The Times West Virginian


December 24, 2012

Steelers lose to Bengals, 13-10

PITTSBURGH — As they have all too often this season, the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t make the plays late in the game to finish off a victory.

As a result, they’ll be finishing their season prior to the playoffs for only the third time since 2004.

Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green for a 21-yard pass in the final moments, setting up Josh Brown’s 43-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining. That lifted the Bengals over Pittsburgh 13-10 on Sunday, eliminating the Steelers from playoff contention after losing for the fifth time in their past six games.

“Obviously, not our day, and thus, not our year,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “Just not enough significant plays at the moments. Sounds like a broken record, but reality as we sit here.”

While Cincinnati (9-6) assured itself a second consecutive playoff berth for the first time since 1981-82, the Steelers (7-8) will miss the postseason for the first time since 2009.

The Steelers, 12-4 each of the past two seasons, need a win next week at home against Cleveland to avoid only their second losing season since 1999. Pittsburgh entered Sunday in control of its fate, knowing that victories in its final two regular-season games would assure a playoff spot.

Instead, the Steelers failed to score during four consecutive fourth-quarter drives that would have given them the lead. Four times previously this season, Pittsburgh blew fourth-quarter leads in losses; two other times they were within one possession in the final quarter but did not score.

“It says you don’t finish,” safety Ryan Clark said. “You don’t make the plays to win football games. You look at the years we went 12-4 and go to Super Bowls, we don’t blow people out but these type of games, we find ways to make plays in the fourth quarter. That was the story all year.”

Brown missed a 56-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter but earned a second chance when Reggie Nelson picked off Ben Roethlisberger and returned it to the Pittsburgh 46 with 14 seconds remaining.

The Bengals’ only touchdown also was off a Roethlisberger interception — Leon Hall’s 17-yard touchdown return in the first quarter.

Roethlisberger completed 14 of 28 passes for 220 yards with a touchdown, but his costly mistake in the final seconds ended Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes. It marked the second straight week a Roethlisberger pick cost the Steelers: He threw an interception on the second play of overtime in last week’s loss at Dallas.

“Disappointment, pain,” Roethlisberger said of his feelings. “Letting a lot of people down, and it doesn’t feel good.”

Dalton found Green down the right sideline the play immediately following Nelson’s interception, setting up Brown’s winner. Green caught 10 passes for 116 yards and Dalton completed 24 of 41 for 278 yards and two interceptions for the Bengals (9-6), who snapped a five-game losing streak to Pittsburgh (7-8).

“It’s a big win for the city of Cincinnati,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “I know they just think that there’s some complex (against Pittsburgh); there’s no complex. You’ve just got to come play and win, and this group in there has very little history of anything (negative).

“We got some guys frustrated in there at times but we did a good job of hanging in there and not flinching and making big plays.”

On a day Cincinnati’s offense managed only 267 yards (including 14 rushing yards) and six points against the NFL’s top-ranked defense, most of those big plays — aside from Green — came from the Bengals’ defense.

The Bengals sacked Roethlisberger four times and allowed Pittsburgh to complete just 2 of 14 third downs. The Steelers were limited 280 yards and had three turnovers.

Pittsburgh did a decent job of keeping Dalton and Green in check, forcing a season-high three turnovers and making a season-high six sacks.

“Our defense was making the plays they needed to make to win the game,” Steelers running back Isaac Redman said. “We just didn’t help them out at all.”

Still, the Steelers had one last chance when they took over with 44 seconds left. Roethlisberger rolled right and tried to hit Mike Wallace down the sideline. The ball sailed over Wallace’s head and into the arms of Nelson, who had dropped an earlier pick.

It was just enough time for Dalton and Green to get together one last time and help Cincinnati take one more step away from its mediocre past.

“A lot of people talked about we hadn’t been in in back to back seasons in 30 years; I don’t worry about that stuff,” Green said. “I’ve been here two years and we made the playoffs all two years. That’s all we can control.”

Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall returned following a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, gaining a game-high 50 rushing yards on 11 carries.

NOTES: Cincinnati’s 14 yards rushing were the second-fewest in franchise history. The Bengals had four yards rushing against the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 ... Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller left the game in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury and did not return ... Brown is now 8 of 9 since taking over for Nugent three weeks ago ... Five of Pittsburgh’s eight losses this season have come by three points.


Text Only
  • Tori Postlewait front.jpg East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters

    Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
    If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
    Well, it took four years, but it’s finally time for Postlewait’s great-uncle to pay up.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • East tennis splits with Polar Bears

    Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont split a pair of tennis matches Thursday, with Fairmont Senior winning the boys’ match and East Fairmont taking the girls’ competition.
    In the Bees’ 6-1 girls’ victory, Cara Laswell took second singles, 8-2. Erica Gorman won third singles, 8-1. And Carrington Reese won fourth singles, 8-3.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • McCutchen, Alvarez lead Pirates over Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • University hands Huskies first loss; East edges Elkins

    The mercy rule has been a familiar part of North Marion’s softball season.
    Through the first seven games, the Huskies regularly pounded their opponents with stingy defense, sharp pitching and timely hitting. Rarely did a game go all seven innings for the previously undefeated team.

    April 17, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Pirates shut out by Reds’ Cueto, 4-0

    Johnny Cueto was on his game, and the only thing that the Pirates could do was watch.
    Cueto pitched his third career shutout against the team that beat him in the NL wild card game, and Joey Votto hit a two-run homer that led the Cincinnati Reds over the Pirates 4-0 Wednesday for their first winning series this season.

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos