It seemed like a loss.
Predictably so, as if destiny decided to cash in her chips.
Cincinnati, attempting to extend their undefeated season, faced their perfectionist mortality. Andy Dalton had thrown two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one of which nullified a scoring opportunity from the Steelers' five-yard line. There was no running game. Pass protection felt more like idealism, as opposed to something practiced.
Pittsburgh had the football on their own 28-yard line with 5:46 remaining in the fourth quarter. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger faked the handoff to backup running back DeAngelo Williams and then pivoted on his right foot. Defensive end Will Clarke forced Roethlisberger to eat the football while Pat Sims made contact. If we've learned anything over the years, it's silly to think anyone can bring down this quarterback on their own. Predictably, Sims slid off Roethlisberger as if his uniform was coated in butter. Roethlisberger escaped and scanned the field until mounting pressure compressed his peripheral.
He targeted fullback Will Johnson near the sidelines. What happened next was nothing short of amazing.
Safety Shawn Williams intercepted the football on Pittsburgh's 45-yard line with 5:34 remaining.
"I didn't think he was going to throw it," Williams said via Bengals.com. "But I was close enough I could make a play."
Marvin Lewis was pretty happy about the play. "That was a huge play in the game obviously," Lewis said. "He did a great job of getting it before he went out of bounds. I’m proud of it."
Cincinnati reached Pittsburgh's nine-yard line with 3:01 on the clock. A.J. Green ran a quick slant as Andy Dalton hit his receiver in stride for what became a game-winning touchdown.
The Bengals took a 13-10 lead and quickly extended it. Roethlisberger tossed his third interception of the afternoon, allowing the Bengals to take a six-point lead with 1:47 remaining in the game after Mike Nugent scored another field goal. As a result, to win, the Steelers needed to score a touchdown on their final possession, as opposed to a game-tying field goal that could have potentially put the game into overtime.
The Bengals won.
And you can probably thank Williams and his first-career interception for that.