Bengals take out Steelers again
PITTSBURGH (AP) Finally after 40 years of being pushed around and dominated by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals refused to be bullied any more.
The Bengals beat the Steelers at their own game in their own stadium, relying on a defense that smothered Ben Roethlisberger and the Super Bowl champions by holding them to four field goals, and one big special teams play for an 18-12 victory Sunday that put them in control of the AFC North.
Shayne Graham kicked four field goals in the second half even as the Bengals (7-2) failed to convert opportunity after opportunity to take control. Bernard Scott's 96-yard kickoff return in the first quarter proved pivotal as Cincinnati, despite playing the second half without ace running back Cedric Benson and failing to convert on the extra point after Scott's score, followed up a 23-20 win over the Steelers (6-3) on Sept. 27.
By sweeping the season series for the first time since 1998, the Bengals effectively lead the division by two games because they own the tiebreaker and, for the first time in their history, a 5-0 division record.
For the Steelers, it was a frustrating defeat after they had won five in a row and were coming off key wins over the Vikings and Broncos.
Now, the Bengals - a lowly 4-11-1 last season - are in first place in a division where the Steelers and Ravens played for the AFC championship last season. Cincinnati - yes, Cincinnati - went 4-0 against those teams this season. And the Steelers, despite a soft schedule the rest of the way, now face an uphill climb against a rival that has won seven of eight and is 4-0 on the road.