Final

Steelers 20

(1-2, 0-2 away)

Bengals 23

(2-1, 1-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, September 27, 2009

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 10 3 7 020
CIN 0 3 6 1423

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 276 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: W. Parker (PIT) - 25 CAR, 93 YDS

Receiving: M. Wallace (PIT) - 7 REC, 102 YDS

Bengals end Steelers' Cincy dominance as TD in final seconds caps 20-point rally

Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Sam Cooke's song "A Change is Gonna Come" played on a continuous loop in the Cincinnati Bengals' locker room, providing the musical score for a groundbreaking win.

In five frenetic minutes, the Bengals earned some legitimacy and won back their town.

Walker: 'Dey' For Real

The Bengals aren't pretending anymore. After Sunday's huge win, Cincinnati needs to be taken for real in the AFC, writes James Walker. Blog

• AFC North blog

Carson Palmer's 4-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 14 seconds left provided a 23-20 win Sunday that ended the Pittsburgh Steelers' nearly decade-long domination in Cincinnati, one that appeared set to go on indefinitely until the final drive.

"Priceless," offensive lineman Bobbie Williams said. "The past is the past. This is a new team and a new day."

For once, it was their day.

Pittsburgh (1-2) had won its last eight games on Cincinnati's home field. The last time the Bengals beat them at Paul Brown Stadium was 2001, when Chad Ochocinco was a rookie who rarely started and still went by the name of Johnson.

Ochocinco doesn't remember much from that long-ago game. The Bengals (2-1) won't soon forget this one.

The defending Super Bowl champs dominated most of the game but wasted chances to put the Bengals away. Jeff Reed missed another field goal, and Limas Sweed dropped a pass in the end zone, keeping it close to the end.

"If we score touchdowns in the first half, it's not even a game," Steelers receiver Hines Ward said. "It's 24-0 or 24-3. It's not very good. You've got to put up seven points instead of 3s. That's how you finish a team off."

Instead, the Bengals finished them off.

Fast Facts

• The Bengals snapped an eight-game home losing streak (playoffs included) against the Steelers. It was also the first win in their last six meetings overall for the Bengals.

• Sunday was Ben Roethlisberger's first loss in the state of Ohio as Pittsburgh's starting QB (now 11-1).

• The Bengals are now 5-1 in their last six games overall dating back to last season.

• Roethlisberger has thrown at least one interception for five straight regular-season games. In that span, he has five TDs and seven INTs.

• Rapid Reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Palmer led the Bengals on a 16-play, 71-yard drive against one of the league's best defenses, repeatedly converting there-or-else throws. His 11-yarder to running back Brian Leonard on fourth-and-10 moved the ball to the 4. After a spike to stop the clock, Palmer found Caldwell open in the middle of the end zone.

"We've got a quarterback who's comfortable at those points in the game," coach Marvin Lewis said. "He's got a calm about him."

It was reminiscent of Palmer's long touchdown drive at the end of the season opener against Denver, which the Broncos then salvaged with a tipped, 87-yard touchdown catch. This time, there would be no weirdness.

Ben Roethlisberger's final, frantic heave was knocked down, giving the Bengals a game they viewed as a chance to prove that they can contend in the AFC North.

"It's huge," defensive lineman Tank Johnson said. "This team is a very good football team. If we eliminate the immature mistakes, the sky is the limit."

Beating the Steelers at home was no small thing. Thousands of Steelers fans were sprinkled throughout the crowd of 64,538, waving their yellow towels almost nonstop as Pittsburgh dominated but repeatedly failed to take advantage of scoring chances.

And, in the end, the defense failed to make a play to finish off the Bengals, reminiscent of the way Pittsburgh missed two second-half field goals in Chicago, then let the Bears pull out a 17-14 win on a field goal with 15 seconds left.

"We strive to be a great defense and make those plays," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "If we don't start making them, it's going to be a long year."

When Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes had a miscommunication on the third play of the second half -- the quarterback made a quick throw, the receiver kept going -- cornerback Johnathan Joseph intercepted and ran 30 yards for a touchdown that made it a game.

Roethlisberger was 22-of-31 for 276 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to Willie Parker and a 1-yard scoring sneak. He was sacked near midfield on a third-down play as Pittsburgh tried to protect a 20-15 lead, giving the Bengals one last chance with 5:14 to play.

All they needed.

"Indescribable," said Palmer, who was 20-of-37 for 183 yards. "The fans wanted it as much as we did, and it felt great to see those hands go up signaling a touchdown and hear them roar."

The Steelers hadn't started 1-2 since 2006, the last time they were coming off a Super Bowl win. They opened 1/3 that season and finished 8-8, missing out on the playoffs. With two straight last-minute losses, the Steelers are again finding out how tough it is to be a defending champ.

"We feel like we beat ourselves," Roethlisberger said.

Game notes


It was Roethlisberger's first loss as a Steelers QB in his native state of Ohio. He had been 11-0 in Cleveland and Cincinnati. ... Ward became the first Steeler to have 10,000 yards in catches during his career. ... Steelers rookie WR Mike Wallace had seven catches for a career-high 102 yards. ... Bengals rookie LB Rey Maualuga was carted off the field with a left knee injury in the second half, but returned to the field a series later.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
CIN
1st Downs1719
Passing 1st downs
1012
Rushing 1st downs
75
1st downs from Penalties
02
3rd down efficiency
6-123-12
4th down efficiency
0-13-3
Total Plays6058
Total Yards373273
Yards per play6.24.7
Total Drives1010
Passing271173
Comp - Att
22-3120-37
Yards per pass
8.74.7
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks - Yards Lost
1-52-10
Rushing102100
Rushing Attempts
2819
Yards per rush
3.65.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-31-2
Penalties5-514-30
Turnovers10
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession34:4225:18

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethli...22/312768.9111-5
CINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Palmer20/371834.9102-10

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Parker25933.7024
Moore166.006
CINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Benson16764.8123
Crocker12121.0021

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Wallace710214.60518
Ward48220.50415
CINRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Ochocinco55410.802111
Caldwell6528.71149

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITCIN
pitFG06:55Jeff Reed 19 Yd 30
pitTD01:02Willie Parker 27 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick) 100
SECOND QUARTERPITCIN
pitFG12:44Jeff Reed 24 Yd 130
cinFG00:00Shayne Graham 34 Yd 133
THIRD QUARTERPITCIN
cinTD13:35Johnathan Joseph 30 Yd Interception Return (Pat Failed) 139
pitTD03:00Ben Roethlisberger 1 Yd Run (Jeff Reed Kick) 209
FOURTH QUARTERPITCIN
cinTD09:14Cedric Benson 23 Yd Run (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed) 2015
cinTD00:14Andre Caldwell 4 Yd Pass From Carson Palmer (Carson Palmer Pass To Brian Leonard For Two-Point Conversion) 2023