Another week, another win for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The black and gold took care of business on Monday night to dismantle the Cincinnati Bengals, 30-10, at Paul Brown Stadium.
Ben Roethlisberger put up his best performance yet, hitting Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, and Heath Miller for TD passes while throwing for 244 yards. Ward was once again Big Ben's key target, hauling in 6 passes for 78 yards on the day.
Rashard Mendenhall also had his first real successful game since early in the year, as he ran for 94 yards on 22 carries. He added 3 receptions as well. Mewelde Moore added 24 yards on the ground.
The Steelers did a great job on third down, as they converted 6 of their 14 opportunities while allowing Cincinnati to get a new set of downs on only 2 of 12 opportunities. Pittsburgh also won the turnover war, as they forced an interception (Ike Taylor) and fumble while never turning the ball over themselves.
Defensively, Troy Polamalu had his best game of the season. He had 3 tackles (plus one assist), a pass deflection, and his first sack of the year. He did a much better job of disrupting plays at the line than he has for much of the year, and also played well in coverage. The Bengals did pass for 252 yards.
The win sets up a Sunday night showdown with the also undefeated New England Patriots at Heinz Field.
"It's another performance that we're happy with, definitely. They did get some passing yardage, but we attribute that to them trying to come from behind late in the game. We played pretty well in basically every facet of the game and need to transition that to our game with the [undefeated 8-0] Patriots."
-- Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin
STAR OF THE GAME
And he just keeps getting better. For the third straight week, it's nearly impossible to pick anyone other than Roethlisberger as the top player in the contest. The star quarterback tossed for 244 yards and three touchdowns on 17 of 27 passing, compiling a 129.2 passer rating for the night.
Big Ben saved his best performance thus far for the Monday night stage, as it was the first game in which he threw multiple TD passes, and also the third straight game in which he did not toss an interception.
After a Cincinnati three and out that left the Steelers with just 40 seconds to work with in the first half, they turned a mere 10-3 advantage into a 17-3 lead that blew the game open.
After a couple completions, the Steelers had the ball in a 1st and 10 on their own 44 with just 11 seconds left. After scanning the field, Ben Roethlisberger found a wide open Mike Wallace on a deep corner route.
Wallace zipped behind all Bengals defenders and converted the play into six points as the half expired, sending the Steelers into the locker room brimming with confidence.
SCORING SUMMARY2 - CIN Nugent 34 FG
2 - PIT Ward 10 pass from Roethlisberger (XP)
2 - PIT Suisham 39 FG
2 - PIT Wallace 56 pass from Roethlisberger (XP)
3 - PIT Suisham 44 FG
4 - PIT Miller 8 pass from Roethlisberger (XP)
4 - PIT Suisham 35 FG
4 - CIN Shipley 45 pass from Palmer (XP)