Bengals 38

(9-3, 5-1 away)

Steelers 31

(7-5, 3-3 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 4, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
CIN 7 14 10 738
PIT 14 3 7 731

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 386 YDS, 3 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: R. Johnson (CIN) - 21 CAR, 98 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: H. Ward (PIT) - 9 REC, 135 YDS, 2 TD

Cincinnati (8-3) at Pittsburgh (7-4)

Cincinnati (8-3) at Pittsburgh (7-4) Sunday 1:00 pm EST

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The Cincinnati Bengals may be in first place in the AFC North, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still are the team to beat in the division.

Perennial laughingstocks, the Bengals could take a major step toward winning their first division title in 17 years Sunday when they meet the Steelers for a second time this season.

Cincinnati, which has not won a division crown since capturing the AFC Central in 1988, enters the contest with a one-game lead over Pittsburgh.

However, the Bengals still have plenty to prove against the Steelers. They have lost nine of the last 11 meetings between the teams, including a 27-13 home drubbing on October 23.

While the Steelers failed to get much going through the air, they pounded the Bengals on the ground, rushing for 221 yards. Willie Parker led the way, rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown.

With the running game leading the way, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger completed 9-of-14 passes for just 93 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.

Roethlisberger hit rookie tight end Heath Miller with a two-yard touchdown early in the second quarter and connected with Hines Ward on a three-yard scoring play in the third quarter, giving the Steelers a 24-6 lead.

The Steelers also frustrated Carson Palmer, who completed 21-of-36 passes for 227 yards. But Palmer threw two interceptions in a 3 1/2 minute span of the third quarter when the Steelers took control of the game.

Cincinnati has rebounded to win three of its last four games since the loss to the Steelers, including last week's 42-29 victory over Baltimore. Palmer completed 22-of-30 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.

The Steelers enter the contest looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak since a five-game slide in 2003.

After missing three games following arthroscopic right knee surgery, Roethlisberger returned in last Monday's 26-7 loss at Indianapolis. He completed 17-of-26 passes for 133 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions in falling to 18-2 in his career as a starter during the regular season.

Matchup to watch: Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who had seven catches for 75 yards in the first meeting, against left cornerback Ike Taylor, who was beaten for an 80-yard touchdown by Marvin Harrison last Monday.

Series: The Steelers lead, 42-28.

Next week: Cincinnati hosts Cleveland, December 11 Pittsburgh hosts Chicago, December 11

Passing Leaders

J. Burrow66.82309156
J. Browning65.929521
K. Pickett61.8200064
M. Trubisky56.315612

Rushing Leaders

J. Mixon1616213.94
J. Burrow31882.80
N. Harris1435984.24
J. Warren935425.83

Receiving Leaders

J. Chase7591412.26
T. Boyd504629.22
G. Pickens4066216.63
D. Johnson3038512.81

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

Total YardsCIN
Yards PassingCIN
Yards RushingCIN
Yards AllowedCIN
Pass Yds AllowedCIN
Rush Yds AllowedCIN

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

Pittsburgh leads 8-3
Oct 23, 2005CIN 13, PIT 27
Nov 21, 2004CIN 14, PIT 19
Oct 3, 2004CIN 17, @PIT 28
Nov 30, 2003CIN 24, @PIT 20
Sep 21, 2003CIN 10, PIT 17
Nov 24, 2002CIN 21, @PIT 29
Oct 13, 2002CIN 7, PIT 34
Dec 30, 2001CIN 26, PIT 23
Oct 7, 2001CIN 7, @PIT 16