CINCINNATI – Cornerback William Gay was interested in the victory, not the particulars.
One week after being victimized, along with free safety Ryan Clark, on a game-winning, 26-yard touchdown pass in the closing seconds against Baltimore, Gay tipped one pass into the waiting arms of linebacker Lawrence Timmons and intercepted another in what became a nail-biting, 24-17 victory over the Bengals on Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.
"We just won, man," Gay maintained. "I don't care what I did. We got a victory. We just all played some great football."
Gay's tip to Timmons stopped in its tracks a Bengals' possession that had started at the Steelers' 47-yard line with 12:22 remaining in regulation. Gay's interception occurred off a second-and-9 snap from the Steelers' 25-yard line with 2:33 left in the fourth quarter.
Gay never admitted to seeing that attempted pass from quarterback Andy Dalton to wide receiver Jerome Simpson coming. But apparently quarterback Byron Leftwich did.
"Byron Leftwich was standing next to me (on the sideline) and he said, 'C'mon, Will, under-cut this,'" quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reported. "Next thing you know Byron was hitting me, 'I told you, I told you.'
"It was a heck of a play. It was a game-changer for us."
The Bengals never got the ball back.
Gay finished with three tackles, the interception and four passes defensed. But he vowed to get over this latest performance just as quickly as he had what transpired against the Ravens.
"You have to," Gay said. "We have to put this win behind us, go into the bye week and get some rest and then come back and watch some film on Kansas City."
Video study prior to the Cincinnati game and paying attention throughout the first three-plus quarters apparently positioned Gay to jump that Dalton-to-Simpson route at just the right time.
At least that was Clark's theory.
The Steelers were aware Bengals rookie wide receiver A.J. Green (knee) was out of the game, Clark said, and that Cincinnati had been far more likely to throw quick routes over the middle, down the seams or to the sidelines rather than go deep even when Green had been playing.
"We saw that a lot," Clark said. "Will finally got a bead on it. He just jumped the route and made an amazing play to win the game."
Added strong safety Troy Polamalu: "I thought it was a case of reading and reacting to make a play. He played really well today and he made a game-winning interception."
Although Gay wasn't interested in the redemption angle in the wake of the Baltimore debacle, the defense's ability to turn the Bengals over deep in Steelers' territory just before the two-minute warning wasn't lost on defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
"We kind of owed 'em one," LeBeau said, presumably referencing the Steelers because of the outcome of the Ravens game. "I thought our guys would answer the next time we had a chance.
"I was proud of them. They came through when they had to."