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Bengals beat rival Steelers to stay unbeaten

By
John Perrotto, The Sports Xchange
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) wrestles for the football with Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) after scrambling ten yards in the third quarter of the Bengals 16-10 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh on November 1, 2015. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) wrestles for the football with Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) after scrambling ten yards in the third quarter of the Bengals 16-10 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh on November 1, 2015. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

PITTSBURGH -- Vincent Rey looked around the Cincinnati Bengals' locker room and smiled.

"7-0," the linebacker said to no one in particular. "7-0. How about that?"

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The Bengals remained unbeaten Sunday but it wasn't easy as quarterback Andy Dalton overcame two fourth-quarter interceptions to throw for 235 yards and the winning touchdown, rallying Cincinnati to a 16-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Dalton's 9-yard touchdown to wide receiver A.J. Green gave the Bengals their first lead, 13-10, with 2:37 remaining.

Fifty seconds later, kicker Mike Nugent added a 44-yard field goal, his third of the game, to help the Bengals build a commanding 3 1/2-game game lead over the second-place Steelers (4-4) in the AFC North.

"Being 7-0 is great and being in first place is great but it's always a great feeling whenever we beat the Steelers," Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict said. "They are our archrival. It's always extra special to come in here and beat them on their home field."

The Steelers drove to the Cincinnati 16 but the game ended on an incomplete pass by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

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Dalton completed 22 of 38 passes after entering the game with an NFL-best 161.1 passer rating, but was intercepted twice with the Bengals trailing 10-6, getting picked by Antwon Blake in the end zone and free safety Mike Mitchell at the Pittsburgh 24.

"That's the way Andy has always been his entire career," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "He's going to forget that and come right back and go to the next drive. He has a great demeanor that way. That's one of his great traits."

Green had 11 receptions for 108 yards.

The Bengals also had two fourth-quarter interceptions of Roethlisberger, who was in his first game back after missing four games with a sprained knee. Strong safety Shawn Williams' pick set up the winning touchdown and free safety Reggie Nelson's second interception of the game led to Nugent's last field goal.

"We were determined we weren't going to get beat," Nelson said.

Roethlisberger was 26-of-39 passing for 239 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted three times.

"We have to do a better job of taking care of the football to have a chance to beat good people," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

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Roethlisberger was not happy with his performance and refused to use rustiness from the long layoff as an excuse.

"I'm obviously disappointed in the way that I played," he said. "I let this team down and I let the fans down. This one is one me and I'm taking the blame and letting everyone know that I have to play better."

Steelers star running back Le'Veon Bell was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a right knee injury. While Tomlin said after the game that Bell was being evaluated, a team source told The Sports Xchange that the Steelers are optimistic that he has sprained medial collateral ligament rather than a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Bell caught a pass from Roethlisberger and his knee twisted awkwardly underneath him when tackled by Burfict. Bell did not put any weight on the leg as he was helped to a cart and taken to the locker room.

Bell also suffered a knee injury in last year's regular-season finale against the Bengals and miss the Steelers' loss in the first round of the playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens.

"It was a clean play," Burfict said. "Le'Veon is a good friend of mine. We're not trying to hurt anyone. It's just football and injuries happen."

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The Steelers started fast with Roethlisberger back under center, taking the opening kickoff and driving 80 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown. Roethlisberger capped the drive with a 1-yard pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown, who did not score in the four games that Mike Vick and Landry Jones started at quarterback.

However, the Steelers scored only once more when kicker Chris Boswell's 32-yard field goal in the third quarter extended their lead to 10-6.

Nugent drew the Bengals within 7-6 with first-half field goals of 46 and 45 yards

NOTES: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger became the 16th passer in NFL history to throw for 40,000 yards, including the ninth with only one team and the first in Steelers' history. Roethlisberger is one of five active quarterbacks to reach the milestone along with Denver's Peyton Manning, New Orleans' Drew Brees, New England's Tom Brady and the New York Giants' Eli Manning. ... Bengals LB Rey Maualaga (calf), DE Carlos Dunlap (shoulder) and OT Andre Smith (head) all left the game along with Steelers FS Mike Mitchell (head). ... Cincinnati LB Vontaze Burfict was active for the first time this season after missing the first six games while recovering from offseason knee surgery and CB Leon Hall (back) started after being listed as questionable. ...Pittsburgh S Will Allen (ankle), LB Terence Garvin (knee), DE Stephon Tuitt (knee) and QB Mike Vick (hamstring) were inactive.

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