CINCINNATI - Mike Tomlin entered the season expecting dominance from his defense.
He got it for openers against the Bengals.
Cincinnati's first two snaps resulted in a sack of quarterback Joe Burrow by defensive tackle Cam Heyward and an interception and 31-yard return for a touchdown by free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Before the first quarter ended, Heyward added a fumble recovery and outside linebacker Alex Highsmith collected two of the Steelers' three sacks.
Before the second quarter was two minutes old, outside linebacker T.J. Watt came up with the Steelers' second interception.
And before the first half concluded, cornerback Cam Sutton registered the Steelers' third interception of Burrow.
The Steelers kept defending through the final seconds of regulation and found just enough offense in what became a 23-20 overtime victory this afternoon at Paycor Stadium.
Kicker Chris Boswell won it with a 53-yard field goal on the final play of overtime.
The Steelers (1-0) finished with 267 total net yards.
The Bengals (0-1) gained 432.
The Steelers got the ball first in the extra session but were unable to generate a first down and punted.
The Bengals had a chance to end it with 3:33 left in OT but kicker Evan McPherson missed a 29-yard field goal attempt.
Then the Steelers missed an opportunity to secure victory when Boswell hit the left upright on a 54-yard field goal attempt.
The Bengals punted the ball back to the Steelers with 56 seconds left in the overtime.
Completions from Trubisky to tight end Pat Freiermuth for a combined 36 yards got the ball to the Bengals' 35-yard line and set the stage for Boswell's game-winning kick.
Watt (pec) and running back Najee Harris (foot) didn't play in the overtime after sustaining injuries in the fourth quarter.
The Bengals turned a second-and-goal from the Steelers' 6-yard line with four seconds left in the fourth quarter into a touchdown pass from Burrow to wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
But Fitzpatrick blocked McPherson's extra point attempt with two seconds left in regulation.
Cincinnati's game-tying drive began at the Bengals' 40 with 1:27 left in the fourth.
The Bengals cut an 11-point halftime deficit to three at 17-14 with a nine-play, 46-yard drive in 5:44 that ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to wide receiver Tyler Boyd and a two-point conversion pass from Burrow to wide receiver Mike Thomas with 4:41 left in the third quarter.
The Steelers responded with a seven-play, 15-yard drive in 2:08 that delivered a 48-yard field goal from Boswell and a 20-14 lead with 11:13 left in the fourth.
The short-field possession was set up by a 20-yard punt return by wide receiver Gunner Olszewski to the Bengals' 45.
Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon ended Cincinnati's next drive with the Steelers' fourth interception, a theft of a Burrow pass intended for wide receiver Tyler Boyd on fourth-and-6 from the Steelers' 36.
The subsequent Bengals' possession reached the Steelers 1 and came down to fourth-and-goal from the 1 on the first snap inside the two-minute warning.
Burrow's pass into the end zone for Chase was deflected by Sutton and fell incomplete.
The Bengals countered Fitzpatrick's early pick-six with a Bengals-record 59-yard field goal by McPherson that cut the Steelers' lead to 7-3 with 7:17 left in the first quarter.
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 1 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium
A forced fumble by Highsmith and Heyward's recovery set the Steelers up at the Bengals' 34 and a 31-yard connection between Trubisky and Freiermuth established a first-and-goal at the Cincinnati 3. But the Steelers settled for a 20-yard field goal by kicker Chris Boswell and a 10-3 lead with 2:25 left in the opening quarter.
Watt's interception set the table for what became a seven-play, 59-yard drive in 4:22 that ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Harris.
Boswell's extra point upped the Steelers' lead to 17-3 with 8:46 remaining prior to halftime.
McPherson's second field goal, this one from 20 yards, ended a drive that reached the Steelers' 4 but went backwards from there with 14 seconds left in the second.