the Steelers offense, knocking Roethlisberger around, including two quarterback sacks -- one by Michael Johnson and one (officially) by Chinedum Ndukwe -- Carlos Dunlap was in on the quarterback sack also but not credited. Dunlap nearly had an interception in the waning minutes of the first half that was called incomplete. Cincinnati's defense needs to keep Ben contained in the pocket because the quarterback leads the Steelers with 23 yards rushing on three attempts.