Offense needs to score TDs

The Steelers' offense didn't score a touchdown in Sunday's 23-7 victory over the Bengals, but it did just about everything else.

"It's funny because I had that talk with Charlie (Batch) and Byron (Leftwich) on the sideline," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "I felt like we did some good things offensively. We possessed the ball. I don't know what the time was but it had to be pretty good. I think one drive we might have gone like 140 yards.

"Those things feel good, but it's not good enough because we have to score points. Field goals aren't good enough. Luckily, our defense bailed us out and played such a great game, and it was fun to watch them."

The drive to which Roethlisberger referred didn't quite cover 140 yards.

Officially, it went for 50, from the Steelers' 18-yard line to the Bengals' 32-yard line. It included 10-yard holding penalties assessed against offensive tackles Jonathan Scott and Flozell Adams and consecutive sacks of Roethlisberger after the Steelers had gotten as far as the Cincinnati 15-yard line.

It lasted 15 plays and consumed 9:21.

It ended with a punt.

For an offense that went 0-for-3 in the red zone, it was that kind of day.

"We drove the ball well," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "We just didn't do well in the red zone. We'll find a way to rectify it and get it done.

"We're not proud of the way we performed in the red zone, but we're proud of the win. When it comes to crunch time we're going to have to start putting up touchdowns. Field goals won't win it. But getting down there and the opportunities we had, I think we made some plays. We drove the length of the field almost all day."

That long march to a punt at least helped the Steelers pile up time of possession advantages of 13:15-1:45 in the third quarter and 34:31-25:29 overall. The Steelers also outgained the Bengals (354-190), averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 27 rushes and converted almost 50 percent of their third downs (7-for-15, 47 percent).

They just didn't score any offensive touchdowns.

Individual highlights included Roethlisberger again overcoming a fractured foot and a broken nose (he opened with a shield attached to his helmet but eventually discarded it), Ward piling up 115 yards receiving (his fourth 100-yard game of the season and the 29th of his career), and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El making a spectacular catch and running an option off a direct snap (the play ultimately resulted in a pitch to wide receiver Mike Wallace and a gain of 12).

Touchdowns or not, Roethlisberger and Ward emerged impressed with and thankful for one another once again.

Roethlisberger had this to say regarding Ward: "I could sit here and talk all day about the effort, the will to win and his determination, his toughness. But we've been seeing that for what, 15 years, however long he's been playing? I take my hat off to him because he's a warrior."

Added Ward of Roethlisberger: "He's a warrior. He's a winner. He's a proven winner. He's our leader on the team. I don't know if there's enough praise I can give the guy. He's a legitimate superstar in our league."

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