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Steelers

Steelers top Bengals on last-second kick in another brutal game

Joe Rutter
| Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, 9:12 p.m.

CINCINNATI — The Steelers snapped out of their funk following the early departure of injured linebacker Ryan Shazier by overcoming a 17-point deficit Monday night and defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, at Paul Brown Stadium.

Chris Boswell ended an injury-marred and penalty-filled game on a dreary, rainy night with a 38-yard field goal as time expired to snap a 20-20 tie. It was his third winning field goal in the past four games.

With a 10-2 record, the Steelers remain tied with the New England Patriots for the top record in the AFC. The Steelers also are three games ahead of the Baltimore Ravens with four to play in the race for the AFC North title.

Shazier, their Pro Bowl inside linebacker and defensive play caller, was injured making a tackle about four minutes into the game. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, and the Steelers had no immediate update on his condition.

Shazier's early departure cast a pall over the Steelers, who trailed 17-0 until late in the first half before awakening with a second-half rally that enabled them to win their seventh game in a row.

"I can't say enough about the mental toughness of the group that's in that locker room," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We faced a lot of adversity tonight."

The Steelers trailed 17-3 in the third quarter and 20-10 in the fourth before scoring the final 13 points.

Antonio Brown, who played after being ruled questionable with a toe injury, caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger with 3:51 remaining to tie the score 20-20.

The Steelers forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at the Bengals 41 with 2:42 remaining.

Martavis Bryant had a 12-yard catch and Le'Veon Bell an 11-yard grab to get the Steelers into Boswell's range for the winning kick.

The Steelers' Cam Heyward celebrates after defeating the Bengals on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. For more images from Week 13, visit the Trib's photo gallery.

Photo by Christopher Horner

 

"At halftime, we tried to really settle the guys down and say, 'We've got to get this W for 50,' " defensive lineman Cam Heyward said. "We just have to stick together and in adverse situations just play for your brothers."

Roethlisberger, needing 268 yards passing to become the eighth player to reach 50,000 yards in his career, passed for 290 yards by completing 24 of 40 attempts with two touchdowns and an interception. Brown had eight catches for 101 yards, and Bell scored on a 35-yard screen pass when he danced down the sideline and narrowly avoided stepping out of bounds. He had 76 yards rushing and caught five passes for 106 yards.

"I'm glad we got the job done," Bell said. "We got it done for Shay today."

Shazier's injury was the first in a game that featured the physical play that defines this rivalry — and then some.

The Bengals were penalized 13 times for 173 yards, and the Steelers were flagged seven times for 66 yards. In addition to Shazier, the Steelers lost his replacement, Tyler Matakevich, to a shoulder injury in the third quarter.

The Bengals lost four players to injury, including running back Joe Mixon and linebacker Vontaze Burfict with head injuries.

Burfict was taken out in the fourth quarter by a vicious hit from JuJu Smith-Schuster that drew a personal foul, which was declined, and a taunting penalty, which wasn't. Smith-Schuster stood over the fallen Burfict as the linebacker remained prone on the ground.

"After seeing the replay, I think I should have held back a little bit more," Smith-Schuster said. "Also, that's not me. I should have never stood over him. I apologize for that."

A.J. Green had two touchdown catches in the first half for the Bengals, who scored the first 17 points and had 253 yards of total offense. By comparison, they had 179 yards over four quarters when the teams met in Week 7.

"They came to play and got after us in the first half," Tomlin said. "They dominated and won possession downs on both sides."

The Steelers limited the Bengals to 100 yards and three points in the second half. Rookie cornerback Cameron Sutton made his NFL debut and replaced Coty Sensabaugh, who was benched after being beaten on both of Green's touchdown receptions.

"We had to go out there and execute and deliver this win for him," linebacker Vince Williams said, perhaps Shazier's closest friend on the team. "He wouldn't want us to slack off or worry about him. That's what we were focusing on."

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown catches a touchdown pass between Bengals defenders during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown catches a touchdown pass between Bengals defenders during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers kicker Chris Boswell boots the winning field goal as time expires against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers kicker Chris Boswell boots the winning field goal as time expires against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers place kicker Chris Boswell watches as his 41-yard field goal splits the up rights as time runs out on the Bengals as the Steelers win 23-20 Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers place kicker Chris Boswell watches as his 41-yard field goal splits the up rights as time runs out on the Bengals as the Steelers win 23-20 Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
The Steelers' Cam Heyward celebrates after defeating the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Cam Heyward celebrates after defeating the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers linebacker Vince Williams kneels on the field, as teammates watch Ryan Shazier get medical attention after being injured during the first quarter against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker Vince Williams kneels on the field, as teammates watch Ryan Shazier get medical attention after being injured during the first quarter against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster lays out the Bengals' Vontaze Burfict during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster lays out the Bengals' Vontaze Burfict during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster taunts the Bengals' Vontaze Burfict after a big hit during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster taunts the Bengals' Vontaze Burfict after a big hit during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd catches a pass between the Steelers' Sean Davis and Tyler Matakevich during the second quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd catches a pass between the Steelers' Sean Davis and Tyler Matakevich during the second quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass during the first quarter against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass during the first quarter against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers receiverAntonio Brown celebrates a first down catch in front of the Bengals' Adam Jones during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiverAntonio Brown celebrates a first down catch in front of the Bengals' Adam Jones during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Adam Jones of the Bengals intercepts a pass next to the Steelers Xavier Grimble during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Adam Jones of the Bengals intercepts a pass next to the Steelers Xavier Grimble during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Bengals receiver A.J. Green catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the Steelers Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Bengals receiver A.J. Green catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the Steelers Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Bengals receiver A.J. Green scores past the Steelers' Coty Sensabaugh during the second quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Bengals receiver A.J. Green scores past the Steelers' Coty Sensabaugh during the second quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Bengals receiver A.J. Green catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the Steelers Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Bengals receiver A.J. Green catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the Steelers Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
The Bengals' Tyler Kroft catches a pass over Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Bengals' Tyler Kroft catches a pass over Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Bengals running back Giovani Bernard carries past the Steelers' Mike Hilton during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Bengals running back Giovani Bernard carries past the Steelers' Mike Hilton during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Bengals running back Joe Mixon carries past the Steelers' Tyler Matakevich during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Bengals running back Joe Mixon carries past the Steelers' Tyler Matakevich during the first quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
The Bengals' A.J. Green can't hold on to a fourth-quarter pass against the Steelers on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Bengals' A.J. Green can't hold on to a fourth-quarter pass against the Steelers on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers linebacker Vince Williams sacks Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton as T.J. Watt looks on in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker Vince Williams sacks Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton as T.J. Watt looks on in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Shuster pulls in a catch in front of the Bengals' Darqueze Dennard in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Shuster pulls in a catch in front of the Bengals' Darqueze Dennard in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
The Steelers' Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt sack Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt sack Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown celebrates a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Bengals on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown celebrates a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Bengals on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell breaks into the clear on the winning drive against the Bengals on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell breaks into the clear on the winning drive against the Bengals on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers linebacker Vince Williams celebrates after defeating the Bengals on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker Vince Williams celebrates after defeating the Bengals on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin celebrates after defeating the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin celebrates after defeating the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell carries against the Bengals' Josh Shaw during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell carries against the Bengals' Josh Shaw during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown catches a touchdown pass, as the Bengals' Dre Kirkpatrick and George Iloka defend during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown catches a touchdown pass, as the Bengals' Dre Kirkpatrick and George Iloka defend during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks to pass during the fourth quarter against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks to pass during the fourth quarter against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Steelers kicker Chris Boswell celebrates with holder Jordan Berry and Cam Heyward after kicking the winning field goal as time expired against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers kicker Chris Boswell celebrates with holder Jordan Berry and Cam Heyward after kicking the winning field goal as time expired against the Bengals Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
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