Sunday marks the 90th matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL team they have faced the most frequently in their history, the Pittsburgh Steelers. In their 90 previous meetings, the Bengals have won only 35 games, including their first contest this season by a close score of 16-10 in a defensive battle.
Bengals 16 – Steelers 10
The Bengals had fewer rushing yards, fewer passing yards, fewer first downs, more penalty yards, less time of possession, a lower completion percentage, more missed field goals and a worse third down conversion percentage than the Steelers in Week 8 when the two teams first met this season.
But despite all this, the Bengals still won. There was one attribute in the Bengals’ favor: turnovers. The Bengals won the turnover battle with a slim 3 to 2 edge, or a +1 margin. Andy Dalton tossed a pair of interceptions, but Ben Roethlisberger upped him with three interceptions of his own. Two of Roethlisberger's interceptions were hauled in by Reggie Nelson, who leads the NFL with seven picks.
Due to suspensions and injuries, the Week 8 game was only the second one in which the Steelers were able to feature both Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell on the field at the same time. It also was the last time that the Steelers were able to offer such a pairing, as Bell’s season came to an abrupt end in that game. For the second time in three years, the high volume running back was unable to play a full 16 game season due to injury.
After Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a one yard touchdown pass on their opening drive, the Bengals’ defense tightened up, allowing no further touchdowns for the remainder of the game.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, the Steelers' defense played just as strong. After the Steelers took an early 7-0 lead on Brown’s touchdown catch, the teams kicked a few field goals over the next 50 minutes, and with just under three minutes remaining, the Steelers held a 10-6 lead, having led the entire game.
With 2:57 on the game clock, Dalton connected with A.J. Green on a nine yard touchdown pass to give the Bengals their first lead at 13-10.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Roethlisberger tossed his third interception of the day, on a pass intended for Antonio Brown. The Bengals were content to burn some clock and cause the Steelers to use their time outs, and after three rushes for zero yards, the Bengals took a six point lead on a Mike Nugent 44 yard field goal.
Up 16-10, the Bengals forced the Steelers to drive the length of the field to score the game winning touchdown. Fortunately, the Steelers were not up for the task. Although Roethlisberger completed six of eight pass attempts for 74 yards, it was not enough to get them into the end zone before the clock expired.
The Bengals came away with a hard fought 16-10 road victory against the Steelers in a game that propelled the Bengals to 7-0 for the first time in team history.