Time on their side

CINCINNATI _ The initial objective had been to get the Bengals' 32-yard line and give kicker Chris Boswell a chance to win the game with a 50-yard field goal.

The Steelers ended up getting all the way to the end zone with seconds remaining on Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.

"Really, the thought is, 'Get us into field goal range and win it that way,'" quarterback Ben Roethlisberger explained regarding his immediate reaction after the Bengals had scored with 1:18 left in the fourth quarter for a 21-20 lead. "But things happened differently."

The knockout punch was a 31-yard, catch-and-run touchdown from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Antonio Brown.

With the Steelers facing a first-and-10 from the Cincinnati 31and 15 seconds remaining, the Bengals sent seven pass rushers at Roethlisberger and played "zero coverage" (no deep safety) against the Steelers' four eligible receivers.

Brown cut behind wide receiver Justin Hunter, who was lined up to Brown's right, caught a slant at the 30 and was gone.

"We had the perfect play call," Brown said. "Those guys were in 'zero' coverage. When I motioned down and the corner (William Jackson) backed up, I knew we had an opportunity for a catch-and-run."

Roethlisberger saw and anticipated what Brown was seeing and thinking.

"They blitzed everybody," Roethlisberger said. "Once I saw them starting to roll down into a 'zero,' I knew what they were doing. It was catch the ball, deliver it and let the rest happen.

"In my head it was, 'This could be a touchdown. Worst-case scenario, we're moving the chains and getting some yards. But there's a really good chance that he's gonna score on this play as long as I do my part and get him the ball.'

"Everyone did awesome. Justin Hunter, huge play on his part by running up through there and clearing it out for (Brown)."

Hunter was engaged by cornerback Tony McRae and pushed up the field as Brown made the catch.

"Great block," Brown said.

FOLLOWING ROETHLISBERGER'S LEAD: What became the game-winning drive began at the Steelers' 23 following a 24-yard kickoff return by wide receiver Ryan Switzer.

There was 1:12 left on the clock.

Roethlisberger had a few things to say before the offense took the field.

"He said, 'They gave us too much time,'" center Maurkice Pouncey reported. "Those were his words.

"Then we went out there and scored."

Those hadn't been Roethlisberger's only words.

"On the sideline before I went out I told the guys, 'This is what legacies are made of for all of us, let's go take are of business,'" Roethlisberger said. "And that's what makes it fun."

Guard Ramon Foster was thinking the same thing as Roethlisberger.

"We have too much time," Foster said. "Ben's a guy that can make a play at any point in time, we just gotta be a team to execute it. It was ugly earlier sometimes in that drive but we found a way to get it done.

"To be honest with you, it falls back on No. 7. When you have a franchise quarterback, a Hall-of-Fame-type quarterback, you always have a shot. That's why teams give up so much in the draft, they want that guy. We have one of those guys. Ben is a guy that makes it happen. He's surgical, he's a general out there. If he's out there we got a shot every week."

SHAZIER'S RETURN: The emotion of Ryan Shazier walking back into Paul Brown Stadium after having suffered a catastrophic spinal injury last Dec. 4 wasn't lost on the Steelers.

"It just reminds me of the strides that he made," inside linebacker Vince Williams said. "A guy that's going in, grinding every day, rehabbing, just being able to get back walking again is crazy. And the strength that it really took for him to be able to come back here.

"I know if it was me I probably wouldn't have been tough enough to be able to come back here."

DeCastro expressed a myriad of emotions.

"It's sad, man," DeCastro said. "Coach (Mike) Tomlin says there's more to life than football.

"It's inspiring to see a guy like that. I don't know if I could do the same thing myself. I'd probably be a hermit and walk away and feel sorry for myself. To see a guy like that come out here and be inspiring and be around the guys and help coach it out, it's really impressive and we all draw a lot of energy from that."

Roethlisberger's eyes got a little watery when he spoke about Shazier.

"Walking off the field with him was emotional, just because, obviously, of what happened and what he means to us and this team," Roethlisberger said. "I mentioned in the prayer afterwards that we're thankful, thankful that he is walking now and doing things.

"Obviously, he's not to where he wants to be and playing football again. But just the fact that he's able to walk and we can see him walk off that field and walk off with him, it was special. This is a place we'll always remember, not just for football but for life."

Game action photos from the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 6 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

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