A rare Bengals victory at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night at Paul Brown Stadium because its only the second victory at PBS against the Steelers in the Marvin Lewis era, thanks to rookie running back Giovani Benard injected life into the offense and safety Reggie Nelson channeled last December in Pittsburgh when he picked off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with 4:55 left to preserve the 20-10 victory over the Steelers.
The game got chippy at the end with Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley getting called for unnecessary roughness and left tackle Andrew Whitworth jawing with safety Troy Polamalu and walking off the field with arms raised saluting the sellout crowd at PBS.
Bernard took a checkdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton and sprinted for 27 yards for a touchdown that broke a 10-10 tie in the third quarter.Tight end Jermaine Gresham went for 26 yards on a catch-and-bull and Green-Ellis provided some power when he converted a third-and-one behind Peko’s blocking that helped kept the drive going.
Bernard finished the night with eight carries for 38 yards and Green-Ellis had 75 yards on 22 carries. Dalton went 25-for-45 for 280 yards, but got his feet back on the ground when the Bengals turned to the run in the second half and kept the ball for more than 35 minutes on the way to breaking the 400-yard mark with a total of 407 yards of offense.
Defensively the Bengals held the Steelers to 44 yards rushing. Mike Nugent capped a 14-play drive lasting nearly seven minutes with a 25-yard field goal that made it 20-10 with 7 minutes left in the third quarter.
A famiailr thing that happen in Chicago last week towards the end of the 1st half occured last night, when the Bengals offense let the Steelers off the hook and allowed them to score a tying touchdown with 1:54 left when Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Derek Moye working on cornerback Leon Hall for a one-yard touchdown pass.
Tyler Eifert’s 61-yard catch set up Bernard’s first NFL touchdown on a seven-yard run that gave the Bengals a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. As the Bengals new rookie additions were in full effect on the big stage.
The Bengals went up 10-3 on Nugent’s 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter thanks to big catches on the drive by receivers Mohammad Sanu and Marvin Jones.
The Steelers offense threatened to go up 10-0 when tight end David Paulson beat a zone down the middle for 34 yards to the Bengals 16. But Adam Jones stripped the ball from behind as Paulson went down and Jones picked it up and ran 10 yards before it was blown dead.
When the replay clearly showed the ball came out before Paulson hit the ground, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis won the challenge and got the ball at the 13 and that’s where the moentumn change in Cincinnati favor as the offense got a spark when Bernard checked into the lineup. On second-and-five Bernard bolted for eight yards and that set up the big throw to Eifert.
The Bengals recorded their first sack of the season when Peko bull-rushed the right gurad and Carlos Dunlap did the same on the edge and they met at Roethlisberger. But the Steelers got in a field goal range against the nickel package when Jones ran a draw for 14 yards up to set up 44 yard field goal to give the Steelers a 3-0 lead in the first.
The Bengals will welcome Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to Paul Brown this Sunday at 1pm.