CINCINNATI (AFP) – The Cincinnati Bengals shut down the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 20-10 victory behind a two touchdown performance from rookie running back Giovani Bernard.
Bernard ran for an early touchdown and grabbed a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton in the third quarter that gave Cincinnati a lead they would keep for the remainder of the National Football League contest.
“Once I get the ball in my hands it is just a matter of getting across that goal line,” Bernard said. “This was a team win. Our defense had an amazing time.”
Dalton won the battle of the quarterbacks against Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. He threw 45 passes and completing 25 for 280 yards as Cincinnati rebounded from a season-opening loss to the Chicago Bears.
The Bengals defense was superb. They forced two turnovers and smothered Pittsburgh’s offense, holding them to a mere 278 yards and 14 first downs in the team’s second home victory over its division rival in the past dozen years.
“There is a certain amount we need to swallow on this,” said Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin. “They were the better team tonight.
“We turned the ball over and didn’t have the appropriate response on defense.
“We didn’t move the ball well enough in the second half. We have got work to do.”
This marked the first game for Bengals’ James Harrison against his former team. Harrison, who played 10 years in Pittsburgh before getting cut in the off-season, did not record a tackle on Monday.
Roethlisberger threw for 251 yards with a touchdown and an interception on 20-of-37 passes for the Steelers, who dropped their first two games of the season for the first time since 2002.
It’s also the first time Pittsburgh has been two games under .500 since Tomlin took over in 2007.
“Give them credit for making it difficult for us,” Roethlisberger said.
Cincinnati snapped a 10-10 tie with an eight-play, 78-yard drive that ended with Bernard catching a short pass and going into the end zone untouched for a go-ahead score with just over six minutes left in the third quarter.