Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stumbles and Fumbles Bengals Hand Steelers Second Loss in Row to Open Season as a Lack of Turnovers Haunts Defense Again Bengals 20, Steelers 10

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stumbles and Fumbles Bengals Hand Steelers Second Loss in Row to Open Season as a Lack of Turnovers Haunts Defense Again Bengals 20, Steelers 10

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI -- The Steelers have tripped over the opening of their season like nothing they have done in more than a decade, since the last days of Kordell Stewart as their starting quarterback.

Cincinnati's rare 20-10 victory over their listless AFC North rivals Monday night dropped the Steelers to 0-2 for the first time under coach Mike Tomlin or Ben Roethlisberger and a tie for last place with Cleveland in the division. The previous time they opened with consecutive losses was in 2002. It also was only the second time the Bengals (1-1) have beaten the Steelers at home in the past 13 games between the teams.

"We are a frustrated group right now," Tomlin said. "We got work to do. There's a certain amount of misery that comes with the position we're in. We're aware of it."

Again, the toothless Steelers defense produced no turnovers, continuing a trend that began in 2011 and continued when they came up with zero in their opener. They also did not have a sack Monday and have just one in two games.

That wasn't the case for the Bengals.

They produced two key turnovers and sacked Roethlisberger twice. The franchise that long prided itself on running the ball well and stopping the run did neither again. The Steelers had 44 yards rushing while the Bengals finished with 127.

"If we don't shore some things up, if we don't play better than we played tonight, we won't win a game," said defensive co-captain and safety Ryan Clark.

Cincinnati sealed the deal Monday when, on third-and-2 at the Bengals 27, Roethlisberger threw high to Jerricho Cotchery. The receiver got enough of a hand on the ball to tip it into the air, but safety Reggie Nelson came down with the interception with 4:55 left. It's the kind of play the Steelers have not been able to make on defense.

"It doesn't look like Steeler football out there," said Isaac Redman, who had 4 yards on three carries.

The other Steelers turnover came in the first quarter after David Paulson caught a 34-yard pass to the Bengals 16, but then fumbled it away.

Roethlisberger completed 20 of 37 passes for 251 yards with that one interception and a 1-yard touchdown pass to Derek Moye. Felix Jones led the Steelers with 37 yards rushing on 10 carries. Their running game went nowhere for the second game in a row with 44 yards on 16 tries.

"We have to figure out what's working for us now -- pretty much nothing," said Redman, who missed the first quarter after being hit in the head on the opening kickoff. "We have to figure this out. It's embarrassing, it really is. It gets frustrating."

Despite all their problems, the Steelers were tied, 10-10, at halftime. But then, the Bengals scored a touchdown in the third quarter and used a time-consuming, field-goal drive in the fourth for a 20-10 lead with 7:51 to go.

"We need to get this show on the road," Redman said. …

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