It may have taken four road games to do it – but the Steelers finally wrapped up a road win in which they had a lead in the second half.
It wasn’t easy, but the end result is a 24-17 win over a Bengals team that came in looking to break a two-game losing streak, and finally cement themselves as a team that could match up with the Steelers.
Instead, the Black and Gold dominated from a numbers standpoint, putting up 431 yards to just 185 for the Bengals, and holding the ball 37:30 to 22:30 in getting their third win against three losses.
“Big AFC North road victory for us,” Mike Tomlin said following the win. “Guys did what was necessary, obviously we are playing without a few guys, I liked the guys that stepped up in their place.”
The Steelers finally found a running game, as even with their top two backs, Rashard Mendnehall and Issac Redman on the sideline, Jonathan Dwyer stepped in and had his best game as a pro, going off against the Bengals for 122 yards on 17 carries, putting up an average of 7.2 yards per carry.
Pittsburgh ran for 167 yards on 29 carries, an average of 5.8 yards per carry. The offense also put up 264 yards in the air, as Ben Roethlisberger threw to 8 different pass catchers, throwing 27-for-37 for 278 yards with a touchdown to Heath Miller and a pick in the end zone.
Chris Rainey scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and from there the Steelers defense dominated, as they held Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense to just three points in the second half, and those came on the Bengals first drive of the third quarter.
Dalton threw for just 105 yards on 14-for-28 passing with a touchdown. That score went to second-year WR A.J. Green, who caught just one pass for 8 yards on the night.
Overall the D held Cincy to two first downs in the second half, and just 60 total yards, 32 of which came on the their first drive of the third quarter when they got a field goal to go up 17-14.
The Steelers were down 14-3 in the second quarter, but ended the night outscoring the Bengals 21-3 the rest of the way. Roethlisberger hit Heath Miller with a 9-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left, then caught a pass for the two-point conversion to go into the locker room tied at 14 at the half.
It was a half that saw the Steelers have a number of dropped passes, a couple by Mike Wallace, and one on a trick play by Baron Batch that would have went for a touchdown when Antonio Brown took a backwards pass, then threw it to a wide open Batch, who dropped it.
In the end, it all didn’t matter, as the Steelers did it in all three phases, getting their biggest win of the year, and first on the road.
Now at 3-3, the Steelers trail the Ravens, who lost to Houston to fall to 5-2. The Bengals with the loss drop to 3-4, and have lost three in a row.
Next Sunday at home the Steelers play host to Robert Griffin III and the 3-4 Washington Redskins.