WHAT WENT RIGHT
- The Steelers received the opening kickoff and after gaining 28 yards, Brad Wing's punt pinned the Bengals at their own 9-yard line. After an incomplete pass and a short run by Jeremy Hill, Andy Dalton tried to convert the third-and-6 with a dump-off to Hill. Will Allen came up quickly and made an open-field tackle to force the Bengals to punt.
- Kevin Huber's punt traveled 54 yards, but Antonio Brown brought it back 71 yards for a touchdown. He got a nice block from Terence Garvin after reversing his field, and then Brown shoved Shamarko Thomas forward into Huber and that created the final block that he needed.
- The Bengals' second possession was energized by the running of Jeremy Hill, who had three carries for 43 yards before taking himself out for a breather. On the next play, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green miscommunicated on a route that ended up with the receiver cutting off the route and the quarterback throwing the ball down the sideline. The result was an interception by Brice McCain at the Pittsburgh 2-yard line.
- The Steelers defense did a nice job following the fumble the Bengals recovered at the Pittsburgh 34-yard line. The big defensive play was a 7-yard sack by Cam Heyward that set up a third-and-17. Heyward beat center Russell Bodine on the play, and the Bengals took a 10-7 lead on a 39-yard field goal by Mike Nugent.
- It was a first-and-10 from the Bengals 42-yard line early in the second quarter, when, under pressure, Ben Roethlisberger dumped the ball to Le'Veon Bell in the left flat. Bell caught the ball, spun to the outside to leave LB Vincent Rey grasping at air, and raced 26 yards to the Bengals 16-yard line. Three plays later, Shaun Suisham's 29-yard field goal tied the game, 10-10, with 7:36 left in the first half.
- Brice McCain's second interception of the game set up the Steelers' go-ahead touchdown late in the second quarter. Andy Dalton's pass was high and deflected off A.J. Green and into the hands of McCain, who returned the ball 31 yards to the Bengals 28-yard line.
- Two plays after McCain's second interception, Martavis Bryant caught a quick wide receiver screen pass, used nice blocks by Markus Wheaton and Heath Miller and raced 21 yards for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 17-10 lead.
- The ensuing possession by the Bengals was ruined by a Sean Spence sack of Andy Dalton that set up a third-and-17 situation the Bengals decided not to attempt to convert. On the play, Spence came from the second level, picked a gap in the line of scrimmage and then ran over Jeremy Hill on the way to Dalton.
- On the opening possession of the second half, Mike Nugent missed a 50-yard field goal, which gave the Steelers the ball for their first possession at the 40-yard line.
- After taking possession following the failed fake punt, the Bengals moved to a first down at the Steelers 48-yard line when Andy Dalton completed a 17-yard pass to A.J. Green. Antwon Blake came in from behind and stripped the ball out and then recovered the fumble himself at the 30-yard line.
- On a subsequent third-and-7 from the Pittsburgh 37-yard line, Antonio Brown escaped CB Dre Kirkpatrick along the right sideline, caught a pass from Ben Roethlisberger, made SS George Iloka miss and then raced the rest of the way to complete the 63-yard touchdown that gave the Steelers a 27-17 lead.
- The icing on the cake came on a third-and-10 from the Cincinnati 37-yard line with 1:51 left in the game and the Steelers holding a 27-17 lead. On the play, Bengals RT Eric Winston fell while backpedaling to get into position to pass-block, and Jason Worilds chased down Andy Dalton for a 9-yard sack that set up a fourth-and-19.
WHAT WENT WRONG
* Things got off to an inauspicious start when the Steelers went through all of their pregame warmups without Ben Roethlisberger, who reportedly was suffering from a stomach virus. Roethlisberger came out just before the defensive starters were introduced, with about 10 minutes before kickoff. He then warmed up with Heath Miller, Antonio Brown, and Bruce Gradkowski.
The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2014 regular season finale at Heinz Field.
- Antonio Brown got the Steelers on the scoreboard with his 71-yard punt return in the first quarter, but he also dropped passes on consecutive third downs that resulted in punts.
- The Steelers inability to generate any offense early in the first quarter eventually led to the kind of field position the Bengals used to tie the game at 7-7. Cincinnati drove 42 yards on seven plays, with a broken-play shuffle pass from Andy Dalton accounting for the final 17 yards and the tying score with 2:43 left in the period.
- It was a third-and-3 from the Pittsburgh 41-yard line, and with Ben Roethlisberger in the shotgun, the snap was low and the resulting fumble was recovered by Wallace Gilberry at the Steelers 34-yard line.
- The Steelers had an opportunity to take a two-touchdown lead at halftime, and after a pass interference penalty they had a first-and-goal at the Bengals 10-yard line. But the offense stalled from there, with three incomplete passes into the end zone. The Steelers were 0-for-2 in the red zone and converted just 2-of-7 third downs in the first half.
- It was a 19-yard gain on a pass to Le'Veon Bell in the final six minutes of the third quarter, but after making the catch Bell was hit by safety Reggie Nelson and sustained an injury to his right knee. Bell would jog off the field, but he then was taken into the locker room for further evaluation.
- On the third play following Bell's injury, Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted by Reggie Nelson on a play in which there seemed to be some type of miscommunication between the quarterback and Antonio Brown. The Bengals took possession at their own 11-yard line with 3:43 remaining in the third quarter.
- The Bengals capitalized on Reggie Nelson's interception with a 15-play, 89-yard touchdown drive that consumed 7:29 of game time. The Bengals were faced with only one third down on the entire possession, and their touchdown cut the Steelers lead to 20-17 with 11:14 left in the fourth quarter.
- On the first offensive play for the Steelers following the Bengals' touchdown, Josh Harris, playing for the injured Le'Veon Bell, burst through a hole and ran 59 yards to the Bengals' 15 yard line. But the play was nullified by a holding call on Ramon Foster.
- Special teams giveth, and special teams taketh away. In the fourth quarter of a game that had Antonio Brown return a punt for a touchdown in the fourth quarter also had an ill-advised fake punt attempt by the Steelers give the ball to the Bengals the ball at their own 41-yard line. On the play, Brad Wing attempted a pass to Will Allen that was intercepted by Dane Sanzenbacher.