- Tough as nails: Earlier in the week Ben Roethlisberger challenged Martavis Bryant to among other things, 'make tough catches.'
Bryant responded to the challenge, and then some. His five catches for 29 yards and one touchdown might not jump out on the stat sheet, but that 10-yard touchdown is one that will go down as one of the toughest, best catches of the entire NFL season.
Bryant pulled it in from the corner of the end zone, holding it tucked behind his knee while flipping over. And he maintained possession the entire time.
- He's back: Roethlisberger also epitomized what tough is all about when he left the game at the end of the third quarter with a shoulder injury, replaced by Landry Jones. At that point the Steelers were up 15-0. The Bengals scored 16 unanswered points, and the Steelers got the ball back with what appeared to be one last chance. Jones threw an interception, giving the Bengals the chance to close out the game. Bengals running back Jeremy Hill fumbled, the Steelers got the ball back and Roethlisberger returned to the field.
Roethlisberger completed five passes for 40 yards on the final drive, which after two 15-yard penalties on the Bengals ended with Chris Boswell's game-winning drive.
"Coach came to me and asked if I could do it," said Roethlisberger. "I said I will give it everything I've got."
Cool as ice:** First-year kicker Chris Boswell, who was unfazed by the pressure of the postseason, nailed four field goals in the 18-16 win. Boswell got the Steelers off to a 9-0 start with field goals from 39, 30 and 34 yards. But his biggest play of the day, and his young career, was a 35-yard game-winning field goal.
- Rock solid: Linebacker Ryan Shazier was on fire against the Bengals, all over the field the entire game. Shazier finished with 13 tackles, but more importantly forced two fumbles in the game. The biggest play for Shazier came on the Bengals final possession. Shazier forced a Jeremy Hill fumble that Stephon Tuitt recovered. The fumble gave the Steelers the ball back for the game-winning field goal drive.
Next man up:** Running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman did exactly what was asked of them with Le'Veon Bell out with a foot injury for the game. They stepped up and answered when their number was called.
Toussaint finished with 17 carries for 58 yards and four receptions for 60 yards, while Todman had 11 carries for 65 yards.