Rusher Chris Rainey scored the go-ahead 11-yard touchdown run in the fourth period to help the injury-depleted Pittsburgh Steelers survive the Cincinnati Bengals, 24-17, Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
The win improved the Steelers' record to 3-3, good for second in the AFC behind the Baltimore Ravens (5-2) while the Bengals (3-4) suffered their third straight loss to drop to third place.
"That was a big AFC North road victory for us. Guys did what was necessary. Obviously we were playing without a few guys. I liked the contributions of the men that stepped up in their place. It was what was needed," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
The Steelers completed the victory despite missing key players due to injuries, including running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman and safety Troy Polamalu.
Luckily for Tomlin, running back Jonathan Dwyer was outstanding in his first career start, running for a career-high 122 yards on 17 carries and Rainey added 17 yards on four carries and the game-winning touchdown.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 27 of 37 heaves for 278 yards while kicker Shaun Suisham buried field goals from 42, 47 and 42 yards for the Steelers.
The Bengals grabbed a 14-3 lead in the second quarter after Cedric Peelman's five-yard touchdown run and Andy Dalton's eight-yard scoring pass to AJ Green.
However, Suisham booted a field goal before LaMarr Woodley picked a pass by Dalton that paved the way for a six-play, 29-yard drive capped by Roethlisberger's nine-yard touchdown toss and a two-point conversion to tight end Heath Miller that tied the count at 14 at the break.
After Mike Nugent opened the third period with a 48-yard field goal that gave Cincinnati a 17-14 lead, the Steelers defense forced the Bengals to five straight punts.
Suisham then tied the count with a 42-yard field goal before Rainey delivered the game-winning touchdown run in the final period.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown led the Steelers' receiving corps with 96 receiving yards on seven catches while Miller caught six passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.
"Heath (Miller) gives us consistent effort and performance on a week in and week out basis. Sometimes when we are victorious it gets highlighted, as it should. His performance tonight is in line with what he has done for us all year," Tomlin said.
Dalton finished 14-for-28 for 105 yards and a touchdown while the Steelers defense limited wide receiver AJ Green to just eight yards and a touchdown after a 135-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Cleveland Browns.
"I can't tell you right now what was happening. I know we had an opportunity to feature some other people, and we wanted to make sure we did that. We've got to find a way to get him the ball as well," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said when asked about Green's performance.
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