Winner - Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard
For the third straight game and fifth game overall, rookie running back Jeremy Hill hit the 100-yard milestone on Sunday. Hill finished the season with 1,124 yards rushing, falling five yards shy of Corey Dillon's rookie record of 1,129 yards. Fellow back Giovani Bernard was second on the team with 56 yards receiving Sunday and scored a game-tying touchdown with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter. Both running backs combined for 174 yards from scrimmage, or 51.6 percent of the team's total offense.
Loser - Bengals passing game
With all due respect to everyone involved, when Cincinnati calls a passing play, there's a hint of nervousness that's involved. A cringe even. Close your eyes and squeeze your eyelids shut. I'm not here to completely lay that blame on quarterback Andy Dalton, who himself took the blame for both interceptions in the first half. Dalton and Green misread the first and Dalton overthrew Green on the second. Yet Mohamed Sanu, who caught one pass for 16 yards, was targeted once. Jermaine Gresham had 20 yards and A.J. Green lost one of the more catastrophic fumbles of the season, crushing a go-ahead drive. Is it fair to say that the transfer from Jay Gruden to Hue Jackson has led to decline in the passing game?
Winner - Reggie Nelson
Despite a legal hit leading to a "he said, she said" confrontation with head coach Mike Tomlin, safety Reggie Nelson is on a Cincinnati Bengals defense that could be defined as Swiss cheese. Nelson intercepted a Roethlisberger pass with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter, ending a scoring threat by Pittsburgh and giving Cincinnati the football back on the Bengals 11-yard line. Cincinnati would drive 89 yards to score a touchdown and reduce their deficit to three points.
Loser - Pass rush
The Cincinnati Bengals pass rush had nothing to offer for their defense as Ben Roethlisberger appeared to be playing behind an offensive line who should be considered for the all-pro team. In 82 passing plays called by the Pittsburgh Steelers (in both games combined), the Bengals couldn't muster a quarterback sack and only hit Roethlisberger three times -- all of which were during the Week 14 game on Dec. 7. During Cincinnati's Sunday Night loss to the Steelers, the Bengals could only generate six quarterback hurries and virtually no contact.