Bengals bungle their way to 30-20 loss to Steelers

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 16, 2013 at 12:04 am •  Published: December 16, 2013
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals looked at their prime-time visit to Pittsburgh as a chance to make a statement about their legitimacy as AFC contenders.

In one sense, the Bengals fit right in.

Just like Denver and New England earlier in the weekend, Cincinnati let a chance to take firm control of its playoff fate disappear against a scuffling rival.

Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt for a score in a 64-second span in the first quarter and the Steelers jumped on the Bengals early in a 30-20 victory Sunday night.

Given a chance to all but clinch the AFC North and move into the No. 2 spot behind Denver in the AFC, the Bengals (9-5) let Pittsburgh race to a 21-0 lead and never recovered.

"It's tough, for sure, because we had everything in front of us," Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green said. "We could have had ourselves set up in a great position if we could have come out here and won today."

Green finished with nine receptions for 93 yards, but the Bengals didn't make much happen downfield. Cincinnati's longest play was 19 yards, preventing the Bengals from making speedy inroads on the Steelers (6-8) after falling behind so quickly.

Andy Dalton completed 25 of 44 passes for 230 yards and two second-half touchdowns, but Cincinnati's only chance to draw within one score ended when Dalton's 2-point conversion was batted down with 5:51 remaining.

"There's no panic," Dalton said. "There's no worry about anything. We're not frantic. We still have two games at home and have everything to accomplish, so we've got to take care of our business."

Shaun Suisham added three field goals for Pittsburgh, which built a 24-point lead and hardly looked like a team playing out the string.

Ben Roethlisberger completed 20 of 25 passes for 191 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Le'Veon Bell added 117 yards of total offense and a touchdown.

"I have said for a bunch of weeks now that there is going to be no quit from me or from anybody," Roethlisberger said. "I thought tonight was a good example of that."

Looking to move closer to a third straight playoff berth, the Bengals were undone by a series of miscues on special teams.

Bell scored two plays after Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber dropped a snap while standing near the goal line after the Bengals' first possession. Pittsburgh's Will Allen dropped Huber at the 1 and Bell bulled into the end zone on second down for his sixth touchdown of the season.



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