There were a lot of ebbs and flows to the Sunday Night showdown between the Bengals and Steelers, as may have been expected in a game to decide the AFC North division. The Bengals used a lot of big plays on offense and defense to make it an exciting and a close game until the final minutes of the final quarter.
Let's run down the biggest Bengals plays of the evening. Cast your vote and sound off on the winner for the play of the game!
Andy Dalton's 14-yard Completion To Brandon Tate On 4th Down: In their first two possessions, the Bengals went three-and-out and allowed a punt return for a touchdown, as well as threw an interception deep in Steelers territory. The Bengals were driving after forcing a Pittsburgh punt, but faced a fourth and four at the Steelers' 35-yard line. Dalton dropped back and hit a slant to Tate for 14 yards and a critical first down. The drive culminated in a tying touchdown.
Giovani Bernard's 17-Yard Touchdown Reception: After the Tate conversion on fourth down, the Bengals were in business. On third and six, Dalton shoveled the ball off to Bernard and let him race to the end zone (complete with a hurdle and a dive) for a big, tying touchdown.
Wallace Gilberry Recovers Ben Roethlisberger's Fumble: After the Bernard touchdown, the Steelers were slowly moving up the field. On a third and three, "Big Ben" set up the formation in the shotgun, but wasn't expecting the snap. Markice Pouncey snapped it off of Roethlisberger's leg and Gilberry recovered. It led to three Bengals points.
Mike Nugent's 39-Yard Field Goal: Gilberry put the Bengals in business and the offense put six plays together. Unfortunately, the drive stalled out, but Nugent hit a critical field goal on a very unforgiving surface. The 39-yarder gave the Bengals the lead.
Reggie Nelson's Third Quarter Interception: The Bengals were down by 10 points and had already missed a field goal in the third quarter. Pittsburgh was driving to pretty much put the game away and faced a third and eight from the Bengals' 30-yard line. Roethlisberger inexplicably threw to Brown, who was blanketed by at least two Bengals defenders. Nelson picked the ball off and gave momentum to the offense that would end up taking advantage.
Jermaine Gresham's Five-Yard Touchdown Catch: Nelson set up the Bengals' offense, but they were pinned deep. Dalton led the unit on a methodical 15-play drive, capped by a physical touchdown catch by the big tight end. It was a gutsy play from the embattled Gresham as he came up with a gimpy calf after the score.
Dane Sanzenbacher's Interception On the Steelers Fake Punt Attempt: Maybe Mike Tomlin sensed that his defense was gassed and wanted to try to keep them off of the field, but he inexplicably called a fake punt on fourth down with just under six minutes to play. They were on the Bengals' side of the field, but the attempt was an utter failure with Steelers punter Brad Wing floating one to Sanzenbacher. It gave the Bengals much better field position on a drive that ended up looking like one in which they'd tie or take the lead late in the fourth.