CINCINNATI (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger took the snap and went to his knee for the final play, tucking the ball under his left arm before heading to the locker room.
Felt like old times for the Pittsburgh Steelers — and like most times when they play in Cincinnati.
The Steelers got their first road win of the season and moved into second place in the AFC North with a 24-17 victory over the Bengals on Sunday night, overcoming potentially devastating injuries and mistakes.
Roethlisberger, a bunch of running-game fill-ins and a determined defense got the Steelers through a tough night, prompting the quarterback to hold onto the ball at the end.
"That is the first time that we have done the 'victory formation' this year to end it," he said.
After dropping their first three road games and putting their season on the brink so early, the Steelers (3-3) closed in on Baltimore (5-2), turning the division back into a familiar two-team race.
"It puts us right there in the hunt," safety Ryan Clark said.
They pulled it off even though so many of them were standing on the sideline in sweat suits. The Steelers were missing their top two running backs — Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman — as well as center Maurkice Pouncey and right tackle Marcus Gilbert because of injury.
It could have gotten very ugly after the Bengals pulled ahead 14-3 in the first half. Instead, Roethlisberger took advantage of Andy Dalton's interception, throwing for a tying touchdown and 2-point conversion. And third-year running back Jonathan Dwyer made his first career start and ran for a career-high 122 yards, including a 32-yard gain in the closing minute that finished it off.
"It shows how talented we are and that we try to live up to that high standard," Dwyer said.
A lot of players pulled them through.
Shaun Suisham kicked field goals of 42, 47 and 42 yards. And the defense shut down Cincinnati's Dalton-to-A.J. Green connection.
"It was a back-against-the-wall mentality and you've got to fight your way out," said cornerback Ike Taylor, who helped limit Green, a Pro Bowl receiver, to one catch.
Cincinnati (3-4) wasted yet another chance to show it can keep up with the division's best. The Bengals are 0-6 against the Steelers and Ravens over the last two seasons.
Now, they've lost three straight, falling into third place in the division.
"It's going to be tough to sleep," cornerback Leon Hall said. "At the end of the day, we've lost three in a row and we're in a tough spot."
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