However, after struggling for much of the season, that would be the only reception he allowed on the day, and he added a deflected pass on a key third down late in the game to boot. It was a nice rebound effort for a player that needs to be a key cog in their defensive machine if the Steelers hope to have success in 2012.
After two turnovers in two plays for Roethlisberger, the Steelers turned to the ground game, and Jonathan Dwyer—starting for the injured Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman—delivered a big performance. He finished the day with 122 yards on 17 carries on 7-2 yards per carry.
Dwyer got the call on the first four plays of the drive, netting 11, 4, 4, and then 21 yards—the team’s first run of 20+ yards on the season. The Steelers drove down to the 29-yard line, but on a 3rd and 5 pass, cornerback Leon Hall was able to get a hand on a pass intended for Mike Wallace in the end zone, redirecting it just enough so that Wallace could not adjust. At first glance, it appeared to be his third dropped pass on the night, but he had little chance after it was tipped. Still, a 47-yard field goal by Suisham made it a one possession game.
It seemed all the small breaks were going the Bengals’ way, but that quickly changed on the next drive. On a first down pass from their own 45, Dalton attempted to pump fake before throwing, but he could not hold on to the ball. It bounced off of right guard Kevin Zeitler’s helmet and into the arms of linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who returned the ball to the 29-yard line.
It took just under a minute in six plays for Roethlisberger to get the ball in the end zone, finding Miller on a second and 9 pass for the touchdown. It was Miller’s 5th of the year. Down two points, Tomlin elected to go for two, and again Roethlisberger turned to Miller, who ran a fade pattern and was able to secure the ball and get a knee on the ground before sliding out of bounds, bringing the game to a tie as the game went into halftime.
The Bengals finally were able to rebound after a few stagnant drives to net a field goal, but the Steelers defense shut them down the rest of the way. The Bengals had five more drives in the game, and they managed just a single first down, going three and out four times.
The Steelers’ biggest issues thus far this season had been their fourth quarter defense, giving up a lead in all three of their losses late in the game. With the defense stifling the Bengals in the second half in this game, however, it could be a sign of a turnaround.
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