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Old 12-12-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
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Default Defense helps vault Steelers to 23-7 victory over Bengals

Defense helps vault Steelers to 23-7 victory over Bengals
Sunday, December 12, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Two pick-six touchdowns by their defense vaulted the Steelers past the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-7, today at Heinz Field.

Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley each intercepted passes and returned them for touchdowns to give the Steelers their fourth straight victory and a 10-3 record.

Woodley returned his interception 14 yards in the fourth quarter and Polamalu 45 yards in the second quarter with the Steelers trailing 7-0. Polamalu intercepted a second pass at the goalline to stifle the Bengals' last gasp with 1:52 left.

Woodley also led the Steelers with two sacks.

The Steelers' only scores on offense came from the foot of Shaun Suisham, who kicked field goals of 41, 35 and 23 yards, making him 9 for 9 with them.

Polamalu came up with his third huge play in the third straight game when he intercepted a pass in the second quarter and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown to spark the Steelers to a 10-point surge and a 10-7 halftime lead.

Trailing 7-0, Polamalu stepped in front of a Carson Palmer pass that was intended for Terrell Owens. He sped down the left side with a couple Bengals chasing him, and just when it looked as though he might get caught, Polamalu dived, stuck the ball out with his right hand and topped the pylon before he went out of bounds.

On the next series, Ben Roethlisberger shook off another blow to the head -- and another non-call by the crew of referee Walt Coleman -- to lead the Steelers to a 23-yard Suisham field goal.

Defensive end Michael Johnson hit Roethlisberger -- playing with a face shield on to protect his broken nose -- in the head as he sacked him for a two-yard loss early in that drive. The quarterback and his coach, Mike Tomlin, complained to no avail. On the next play, Roethlisberger completed an 18-yard pass to Hines Ward for a first down at Cincinnati's 44. Antwaan Randle El made a one-handed catch for a 22-yard gain, and after a high snap, Roethlisberger took off for a 13-yard run to the five.

However, the Steelers wasted a first down when Roethlisberger spiked the ball on the next play, and they wound up kicking a 23-yard field goal with 21 seconds left.

The Bengals scored on their first drive, thanks to two crucial penalties against the Steelers, who had nine for 89 yards on the day, six of them holding calls. The first occurred after Palmer threw incomplete on third and three from his 39; linebacker Woodley jumped offsides to give them a first down.

The second occurred when Ike Taylor was flagged for pass interference in the end zone on Chad Ochocinco. The 19-yard penalty put the ball at the one, and Palmer threw a pass to tackle-eligible Andrew Whitworth, all alone on the right side.

For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette On the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10346...#ixzz17wQKpj8D
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