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fordfixer
09-28-2009, 01:11 AM
Bengals stun Steelers with last-minute TD

By Scott Brown, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 28, 2009
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 45331.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_645331.html)

CINCINNATI During a first half that the Steelers dominated, Bengals fans cheered sarcastically after a couple of plays in which Cincinnati gained yardage.

By the end of an AFC North game that left the defending Super Bowl champions in third place in their division and searching for answers following another come-from-ahead loss those same fans were raucously chanting "Who dey?" as they filed out of Paul Brown Stadium.

Carson Palmer threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 14 seconds left Sunday, and that propelled the Bengals past the Steelers, 23-20.

The Bengals overcame 13-0 and 20-9 deficits in snapping an eight-game home losing streak to the Steelers in front of 64,538. Cincinnati never led until after Palmer had Roethlisbergered the Steelers by marching the Bengals 72 yards on 16 plays for the winning touchdown.

The Bengals (2-1) twice converted on fourth down during the drive, including on fourth- and-10 from the Steelers' 15 with 36 seconds left. Running back Brian Leonard, who had to battle just to make Cincinnati's team, got enough of a step on Steelers linebacker James Farrior to pick up 11 yards after hauling in a short pass.

Two plays later, Caldwell corralled the pass that sealed the Steelers' fate.

The Steelers (1-2), who are under .500 for the first time since Mike Tomlin took over as coach, will try to rebound Sunday when they host the San Diego Chargers in an 8:20 p.m. game.

"I feel like the game's my fault," said Farrior, who is a defensive captain. "I stop the guy on fourth down, and the game's over, and we're not even talking about this. I can take responsibility for this."

Alas, for the Steelers, there was plenty of blame to go around.

An offense that came out of the locker room humming twice had to settle for short-field Jeff Reed field goals in the first half after it had driven inside Cincinnati's 5-yard line.

It also let the Bengals back in the game when a miscommunication between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes early in the third quarter resulted in an easy interception by cornerback Johnathan Joseph and a 30-yard return for a touchdown.

The Steelers outgained the Bengals by 100 yards, dominated the time of possession and led comfortably for most of the game. Yet, after the game, players such as outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley and right tackle Willie Colon sat on stools in front of their lockers wearing blank stares as they tried to process what had happened to a team that had owned Cincinnati.

"That's two games we should have won," said Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, also alluding to a 17-14 loss to the Bears on Sept. 20. "It was more about what we didn't do than what the other team did. We're just not finding ways to finish teams off."

A dropped touchdown pass by Limas Sweed in the third quarter helped keep the Bengals in the game. And just as the Bears had done the previous week, the Bengals had their way with the Steelers' defense in the fourth quarter.

Palmer led two touchdown drives in the final 15 minutes, leading to questions of whether a veteran defense wore down in the fourth quarter.

"That will never be an excuse," Tomlin said. "The reality is, we better be fresh relative to our opponents. We just have to make critical plays at critical moments. We have people who are capable of doing that."