Joe Robbins

Steelers vs. Bengals: Steelers get big AFC North win, 24-17

The Steelers came up big in Week 7, moving to 3-3 with a 24-17 win over the Bengals.

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Injury status still unclear for several Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers were missing a number of players because of injury on Sunday night against Cincinnati, but it is uncertain which will be able to recover in time for Week 8 against the Redskins.

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Steelers come up big in team effort vs. Bengals

The Steelers needed a big win against the Bengals Sunday night, and they got one, coming out with a 24-17 victory on a team effort.

The Steelers took an early lead on a field goal by Shaun Suisham, but by the middle of the second quarter, the Bengals had scored two touchdowns to make it 14-3. (Notably, the second of those touchdowns was an eight-yard reception by star wideout A.J. Green. It was Green's only catch of the day. Ike Taylor was covering him -- so much for Taylor being washed up.)

With three minutes left, Suisham hit another field goal. Then LaMarr Woodley tipped an Andy Dalton pass at the line and ended up with an interception, and Ben Roethlisberger tossed a touchdown pass to Heath Miller a few plays later. After a two-point conversion, the Steelers had tied the game at 14.

Each team kicked a field goal in the third quarter. After that, the Steeler defense took over, recording five straight three-and-outs. That gave the offense plenty of opportunities, and it made good on one of them, as Chris Rainey found a hole up the middle and scampered for an 11-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

The Steelers also got contributions from a number of players not yet mentioned here. Not least of those was Jonathan Dwyer, the third-string running back who recorded 122 yards rushing, and Antonio Brown, who caught seven passes for 96 yards. (Another wideout, Mike Wallace, had a rough game, with a number of drops. But hey.)

With the win, the Steelers move to within a game and a half of the Ravens, who were blown out by the Texans earlier Sunday. That's crucial, because it looks like the Ravens might not be the AFC North power they've been in the past, and the Steelers will get a couple shots at them later in the season.

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Pittsburgh holds off Cincinnati, 24-17

The Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed their first road win of the season, using a stout defensive effort to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-17 on Sunday night at Paul Brown Stadium. Chris Rainey's 11-yard touchdown scamper early in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.

After giving up an 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game, Pittsburgh's defense put the clamps on the Cincinnati offense. The Bengals managed only 105 yards after that opening drive.

Despite the fact that Pittsburgh controlled possession for a majority of the first half, it was Cincinnati who jumped out to a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter Two Ben Roethlisberger turnovers were key to the Steelers' slow start, with a fumble leading directly to an eight-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green.

Pittsburgh was able to close the gap by halftime, capitalizing on a Dalton interception late in the first half on a nine-yard touchdown reception by Heath Miller with 29 seconds left. Miller also hauled in the two-point attempt, tying the score at 14-14 going into half.

Cincinnati grabbed a 17-14 lead early in the third quarter, but the Pittsburgh gave up nothing the rest of the game.

Fantasy Studs and Duds: Nobody really stood out with huge numbers, although Roethlisberger did throw for 278 yards and one score to go along with two turnovers. Steelers running Jonathan Dwyer had 17 carries for 122 yards. Dalton was a huge dud, throwing for only 105 yards with one score and one pick. Green only caught the one pass for eight yards, though it was a touchdown.

Did They Cover?: The Steelers were a one-point favorite, so they covered.

Injury Update: Steelers safety Will Allen suffered an ankle injury, but it did not appear to be too serious.

Next Week's Schedule: The Steelers will host Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. The Bengals will welcome Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to Paul Brown Stadium.


This story originally appeared on SBNation.com.

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Steelers and Bengals tied going into 4th

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals head into the fourth quarter of their Sunday night matchup all tied up at 17.

Cincinnati momentarily grabbed the lead on their first possession of the third quarter, going 32 yards on seven plays and ending up with a 48-yard field goal by Mike Nugent.

Pittsburgh answered right back with Shaun Suisham's third field goal of the night, this one from 42 yards out. The field goal capped off a six-play, 37-yard drive.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has played well besides two second quarter turnovers, completing 23 of 30 passes for 232 yards and one score. Antonio Brown has been Roethlisberger's favorite target, hauling in seven passes for 96 yards.

Cincinnati has been rather quiet offensively, as the Pittsburgh defense has been on lock down most of the night. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton only has 91 yards passing. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has rushed for 61 yards on 14 carries, but most of that came on the Bengals' first possession.

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Steelers and Bengals knotted up at half

Heath Miller caught a touchdown and two-point conversion from Ben Roethlisberger with 29 seconds left in the first half to knot up the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals at 14-14 going into halftime.

PIttsburgh dominated the time of possession in the half, holding the ball for 18:03 and racking up 200 yards of offense to just 115 for Cincinnati.

However, two costly second quarter turnovers by Pittsburgh quarterback Roethlisberger helped put the Steelers in an early 14-3 hole. The first turnover was an interception in the end zone that ruined a 70-yard drive.

The next Pittsburgh possession, Roethlisberger was sacked and fumbled deep in Steeler territory. Cincinnati recovered and quickly capitalized on the next play, with Andy Dalton threading the needle to A.J. Green for an eight-yard score.

Pittsburgh embarked on another long drive after the Cincinnati touchdown, driving 60 yards on 10 plays before settling for a 47-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham

A Dalton interception late in the first half gave Pittsburgh great field position, setting up the Roethlisberger touchdown strike to Miller.

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Steelers trail Bengals early in 2nd quarter

The Pittsburgh Steelers have fallen behind the Cincinnati Bengals 7-3 early in the second quarter of their Sunday night matchup in Cincinnati.

Both teams had success on their opening drives, with PIttsburgh striking first on a 42-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham. The Steelers moved 37 yards on nine plays on the possession. A 23-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown on 3rd-and-9 got the Steelers in field goal range before the drive stalled.

Cincinnati answered right back with a long touchdown drive that spanned 15 plays, 79 yards and took 8:09 off the clock. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis did most of the work on the drive, carrying the ball eight times for 44 yards. However, it would be Cedric Peerman's five-yard touchdown rush that finished off the drive to put the Bengals up 7-3.

Roethlisberger had Pittsburgh on the move once again on their second drive, but it ended with an interception by Cincinnati's Chris Crocker in the end zone.

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Ravens' loss to Texans suggests they're vulnerable

The Baltimore Ravens were blown out 43-13 by the Houston Texans Sunday afternoon, an outcome Steelers fans will be pleased to see as they wait for their team to face the Bengals Sunday night.

The Ravens and Texans were the only two AFC teams with winning records, and Baltimore was surely hoping for a better outcome than this. Joe Flacco had a miserable game, going 21-for-43 with 147 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. And the Ravens defense, now without Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis, failed to stop Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and the Texans offense, which racked up a 29-3 lead at the half.

The Ravens had seized a big lead in the AFC North, but Sunday's result suggests they might be vulnerable if another team in the division can seize the opportunity to challenge them. That team won't be the Browns, which lost 17-13 to the Colts Sunday. But whoever wins Sunday night's Steelers vs. Bengals matchup has a shot at making things interesting. The Steelers face the Ravens November 18 and December 2.

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Steelers try to get back on track against Bengals

The Steelers look to get back to .500 when they face the Bengals on Sunday.

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C Maurkice Pouncey questionable against Bengals

The Steelers' struggling run game won't get much help this weekend, as injuries have decimated several key components.

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RB Mendenhall will not play in Cincinnati

Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall reportedly missed practice on Friday, and will not play on Sunday against the Bengals, according to Gerry Dulac.

Mendenhall missed Pittsburgh's first four games of the 2012 season after tearing his ACL in the final game of the 2011 season. He returned in Week 5, and played well. But the running back left Pittsburgh's Week 6 game on Thursday night with an Achilles injury.

The injury was not originally believed to be severe. Especially given the extra few days of rest, Mendenhall was expected to recover in time for this week's game in Cincinnati.

Since backup Isaac Redman is also unlikely to play (he, too, missed practice on Friday), Jonathan Dwyer could be the replacement starter. Dwyer had a very productive college career at Georgia Tech, but has not yet emerged as a play-maker for the Steelers. The third-year back has carried the ball 24 times for just 70 yards this season.

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Roethlisberger's injury won't keep Steeler out

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger "definitely will" start Sunday night on the road against the AFC North division rival Cincinnati Bengals in spite of a minor ankle sprain, according to a report by ESPN's Ed Werder via Twitter on Friday.

Roethlisberger, according to Werder, is set to practice with the team today before making the start Sunday night. He left Pittsburgh's practice slightly early on Thursday with the ankle injury. Roethlisberger had an extended week to recover after getting hit three times and sacked once last Thursday night in the Steelers' 26-23 loss on the road to the Tennessee Titans. For the season, Roethlisberger has been sacked a total of 10 times.

Through five games, Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,487 yards, completing 64.6 percent of his throws with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. His quarterback rating of 99.9 ranks fourth in the NFL.

The Steelers and Bengals square off under the lights on Sunday night, with kickoff set for 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Ben Roethlisberger leaves practice Thursday

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left practice on Thursday with an injury to his foot, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. As Bouchette mentions, Roethlisberger said he is fine after practice.

Five players didn't practice on Thursday for the injury-riddled Steelers. Linebacker Chris Carter, tackle Marcus Gilbert, running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, and safety Troy Polamalu all sat out. Linebacker Brandon Armstrong was able to fully participate after being limited on Wednesday, and Lawrence Timmons was also able to participate. Center Maurkice Pouncey was limited.

The Bengals had just two players out on Thursday, with wide receiver Armon Binns and running back Brian Leonard watching from the sidelines. Andrew Hawkins, Devon Still, and Kevin Zeitler were all limited on Wednesday, but participated fully on Thursday.

Sunday's matchup is an important game in the AFC North. The Steelers are trying to bounce back from a last-second loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday that left Pittsburgh at 2-3.

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Ike Taylor 'needs to get back to the fundamentals'

In an interview with Pittsburgh's 93.7 The Fan, former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Rod Woodson said that current Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, who has struggled this season, needs to focus more on fundamentals:

"I think Ike needs to get back to the fundamentals. For me, Ike needs to be more on the up-field shoulder all the time to the receivers, which makes him be able to slow down a little bit. If he slows down, then he can play better."

When asked to explain what the up-field shoulder technique was, Woodson explained that it was to play closer to the shoulder that's closest to the sideline. Taylor was targeted 15 times in last Thursday's loss to the Tennessee Titans and allowed eight catches by four different receivers for a total of 126 yards and a touchdown. Three of those times, he was penalized.

This Sunday's game doesn't seem any easier as Taylor will likely be matched up with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green. When Taylor was matched up with Green last season at Heinz Field, Green caught six passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

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Woodley likely to return on Sunday

The Pittsburgh Steelers haven't had the greatest start to their season, but they've also been decimated by injuries in recent weeks. There's relief on the way though, as LaMarr Woodley is likely to return from a hamstring injury on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. CBS Sports had a quote from Woodley, in which he notes that this year's hamstring injury is nothing like the one that kept him out for six games last year:

"It wasn't even the same leg, it wasn't the same hamstring and it wasn't as serious as it was last year that put me out for two months," Woodley said. "This one put me out for a week."

Woodley went on to say that as soon as the injury occurred, he knew it wasn't nearly as bad. He knew all along that he wouldn't be out that long. On Wednesday, he wasn't listed on the team's official injury report and practiced in full. As the piece notes, this will be the first time since Week 3 of last season that Woodley and James Harrison have a chance to start and finish a game together.

With other players such as Troy Polamalu on the injury report, Woodley's return is a much-needed reprieve for the 2-3 Steelers. They're currently third in the division, behind the Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens.

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Several key Steelers miss Wednesday's practice

Several big names were missing from the Pittsburgh Steelers practice on Wednesday, including safety Troy Polamalu, running back Rashard Mendenhall and center Maurkice Pouncey.

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Frustrated Taylor to take on Cincy's Green

Life as an NFL cornerback can certainly be tough, given how quickly one has to rebound from bad plays. A corner has to have some of the thickest skin out there, because wide receivers certainly aren't likely to let up on him. On Sunday, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor will be matched up one-on-one with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, according to Mike Bires on Twitter.

In six games, Green has 43 receptions for 628 yards and six touchdowns. He's averaging 104.7 yard per game and 146 yards per reception. His yardage totals are the most of any receiver in the NFL, with New England's Wes Welker just a few yards behind him (622). Taylor will certainly have his work cut out for him, and with all eyes on him too, as the game is the Sunday Night Football matchup for Week 7.

Taylor recently vented his frustration with the media for calling out the Steelers and, in particular, their defense. He suggested that the media is falsely portraying the stats and making it seem like they're doing worse than they actually are, and as noted by Behind The Steel Curtain, the veteran cornerback was very frustrated throughout what they called a "mini-tirade." He'll need to shake that off and bring his 'A' game on Sunday, because Green has his sights set on another big day.

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