1:00 PM ET, October 23, 2005
Pittsburgh (3-2) at Cincinnati (5-1), Sunday, 1:00 pm EDT
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.
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.
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.
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First place on line in Cincy
Cincinnati's Carson Palmer and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger are quickly developing into two of the best quarterbacks in the league. Palmer has had a quarterback rating of 100 or higher in each of his past nine games and that ties Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning for a league record. The Steelers have lost just two regular-season games since Roethlisberger took over as the starter in early 2004.
It appears that Pittsburgh will at least have the edge in the running game. After all, the Steelers' run defense hasn't surrendered a 100-yard rusher in nineteen games. The only problem for Pittsburgh fans is Cincinnati RB Rudi Johnson is the last back to have done it. Johnson needs to have another strong game if the Bengals are to win this critical AFC North matchup.
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|Avg Points Allowed||15.8||15.9|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||PIT|
|Rush Yds Allowed||PIT|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Pittsburgh leads 8-3|
|Nov 21, 2004||PIT 19, @CIN 14|
|Oct 3, 2004||PIT 28, CIN 17|
|Nov 30, 2003||PIT 20, CIN 24|
|Sep 21, 2003||PIT 17, @CIN 10|
|Nov 24, 2002||PIT 29, CIN 21|
|Oct 13, 2002||PIT 34, @CIN 7|
|Dec 30, 2001||PIT 23, @CIN 26|
|Oct 7, 2001||PIT 16, CIN 7|