goes to: CB Cortez Allen
In a game in which the Steelers desperately needed something to bail out their sagging offense, Allen was responsible for each of the season-high three takeaways against the Bengals. Granted, the Bengals passed for 278 yards and Allen gave up the 21-yard reception to A.J. Green that set up the winning field goal. But he had two interceptions and forced a fumble, though the offense failed to score on any of three takeaways. "The only person that can beat me is me," Allen said. "It's about your technique and focus. I had some ups and down."
X's AND O's
For the second game in a row and third time this season, Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception that cost his a team a victory. This time, it came on second down from his 29 with 24 seconds remaining and, just like in Dallas, his intended receiver was Mike Wallace. Roethlisberger was rolling to his right and overthrew Wallace, right into the hands of S Reggie Nelson. "There is nothing to talk about," Roethlisberger said. "You saw it. I threw it to them."
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. WASTED CHANCES: The Steelers had a season-high three takeaways, but, unlike the Bengals, who turned two interceptions into 10 points, the offense didn't capitalize on any of them. The worst was when Cortez Allen intercepted an Andy Dalton pass on the first play of the second half, giving the Steelers the ball at the Bengals 32. But, on third-and-7, Roethlisberger was sacked out of field-goal range. "The difference is their guy picked off the ball for a touchdown and we didn't," said safety Ryan Clark. "You have to at least match them."
2. KICKING HIMSELF I: After missing just one of 27 attempts, Shaun Suisham missed field goals of 24 and 53 yards, the latter with 1:47 remaining. "That's a time for me to make a field goal and I didn't," Suisham said. "It's my job to make every single one."
3. KICKING HIMSELF II: With 3:18 remaining and the score tied, Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis curiously tried a 56-yard field goal that was well short, giving the Steelers the ball at their 46. "I told the players thanks for bailing me out, plain, flat and simple," Lewis said.
4. HALL PASS: On his third pass attempt of the game, Roethlisberger's pass for tight end Heath Miller was intercepted by Leon Hall and returned 27 yards for a touchdown. Hall jumped in front of Miller to make the pick because "it was some stuff we had seen before," he said.
5. GOOD HABIT: The one thing the Steelers have done is make a habit of scoring at the end of the first half. Antonio Brown's 60-yard touchdown catch with 1:09 remaining was the 10th game in which the Steelers scored on their final possession before halftime.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
5 That's the number of completions of 20 yards or longer by the Bengals, the most damaging a 21-yarder by A.J. Green to set up the winning field goal. The Steelers had allowed a league-low 25 completions of 20 yards or longer in the first 14 games.
"I know I have two Super Bowl rings because of his play. He has been a tremendous leader for us and this year hasn't gone our way. I appreciate his efforts and this won't deter me from thinking he is a great quarterback."
-- Defensive end Brett Keisel on the costly interceptions by Ben Roethlisberger the past two games
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
DE Brett Keisel was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for what was termed "going to the ground and celebrating" after his sack of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Keisel celebrated the sack in his usual manner -- bending to one knee and pretending to shoot a bow and arrow. "They said I can't go to my knees and I can't shoot a weapon," Keisel said. "I've been doing that for 11 years and no one has ever said anything to me about it. I wish someone had something to me before. That's my move -- I've been doing that forever.".
vs. CLEVELAND BROWNS, 1 P.M. SUNDAY: The Steelers (7-8) have won 16 of the past 18 games with the Browns (5-10), though the Browns won the first meeting on Nov. 25, 20-14.
First Published December 24, 2012 5:00 AM