Bengals home win vs. Steelers first in nearly a decade - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Bengals home win vs. Steelers first in nearly a decade

CINCINNATI (AP) - With another last-minute drive, the Bengals earned some legitimacy and won back their town.

Carson Palmer threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 14 seconds left Sunday, completing a nearly perfect drive that gave the Bengals a 23-20 victory Sunday and ended the Steelers' nearly decade-long domination in Cincinnati.

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 failed to take care of chances to put the Bengals away. Jeff Reed missed another field goal, and Limas Sweed dropped a pass in the end zone, letting the Bengals take their third straight game down to the final seconds.

This time, they were the ones who played like the champs in the final minutes.

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.

It was reminiscent of Palmer's long touchdown drive at the end of the season opener against Denver, which the Broncos 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.

They showed they can beat the Steelers at home, which 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 the first half but repeatedly failed to take advantage of scoring chances.

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 31 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 hold onto a 20-15 lead, giving the Bengals one last chance with 5:14 to play.

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.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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