Steelers’ free fall continues in stunning loss to Bengals



Giovani Bernard had a touchdown reception and ran for another score Monday as the host Cincinnati Bengals upset the reeling Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17.

Cincinnati (3-10-1) snapped a five-game losing streak.

Pittsburgh (11-3) lost its third in a row and missed a chance to clinch the AFC North title.

Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley, starting with Brandon Allen hurt, completed 7 of 13 passes for 89 yards while throwing for a touchdown and running for one. Bernard gained 83 yards on 25 carries.

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger connected on 20 of 38 passes for 170 yards, becoming the seventh player to surpass 60,000 career passing yards. He threw for one touchdown and was intercepted once. Diontae Johnson had a TD catch while Benny Snell had a rushing touchdown among his 84 yards on 18 carries.

Pittsburgh endured a disastrous first half while Cincinnati was opportunistic.

The Steelers had 2 yards of offense and Roethlisberger was 4 of 10 for minus-5 yards in the first quarter. The two Pittsburgh possessions that didn’t end in punts instead ended in turnovers, and the Bengals capitalized.

A botched center-quarterback exchange was recovered by Josh Bynes and led to a 34-yard field goal by Austin Seibert for a 3-0 Bengals lead. It was Seibert’s first field goal after taking over for Randy Bullock.

Seibert was wide right on a 55-yard attempt late in the first quarter, but Cincinnati got the ball back when receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster fumbled the ball over to Vonn Bell at the Pittsburgh 38. Seven plays later, Bernard drifted right, then cut to the end zone for a 4-yard scoring run to make it 10-0 in the second quarter.

Another Steelers turnover, an interception by Mackensie Alexander, helped set up Finley’s blitz-beating, 14-yard touchdown pass to Bernard to make it 17-0.Pittsburgh finally got on the board on Roethlisberger’s 23-yard scoring pass to Johnson at 12:27 of the third quarter, making it 17-7.Chris Boswell’s 25-yard field goal closed the deficit to 17-10 late in the third quarter.

On a nine-play, 80-yard drive that bled into the fourth quarter, the Bengals pushed it to 24-10 on Finley’s 23-yard keeper.

Snell’s 1-yard dive into the end zone pulled Pittsburgh to within 24-17 with 5:32 left.

Seibert added a 33-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining.


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