This win was a must

CINCINNATI – This is one they had to have. Not in the sense of being eliminated from anything, but in the sense of being more than just a mathematical player in the AFC North Division race as the season is about to begin its second half.

The Steelers got what they needed, by a 27-21 margin, and it was one of those situations where nothing about the evening was as important as the outcome.

"If you're going to be a dominant team, which is what we desire to be in our division, you have to be able to go into other people's places and play winning football," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "And it's a tough thing to do. It's easy to say and tough to do."

On the surface, it seemed especially easy to say this weekend, what with their journey bringing them to the home of the perpetually dysfunctional Bengals. The striped helmets arrived for this Monday night throwdown having lost four in a row, but they long have had a history of sudden competence whenever the hypocycloids make their annual visit.

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