Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for four touchdowns, two to wide receiver Chase Claypool, and the defense held Cincinnati without a conversion on third down on all 13 Bengals' attempts in a 36-10 victory on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
"I like what we did on third down," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. "We were very good on the possession downs."
The Steelers improved to 9-0 for the first time in franchise history.
The Bengals fell to 2-6-1.
Announced attendance was 5,909.
"We're just taking it one game at a time," outside linebacker T.J. Watt said. "We'll take a win any way we can get it.
"The train keeps rolling."
Roethlisberger's fourth touchdown pass and Claypool's second touchdown reception, a 5-yard connection, finished off a five-play drive that began at the Cincinnati 15-yard line following a 42-yard punt return by wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud. Kicker Chris Boswell's extra point gave the Steelers a 36-7 lead with 10:31 left in the fourth quarter.
Roethlisberger finished 27-for-46 passing for a season-high 333 yards and four touchdowns and wasn't intercepted.
His preparation in the week leading up to the game was virtual until he was activated from the Steelers' Reserve/COVID-19 list and able to participate in what Roethlisberger described as an "up-tempo walk-through" on Saturday.
"I attribute it to the guys around me," he said. "It was way more than me. It was a total team victory.
Added wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster: "Ben does what Ben does, I'm nit surprised."
Mason Rudolph took over at quarterback for a possession that began with 5:02 left in regulation, just after a 37-yard field goal by Bengals kicker Randy Bullock accounted for the final margin.
The Steelers took a 22-point lead late in the third quarter on a 12-play, 67-yard drive in 4:12 that culminated on an 11-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Claypool. Roethlisberger converted three third downs, including two third-and-10s, with completions on the march (11 yards to Claypool, 14 yards to tight end Eric Ebron and 12 yards to Smith Schuster). Boswell's extra point gave the Steelers a 29-7 advantage.
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 10 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field
Boswell's third field goal in three tries in the first half gave the Steelers a 22-7 lead with 1:48 left in the second quarter. They carried that 15-point advantage into halftime.
The Steelers opened the scoring thanks in part to a turnover generated on special teams.
Outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi forced a fumble on a punt return and running back Benny Snell recovered at the Cincinnati 32-yard line. The Steelers were unable to register a first down but Boswell converted from 41 yards away from a 3-0 lead with 11:23 left in the first quarter.
A 15-yard punt return by McCloud gave the Steelers possession at the Bengals' 46 midway through the first. They drove to the Cincinnati 12 but ultimately settled for a 30-yard Boswell field goal and a 6-0 lead with 4:50 left in the opening quarter.
The offense required just three plays to score the game's first touchdown on the Steelers' next possession. Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Diontae Johnson for 46 yards, wide receiver James Washington for 16 and then Johnson again for a 12-yard touchdown on successive snaps. A two-point conversion pass from Roethlisberger to Claypool fell incomplete, keeping the Steelers' lead at 12-0 with 1:51 left in the first.
The Bengals responded with an eight-play, 90-yard touchdown drive in 3:21. A pass from quarterback Joe Burrow to wide receiver Tee Higgins on fourth-and-goal from the Steelers' 2 got Cincinnati into the end zone and onto the scoreboard. Bullock's extra point trimmed the Steelers' lead to 12-7 with 10:37 left in the second.
Cincinnati went 2-for-3 on fourth down, including a fake punt that gained 39 yards to the Steelers' 27 and set up Bullock's field goal.
The Steelers' second touchdown, an 8-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Smith-Schuster, capped a seven-play, 78-yard drive in 3:14. Boswell's extra point upped the Steelers' advantage to 19-7 with 7:23 remaining prior to the break.
Johnson finished the first half with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown and didn't catch a pass in the second half.
The two teams combined for just 45 rushing yards in the opening 30 minutes (29 for the Bengals and 16 for the Steelers). The Bengals out-rushed the Steelers, 139-44, overall.
The Steelers sacked Burrow four times and have registered at least one sack in 66th consecutive regular-season games, three off the NFL record of 69 set by Tampa Bay from 1999-2003.