Another attempt at a fourth-quarter rally came up short and the Steelers were beaten by the Bengals, 24-10, this afternoon at Heinz Field.
The Steelers' last gasp at a comeback fizzled when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit running back Najee Harris for a loss of 1 on fourth-and-10 from the Bengals' 11-yard line and the Bengals took over with 3:02 left in the fourth quarter.
The Steelers final possession ended when Harris dropped a pass from Roethlisberger on fourth-and-2 from the Steelers' 35-yard line with 1:23 left in the game.
The Steelers dropped their second consecutive home game after opening the season with a 23-16 win at Buffalo and fell to 1-2.
The Bengals improved to 2-1.
The Steelers' offensive frustrations throughout were exemplified by the fourth-quarter possession that turned the ball over on downs, and by the drive for a field goal that cut the Bengals lead to 24-10 with 8:09 left in the fourth.
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field
Kicker Chris Boswell's 26-yard effort capped an 18-play, 88-yard march that used up 9:03 with the Steelers trailing by 17 and had established a first-and-goal at the Bengals' 3-yard line before retreating thanks in part to two penalties (offensive pass interference against wide receiver Chase Claypool and a false start against offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr.
Quarterback Joe Burrow's second touchdown pass to wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and third scoring strike on the day, this one a 9-yard toss, and kicker Evan McPherson's extra point increased the Bengals lead to 24-7 with 6:18 left in the third quarter.
The Bengals needed just three plays and 1:33 to cover 19 yards after linebacker Logan Wilson's second interception of Roethlisberger.
The Steelers missed a chance to close to within 24-10 when Boswell missed a 42-yard field goal attempt (wide left) with 4:22 left in the third, Boswell's first miss of the season.
Cincinnati established a two-score advantage at 17-7 on a 43-yard field goal by McPherson with 8:47 left in the third.
The first possession of the second half covered 55 yards on 10 play in 6:13. The Bengals began the march with three consecutive plays that produced first downs (an 11-yard run by running back Joe Mixon, a 14-yard completion from Burrow to wide receiver Auden Tate and an 11-yard run by Mixon).
The Bengals took a seven-point lead into the locker room at halftime thanks to a quick counterpunch after the Steelers had tied the game at 7-7.
Cincinnati took the subsequent kickoff and drove 75 yards on three plays in 27 seconds, and covered the final 34 yards of the march on a long pass from Burrow to Chase, who got behind cornerback James Pierre. McPherson's extra point upped the Bengals' lead to 14-7 with 37 seconds left prior to halftime.
The Steelers tied the game at 7-7 on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to tight end Pat Freiermuth and Boswell's conversion with 1:04 remaining in the second quarter. Freiermuth's first career touchdown reception capped a 15-play, 86-yard drive in 8:32. The Steelers converted three third downs on the possession and produced splash plays of 16 yards (Roethlisberger to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster), 20 yards (a carry by Harris) and 18 yards (a catch-and-run connection from Roethlisberger to Harris). The Steelers also overcame a holding penalty against guard Kevin Dotson on the way to the end zone.
The Bengals struck first on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to wide receiver Tyler Boyd.
The scoring drive covered 42 yards on six plays in 3:51 after the Bengals gained possession on an interception by Wilson, who caught a deflected ball after Roethlisberger had been hit on his delivery by defensive end Sam Hubbard.
Burrow found Boyd on a crossing route on third-and-2 from the Steelers' 17-yard line and Boyd bounced off of outside linebacker Melvin Ingram III at the 10 and sprinted into the end zone. McPherson's extra point made it Bengals 7, Steelers 0 with 2:54 left in the first quarter.
The Steelers committed four offensive penalties on their first three possessions, none of which produced a first down.
The third three-and-out ended a possession that began at the Steelers' 44 following the Steelers' first interception of the season (strong safety Terrell Edmunds collected the carom of a pass that had been tipped by free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick).
The Steelers played without outside linebacker T.J. Watt (groin), outside linebacker Alex Highsmith (groin) and wide receiver Diontae Johnson (knee).
Smith-Schuster (ribs) was unable to finish the game after catching three passes for 25 yards in the first two quarters. Smith-Schuster didn't return after the Steelers' first possession of the second half.
Offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor left late in the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
Center Kendrick Green (knee) exited with 4:21 left in regulation.