Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Boswell field goal clinches AFC North clash
Last Updated: 05/12/17 2:40pm
Pittsburgh Steelers proved they have grit to go with their undoubted flair by battling back from a 17-point deficit to win a bruising AFC North encounter with the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20, thanks to Chris Boswell's late field goal.
For the second week in succession, the Steelers' 26-year-old kicker was the hero and having found the target from 53 yards to beat the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, he was left with an easier, but no less crucial, attempt to clinch a victory that keeps the Steelers as the No 1 seed and improves them to an equal NFL-best 10-2 record.
Having been shaken by a horrible-looking back injury to linebacker Ryan Shazier, the Steelers could not get going early on as Andy Dalton found A.J. Green for a couple of early touchdowns to go with Randy Bullock's opening field goal.
Shazier was taken to hospital after being strapped to a stretcher and left the field on a cart following a helmet collision with Josh Malone's thigh - NFL Network later reported that he had suffered a spinal contusion and further diagnosis would follow once swelling had subsided.
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Boswell drilled the first of three field goals to get the Steelers on the board, but trailing 17-3 at half-time they were facing just a third defeat of the season and first since Week Five.
But, with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell a formidable attacking trident it was not long before Pittsburgh got themselves back on track.
Roethlisberger found Bell for a 35-yard catch and run down the sideline, where the Bengals tackling left a lot to be desired as they thought the star running back may take himself out of bounds.
Bullock's 41-yard field goal kept the Bengals a couple of scores in front and meant the Steelers faced a 13-point deficit entering the final quarter.
Boswell started the comeback by firing over from 37 yards and with Bell already on the scoresheet it was the turn of Brown to take centre stage.
The All-Pro wide receiver somehow survived a late Bengals hit to hang on to Roethlisberger's 15-yard pass and give Boswell a chance to level the scores with the extra point, which he duly took to set up the late search for a victory.
The kicker then had his chance to become the hero with time running out and having found the target from 30 and 37 yards, he made no mistake from 37 once again to put the Steelers in front for the first time in the match and that was to prove enough for victory.
Game's key stats
|Passing||C/A Yds TD Int||Passing||C/A Yds TD Int|
|Ben Roethlisberger||24/40 290 2 1||Andy Dalton||21/36 234 2 0|
|Rushing||Att Yds TD||Rushing||Att Yds TD|
|Le'Veon Bell||18 76 0||Giovani Bernard||13 77 0|
|Receiving||Rec Yds TD||Joe Mixon||7 34 0|
|Le'Veon Bell||5 106 1||Receiving||Rec Yds TD|
|Antonio Brown||8 101 1||A.J. Green||7 77 2|
|Martavis Bryant||4 40 0||Brandon LaFell||4 55 0|
|JuJu Smith-Schuster||4 17 0||Tyler Kroft||2 30 0|
|Total net yards||374||Total net yards||353|
Brown and Bell combined for 282 yards in the game and both men went past 1,000 receiving yards for the season, but the Bengals were left counting the cost of a defeat that leaves them behind the Steelers and Ravens in the AFC North and playing catch-up in a crowded race for a Conference wild card.
Pittsburgh will await assessment on Shazier's injury, which left one of his team-mates close to tears, while the already injury-depleted Bengals saw rookie running back Joe Mixon suffer a concussion and LB Vontaze Burfict leave the field with a head injury after a collision with JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Want to say prayers up for my dog Ryan Shazier man we all praying for you 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 God has a plan— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) December 5, 2017
I don’t have any intentions to hurt anyone when I play football. I didn’t mean to hurt Vontez Burfict, I just wanted to throw a block for my teammate. I apologize for standing over him and that isn’t me. Praying he gets better.— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) December 5, 2017