Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
Here are some first-half notes:
The Steelers did a good job of quieting the raucous home crowd in Paul Brown Stadium with a dominant first quarter. Pittsburgh led 10-0 after the first period as the offense sustained drives with 152 yards, and the defense held Cincinnati to minus-10 yards. The Bengals didn’t get their initial first down until early in the second quarter, where the home crowd gave the team a sarcastic round of applause.
Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin made a curious choice to go for it on fourth down at the end of the half, which ended up giving Cincinnati good field position. The Bengals turned the short field into a 34-yard field goal by Shayne Graham to cut the lead to 10 points after two quarters.
I'm really impressed so far with Pittsburgh tailback Willie Parker. As a speedy back, he felt that the turf in Cincinnati would help him this week, and Parker does look faster than the previous two games. Parker has 72 yards rushing and a 27-yard touchdown catch. Pittsburgh showed a few signs of turning the running game around in Week 2 and has looked dramatically improved in that area thus far.
There’s also a couple interesting notes regarding receivers in this game. Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco had three receptions in the first half and has notched a catch in 108 consecutive games. Pittsburgh’s Hines Ward (three catches, 61 yards) also became the first Steelers player to eclipse 10,000 receiving yards in his career.