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Steelers top Bengals to tighten up AFC North race

CINCINNATI - With big plays all around, Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell turned the AFC North back into a wide-open race.

CINCINNATI - With big plays all around, Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell turned the AFC North back into a wide-open race.

Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes, including a 94-yarder to rookie Martavis Bryant in the fourth quarter, and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 42-21, on Sunday, leaving the division title up for grabs.

In a game they had to win to maintain their title chances, the Steelers (8-5) ran away with 25 points in the fourth quarter. It was Pittsburgh's most lopsided win at Paul Brown Stadium since a 38-10 win in 2008.

By the end, the only ones left in the stadium were the thousands of Steelers fans twirling their towels.

For Cincinnati (8-4-1), it was a second straight lopsided loss at home loss to a division rival. The Bengals fell to Cleveland, 24-3, before going on the road and winning three straight to take control of the division.

Now, it's a four-way tussle for the top. The Bengals play at Cleveland next Sunday and finish the season in Pittsburgh, which showed championship form when it mattered on Sunday.

Bell had another big all-around game, running for 185 yards, catching six passes for 50 yards, and scoring three touchdowns during the second half.

And Roethlisberger emerged from a three-game funk by making big plays as well, including the longest touchdown pass in the NFL this season. He finished 25 of 39 for 350 yards.

Andy Dalton and A.J. Green combined on an impressive pass-and-catch performance for Cincinnati. The receiver had 11 catches for a career-high 224 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown on the final play of the third quarter that put the Bengals ahead by 21-17.

Dalton hardly missed as he helped the Bengals get the early lead, completing all but three of his passes in the first half.

Steelers 41, Bengals 21

Pittsburgh 0 10 7 25 – 42

Cincinnati 0 14 7 0 – 21

Second quarter

Pit–Miller 1 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick), 11:17.

Cin–Gresham 10 pass from Dalton (Nugent kick), 9:06.

Cin–Dalton 20 run (Nugent kick), 2:57.

Pit–FG Suisham 22, :11.

Third quarter

Pit–Bell 10 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick), 5:24.

Cin–Green 81 pass from Dalton (Nugent kick), :00.

Fourth quarter

Pit–FG Suisham 44, 13:32.

Pit–Bell 13 run (Miller pass from Roethlisberger), 11:27.

Pit–Bryant 94 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick), 8:31.

Pit–Bell 22 run (Suisham kick), 5:09.

A: 65,512.

Pit   Cin

First downs 25   16

Total Net Yards 543   408

Rushes-yards 31-193   21-86

Passing 350   322

Punt Returns 3-14   4-45

Kickoff Returns 1-19   4-91

Interceptions Ret. 0-0   0-0

Comp-Att-Int 25-39-0   25-35-0

Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0   3-5

Punts 6-47.5   7-46.0

Fumbles-Lost 0-0   3-2

Penalties-Yards 3-20   7-54

Time of Possession 32:45   27:15


Rushing: Pittsburgh, Bell 26-185, Harris 4-9, Roethlisberger 1-(minus 1). Cincinnati, Hill 8-46, Dalton 4-22, Bernard 6-17, Campbell 1-1, Peerman 1-0, Sanu 1-0.

Passing: Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger 25-39-0-350. Cincinnati, Dalton 21-29-0-302, Campbell 4-6-0-25.

Receiving: Pittsburgh, A.Brown 9-117, Bell 6-50, Bryant 4-109, Wheaton 2-31, Spaeth 2-13, Moore 1-29, Miller 1-1. Cincinnati, Green 11-224, Gresham 3-23, Hill 3-21, Bernard 3-19, Brock 2-18, Sanu 2-16, Little 1-6.

Missed Field Goals: None.