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Bengals rally past Steelers in fourth quarter

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Andy Dalton threw a touchdown pass with 2:57 to go, and the Bengals intercepted Ben Roethlisberger twice in the fourth quarter while rallying for a 16-10 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday that kept them unbeaten and in command of the AFC North.

PITTSBURGH—Cincinnati improved its record to 7-0 for the first time in its franchise history as Pittsburgh was simply unable to overcome their mistakes and ultimately fell 16-10 at Heinz Field in front of 64,750 mostly-disappointed fans on Sunday.

The Steelers were penalized ten times for 91 yards, many being personal fouls, penalties for taunting or arguing after the play, and holding calls that sabotaged potential scoring drives. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin was not happy with the Steelers’ lack of discipline after the loss. 

“The reasons (for the loss) are very tangible. We were more penalized that we normally are. You do that against undefeated (teams), that’s going to minimize your chance of winning,” Tomlin said. “Hopefully we learn from it and (the game) is cleaner the next time.”

The Steelers (4-4) held onto a slim lead over the Bengals (7-0) throughout the game as both teams battled back and forth until one team broke. Every time it seemed like it was the Bengals that committed the game-turning mistake, the Steelers bailed them out with turnovers, penalties or mental mistakes.

With six minutes left in the game and Pittsburgh leading 10-6, Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception to Cincinnati’s Shawn Williams at the Pittsburgh 45 yard line after scrambling and looking for Will Johnson down the left sideline. The Bengals turned the gift into a touchdown when Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green on a 9 yard score with 3:01 left to take their first lead of the game at 13-10.

“I thought I could throw it away and the guy (Williams) made a great play,” Roethlisberger said.

On the ensuing possession, Roethlisberger was picked off again and the Bengals converted the turnover into a field goal to take a 16-10 lead which stood and ended the scoring.

The Steeler’s defense held the Bengals to two field goals throughout most of the game until Roethlisberger imploded late in the game. Pittsburgh led 10-6 at that point. They had two interceptions, including one by Antwon Blake in the end zone. Blake also led the team in tackles with eight and he had a pass defense.

Roethlisberger credited the defense for the game they played.

“It’s frustrating when you lose. I felt the defense played awesome. They did more than enough to help us win that football game,” Rothlisberger said. “We didn’t do enough offensively. Obviously, I’m disappointed in my play and letting the team down and the fans down. This one is on me.”

In Roethlisberger’s return after a four-week hiatus due to injury, he played like his old self in the first possession. He drove the Steelers down the field and guided them to a 12-play, 80 yard drive capped by a one yard touchdown toss to Antonio Brown. The Steelers led 7-0 with 7:46 left in the first quarter. However, it was the last time Pittsburgh would get into the end zone.

“We went down the field on the opening drive,” Rothlisberger said. “We just couldn’t get to a rhythm (after the first drive), whether it was penalties or turnovers.”

The Steelers host the Oakland Raiders next Sunday, a team that has traditionally given them fits, no matter what their won-loss record is when the two teams face each other.

“We’re not going to assess the position we’re in,” Tomlin said. “We are what we are right now, we’re 4-4. We’ll get back to work tomorrow.”

Roethlisberger surpassed 40,000 career passing yards in the team’s first drive of the game. He is one of five current quarterbacks to surpass 40,000 yards, joining Tom Brady, Payton Manning, Eli Manning, and Drew Brees.

The Fortieth Anniversary of the Terrible Towel was celebrated at the game.

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