Steelers 27

(4-2, 3-0 away)

Bengals 13

(5-2, 2-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, October 23, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
PIT 0 7 17 327
CIN 3 3 0 713

Top Performers

Passing: C. Palmer (CIN) - 227 YDS, 2 INT

Rushing: W. Parker (PIT) - 18 CAR, 131 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: C. Johnson (CIN) - 4 REC, 94 YDS

Pittsburgh (3-2) at Cincinnati (5-1)

Pittsburgh (3-2) at Cincinnati (5-1), Sunday, 1:00 pm EDT

CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- The Cincinnati Bengals nearly handed Ben Roethlisberger his first career loss here last season.

On Sunday, the Bengals get another crack at Roethlisberger and have a chance to open some breathing room atop the AFC North when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

There was some question as to whether the Bengals would get a chance to face Roethlisberger, who missed last week's game with a hyperextended and bruised left knee.

But Roethlisberger, who is 16-1 in his career as a starter during the regular season, will return on Sunday.

An Ohio native, Roethlisberger received plenty of help from his defense and veteran running back Jerome Bettis in a 19-14 victory over the Bengals here last November 21. The Steelers produced a defensive touchdown and Bettis rushed for 129 yards.

Pittsburgh's defense was dominant in the second half, limiting the Bengals to just 42 yards. Linebacker James Farrior returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown in the first half.

It was a struggle for Roethlisberger, who was sacked seven times, fumbled once and threw for just 138 yards. But he again made the big play when it was needed, hitting fullback Dan Kreider with an eight-yard touchdown and giving the Steelers the lead for good, 17-14 with 2:46 left in the third quarter.

Roethlisberger starred at Miami of Ohio, 30 miles north of Paul Brown Stadium.

Carson Palmer threw scoring passes of 36 and 19 yards to Chad Johnson and Kelley Washington, respectively, in the first half for Cincinnati.

Led by Palmer, who has tied Peyton Manning's NFL record with nine straight games with a quarterback rating of at least 100, and an opportunistic defense that has a plus-16 turnover margin, the Bengals have built a 1 1/2-game lead over the Steelers in the North.

Cincinnati is off to its best start since going 6-0 in 1988, the last time it reached the Super Bowl.

Palmer completed 27-of-33 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns and rookie linebacker Odell Thurman returned an interception 30 yards for a score in last week's 31-23 victory over Tennessee.

Roethlisberger's absence was felt in last week's 23-17 overtime loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tommy Maddox lost a fumble earlier in overtime with the Steelers in field goal range, then threw an interception that was returned 41 yards for a score by cornerback Rashean Mathis. Maddox went just 11-of-28 for 154 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.

Against the Jaguars, the Steelers also played without star wide receiver Hines Ward, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury. He is expected to play this week.

In the first meeting between the teams last season, the Steelers rallied for a 28-17 victory. Bettis scored the go-ahead touchdown with a one-yard run with 9:11 remaining and safety Troy Polamalu - a former teammate of Palmer at Southern California - returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown just before the two-minute warning.

Matchup to watch: Steelers rookie tight end Heath Miller, who had four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown last week, against strong safety Kevin Kaesviharn.

Series: Pittsburgh leads, 41-28, including wins in eight of the last 10 meetings.

Next week: Pittsburgh hosts Baltimore, October 31 Cincinnati hosts Green Bay, October 30.


Passing Leaders

B. Roethlisberger67.14952329
R. Golden100.02500
A. Dalton64.233981917
M. Sanu100.07910

Rushing Leaders

L. Bell29013614.78
L. Blount652664.12
J. Hill22211245.19
G. Bernard1686804.05

Receiving Leaders

A. Brown129169813.213
L. Bell8385410.33
A. Green69104115.16
M. Sanu5679014.15

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

Total YardsPIT
Yards PassingPIT
Yards RushingPIT
Yards AllowedPIT
Pass Yds AllowedPIT
Rush Yds AllowedPIT

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

Pittsburgh leads 8-3
Nov 21, 2004PIT 19, @CIN 14
Oct 3, 2004PIT 28, CIN 17
Nov 30, 2003PIT 20, CIN 24
Sep 21, 2003PIT 17, @CIN 10
Nov 24, 2002PIT 29, CIN 21
Oct 13, 2002PIT 34, @CIN 7
Dec 30, 2001PIT 23, @CIN 26
Oct 7, 2001PIT 16, CIN 7