As it often goes when going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers, yards and points came at a premium for the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Both teams had swarming and physical defenses at Heinz Field, as evidenced by big hits and other injuries accrued on the afternoon. But, it was the Bengals' defense who just happened to make one more big play to secure the win.
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Reggie Nelson's First Interception of Ben Roethlisberger:
After what some might view as a boring first half with 13 total points, the second half ensued with the Bengals receiving the ball. They ran five offensive plays, with a sixth being a punt back to the Steelers at their own 17-yard line, as they attempted to extend their lead. On third down, Roethlisberger heaved a pass deep to Antonio Brown and it fluttered as the football arrived. Nelson swiped it and returned it 37 yards back back to the Steelers' 33-yard line.
Shawn Williams' Fourth Quarter Interception:
While Cincinnati's defense was holding strong and disallowing the Steelers' offense in the end zone, the team was still down 10-6 on the road midway in the fourth quarter. On a second down with under six minutes to play, Roethlisberger rolled out and avoided pressure for what seemed like an eternity. He saw an open Will Johnson along the sideline, but didn't realize the Bengals' backup safety would make a gigantic play to swing the momentum.
A.J. Green Touchdown Reception From Andy Dalton:
The Williams interception would have been all for naught if the Bengals offense couldn't capitalize and grab the lead. Cincinnati was still down four points and moving the ball was extremely difficult all afternoon. The Bengals ran six plays and got down to the Pittsburgh nine-yard-line, however, they faced a third and two. Dalton hit Green on a slant route and the Pro Bowl wideout capped a huge day with a go-ahead touchdown.
Reggie Nelson's Second Interception:
In what was so un-Roethlisberger-like, "Big Ben" threw two interceptions on two consecutive pass attempts. After taking a month off with a knee injury, some rust to be expected, but Nelson nabbed his fifth interception in his past six games against the Steelers. The pick basically sealed the game, as it led to a Mike Nugent field goal, forcing the Steelers to have to get the touchdown for the win, and not a field goal for a tie.