|Antonio Brown was the offensive star of the game..(photo credit: Getty Images)|
Bet you didn't think many Steelers fans would be saying that today. Finally, some defensive takeaways, and Gay's interception late in the fourth quarter couldn't have come at a better time. With just 2:27 left in the game and Cincinnati driving at the Pittsburgh 26, Gay jumped the route on a pass intended for Jerome Simpson and grabbed the interception that saved the game.
Gay also broke up four passes, including one deflected to Lawrence Timmons for an interception. Gay's interception at the end may have saved the Steelers' season. Now 1-2 in the division, the Steelers absolutely had to win in Cincinnati. They did. They survived to compete another day and have the bye week coming up to think about how they can improve.
|Where's the killer instinct?|
Injuries have taken a toll, no doubt. Still, "the standard is the standard," and the Bengals lost two key players to injury during the game.
Give credit: Andy Dalton is an impressive young quarterback, with "leader" written all over him. Dalton, however, missed several open receivers and was just 15-30 for 170 yards. He shows promise, though, as he is decisive, poised and appears to be fundamentally sound. He gets rid of the ball quickly. They call him The Red Rifle, and his arm seems plenty strong enough. He seems likable, too, so it might be hard for Steelers' fans to conjure up much of a healthy dislike for him -- unless he starts beating them regularly, heaven forbid.
|A.J. Green's touchdown (photo credit: Reuters)|
Clearly, the second-quarter interception that clanked off Heath Miller's hands was not Ben Roethlisberger's fault. The pass was on the money, and Miller is usually reliable. It happens. The Bengals converted the turnover into three points (a 43-yard field goal by Mike Nugent) after a 15-yard drive on seven plays.
Ben dodged a bullet, however, with about 7:30 left in the second quarter, when a sure interception on first down deep in negative territory was bungled in a collision between Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson. It should have been intercepted.The Steelers then drove downfield and kicked the field goal that made the halftime score 17-10.
And how good was Antonio Brown during that field goal drive? Spectacular. Brown was the go-to guy with four catches for 74 yards, including one on 3rd and 19, and several acrobatic catches. No doubt about it, Brown is a rising star.
|Rashard Mendenhall's touchdown (photo: Getty Images)|
Just as the Steelers have their share of injuries, the Bengals entered the game without their best pass rusher, Carlo Dunlap, inactive with a hamstring injury (just like the Steelers' best pass rusher, Lamarr Woodley). Two more of the Bengals' best players on either side of the ball, A.J. Green and Leon Hall, left the game with injuries, and their absence was felt by the Bengals. Marvin Lewis said as much after the game -- and that's just one difference between him and Mike Tomlin ("No excuses! No complaints!").
Next Up: The bye week, then a game in Kansas City on Nov. 27. More interesting than the week off is next week's game between Cincinnati and Baltimore.