Wed, Dec 06, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Steelers pull off improbable rally to stun Bengals

AP, CINCINNATI, Ohio

Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, right, catches the game-tying touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in their NFL game in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Monday.

Photo: Aaron Doster-USA Today

No matter how high the stakes, how big the deficit or how late in the game, Ben Roethlisberger and his tough-to-catch playmakers always find a way to leave the Bengals wondering what just happened.

Chris Boswell on Monday kicked a field goal on the final play shortly after Antonio Brown caught a six-yard touchdown pass — taking a hit to the head while landing in the end zone — as the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled off another improbable comeback against the stunned Bengals, rallying for a 23-20 victory.

Down 17-0 early on, the Steelers (10-2) extended their best start since 2004 in a physical game with a couple frightening injuries.

Brown’s touchdown tied it at 20-20 with 3 minutes, 51 seconds to go — safety George Iloka was penalized for hitting him in the head after the catch.

Boswell won it with 38-yard field goal, his second straight winner in the closing seconds.

Both teams know the script.

“It sort of reminded me of the playoff game — what was it, two years ago?” Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward said. “It’s sort of the best reality TV show out there — better than [Keeping Up With] the Kardashians.”

Two years ago, the Steelers traveled to Paul Brown Stadium and pulled out an improbable 18-16 playoff win set up by Cincinnati’s fumble, and personal fouls on Vontaze Burfict and Adam “Pacman” Jones.

Boswell won that one with a 35-yard kick with 14 seconds left.

Desperate for a win to salvage their playoff hopes, the Bengals (5-7) still could not find a way to beat their Ohio River rivals, not even after getting off to the big early lead.

They have dropped six straight and nine of 10 against Pittsburgh.

“Very disappointing,” said Bengals receiver A.J. Green, who had two touchdown catches in the first half. “We had it.”

Nope. They never do, not against the Steelers.

“We’ve got a no-blink group,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’ve been in this situation before, and in this stadium before.”

The hard-hitting game was full of personal fouls, penalties and injuries that could have a long-term effect, especially for the American Football Conference North leaders.

Pittsburgh lost leading tackler Ryan Shazier to a back injury in the first quarter.

The linebacker was taken off the field on a cart and taken to a hospital for evaluation.

“Ryan is one of the biggest players on this defense,” linebacker Vince Williams said. “When we need a big play, he’s one of the guys we look to. It’s going to be tough.”

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was carted off in the fourth quarter after JuJu Smith-Schuster leveled him with a high hit, then taunted him by walking over him.

There were four penalties for unnecessary roughness, one for unsportsmanlike conduct, one for roughing the passer and another for taunting.

The Bengals self-destructed with 13 penalties for a team-record 173 yards.

The Steelers remain tied with New England for best record in the conference. They host the Patriots on Dec. 17.

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