Steelers Finally Hold Onto Fourth Quarter Road Lead; Top Bengals 24-17

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.

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3 Responses to “Steelers Finally Hold Onto Fourth Quarter Road Lead; Top Bengals 24-17”

  1. DrGeorge says:

    Give the O-line credit. Despite missing two starters, they protected Ben well on passing plays and opened holes for the backs. Colon got the media’s praise at LG, but Legursky at center was solid all day, and Adams is improving by the week. The Steelers went into the game thinking pass, and Ben threw interceptions and Wallace botched easy catches. As Haley gained confidence in his rushing game, the offense became more balanced and far more efficient. Ben finally seems to appreciate the role of the running game in controlling clock and keeping our D. off the field, and the offense did just that in the 4th Qtr. Give Ben credit for staying in the pocket more than usual; it made it much easier for his O-line to protect him.

    On D, all the pundits are praising Taylor’s coverage on Green, but he had Safety help over the top all game. He simply isn’t a reliable one-on-one CB anymore. To my mind, the happy surprise was K. Lewis at the opposite corner, who knocked down key passes and alternated smoothly from one-on-one pass protection to run stopping. Having Woodley and Harrison in the game together makes a huge difference in disrupting the QB; we have no substitutes for them.

    The D remains vulnerable to the run, especially between Hampton and Hood, as the Bengals demonstrated on their first drive for a TD in the 1st Qtr. Why the Bengals stopped running is anybody’s guess, but when they stopped running, the Steelers became ascendant and won. We play the Redskins next, and running is what they do best, and I’m not just talking about Griffith. LeBeau has done a nice job of revamping the D to make it more efficient at harassing the QB, but the Skins will be test our adjustments, on the ground and in the air. Mike Shanahan is a good coach, and he knows how to exploit weaknesses. Our D-line had better tighten their chin straps for this one.

  2. Mark says:

    Ben gave Miller a chance for that TD that became an INT. Great play by DB because the ball was there. Also, running game with Dwyer playing power back seems to be the way to go. Lets face it, the quicker passing attack is so much more effective than the Arians way. This team, right now, can look towards next week with a solid effort behind them. If they can replicate this performance with just a few more tweaks, they can turn this around. Lets not get over enthused, but its a good start.

    • DrGeorge says:

      Mark, you’re right about Haley’s attack being more effective than Arians’ big play offense. Ben often disparages the “dink and dunk” attack, as he calls it, but most of the passes thrown by Brady, Manning, and Rogers are of that short, under 10 yard variety. Someone on the coaching staff, probably higher up than Haley, convinced Ben to run the offense as designed and to pass from the pocket when possible. Haley appears to turn Ben loose on 3rd down, and that’s when Ben goes for broke and gets in trouble. That INT you mentioned was thrown into triple coverage. Miller got mugged.

      The best thing about Haley’s offense is time of possession. We need to keep our D off the field as much as we can, and the offense is doing its part by running the ball efficiently. The D played better on Sunday, but it still has obvious flaws and a number of key players who are prone to injury. This year, the O has to carry the D.

      Dwyer certainly had a break-out game against the Bengals, but any of our backs could have run through the holes the O-line made on Sunday. Redman is still the best power back we have. Mendy and Dwyer can be used interchangably. That’s a good mix to have. However, I wish Haley would stop running Rainey between the tackles; he won’t last long doing that.

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