Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

CIN
3
PIT
27
FINAL
1234T
CIN 30003
PIT 01014327

Game Information
Location: Heinz Field Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 57,959

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers insisted they might have been winless through three weeks, but they were far from hopeless. They stressed the process of finding an identity with franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out for the season with an elbow injury would take time and a collective effort from all involved.

An effort that looked an awful lot like what they put together during a 27-3 pounding of Cincinnati on Monday night.

Mason Rudolph threw for 229 yards and two scores. Running back, part-time wide receiver and occasional wildcat quarterback Jaylen Samuels accounted for 134 yards of total offense and a 2-yard touchdown run. James Conner emerged from an early funk to run for 42 yards and catch eight passes for 83 yards and a score. The defense sacked Andy Dalton eight times and held the Bengals scoreless over the final 51 minutes.

It wasn't perfect. But it was a start. One that helped the Steelers (1-3) avoid their second 0-4 start in 51 years and reaffirmed their belief that they can find a way forward without Roethlisberger.

"It's huge," Samuels said. "Coming in 0-3 and coming back, getting a divisional game, that's huge. We've just got to build off this game."

With Pittsburgh's running game going nowhere through three weeks, running backs coach Eddie Faulkner suggested to offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner that it might be time to dust off the wildcat. Samuels ran it frequently during his college career at N.C. State, and the Bengals (0-4) certainly looked caught off guard when Samuels lined up in the shotgun and started distributing the ball like a point guard. Sometimes he'd hand it off to Conner. Others he'd "throw" a "pop" pass to a teammate running in motion in front of him. Still others he opted to keep it himself, including on his third-quarter touchdown in which he strolled into the end zone after the Bengals bit on a fake handoff.

"We knew if we could get a lot of guys going sideways, it was going to mess them up a little bit so that's what we did," Samuels said. "It was working. ... We were picking up five, six yards every play. They couldn't stop it."

Samuels ran for 26 yards on 10 carries, caught eight passes for 57 more and was credited with three completions for 31 yards. Conner had 14 touches for 125 yards in all, including a 21-yard sprint through the Cincinnati defense in the second quarter that gave the Steelers a lead they never came close to squandering while beating the Bengals for the ninth straight time.

WOE AND 4

Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor became the second first-year coach to drop his first four games with the Bengals. Sam Wyche started 0-5 in 1984 but helped his team rebound to an 8-8 finish. Taylor's task of getting Cincinnati back to respectability will be far harder if he can't figure out a way to protect Dalton.

"To be quite honest, it starts with me," Taylor said. "I've got to make sure the standard is higher than what it is right now, because I haven't done a good enough job."

The eight sacks Dalton endured were a career-high for the nine-year veteran, who also threw an end zone interception in the fourth quarter and was strip-sacked by Pittsburgh's outside linebacker Bud Dupree in the second quarter. T.J. Watt fell on the ball and the Steelers were off and running. Dalton finished 21 of 37 for 171 yards, stressing he felt "fine" physically and that he's not panicking.

"Everybody is going to stick together," Dalton said. "We have from the beginning, regardless of the circumstances of these games, we've stuck together. And so I don't expect that to change."

Tyler Boyd, elevated to the No. 1 receiver while A.J. Green recovers from ankle surgery, was held to three receptions for 33 yards on the same field where he starred in college at Pitt.

"Personally I hate being embarrassed," Boyd said. "At the end of the day, I can take the losing. But when you go out there and get embarrassed, Monday night, prime time . I got too much pride to go out there and showcase what we showcased. It was just awful overall."

RUDOLPH ROLLS

Rudolph was uneven at best in his first career start last week in San Francisco after being thrust into the gig for the rest of the season while Roethlisberger rehabs from elbow surgery. Rudolph was considerably sharper against Cincinnati, though he wasn't asked to do much other than find the closest open man -usually Conner or Samuels - and keep the sticks moving. He completed 24 of 28 passes, the only deep shot a 43-yard strike to Diontae Johnson in the third quarter that broke it open.

"Our message all week was stack one (win) and then start stacking more," said Rudolph, who was awarded the game ball by head coach Mike Tomlin.

INJURIES

Bengals: WR John Ross III left in the third quarter with a right-shoulder injury. ... LT Cordy Glenn missed his fourth straight game while recovering from a concussion and Cincinnati's protection problems continued. The Bengals have now surrendered 19 sacks through four games.

Steelers: TE Vance McDonald sat out with a right shoulder injury. Nick Vannett, acquired in a trade with Seattle last week, started and caught two passes for 28 yards.

UP NEXT

Bengals: Host Arizona next Sunday. The Cardinals won the last meeting, 34-31, in 2015.

Steelers: Welcome AFC North rival Baltimore to Pittsburgh on Sunday. The teams split the season series last year, both winning at home.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Bengals Steelers
08:22 Randy Bullock 28 yd FG 3 0

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Bengals Steelers
10:32 James Conner 21 yd pass from Mason Rudolph (Chris Boswell kick) 3 7
00:58 Chris Boswell 29 yd FG 3 10

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Bengals Steelers
10:36 Jaylen Samuels 2 yd run (Chris Boswell kick) 3 17
09:24 Diontae Johnson 43 yd pass from Mason Rudolph (Chris Boswell kick) 3 24

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Bengals Steelers
05:51 Chris Boswell 49 yd FG 3 27

Team Stats
  Cincinnati Pittsburgh
1st Downs 16 20
Total Yards 175 326
Passing 102 260
Passing Completions/Attempts 21-37 27-31
Yards/Pass 2.3 8.4
Rushing 73 66
Rushing Attempts 19 25
Yards/Rush 3.8 2.6
Turnovers 2 1
Fumbles Lost 1 1
Interceptions Thrown 1 0
Possession 30:14 29:46

Cincinnati Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Andy Dalton 21 37 171 4.6 0 1

Pittsburgh Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Mason Rudolph 24 28 229 8.2 2 0
Jaylen Samuels 3 3 31 10.3 0 0

Cincinnati Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Joe Mixon 15 62 4.1 0 15
Andy Dalton 3 8 2.7 0 4
Giovani Bernard 1 3 3.0 0 3

Pittsburgh Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
James Conner 10 42 4.2 0 21
Jaylen Samuels 10 26 2.6 1 13
Benny Snell Jr. 2 1 0.5 0 1
Mason Rudolph 3 -3 -1.0 0 -1

Cincinnati Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Auden Tate 4 50 12.5 0 23
John Ross III 3 36 12.0 0 14
Tyler Boyd 3 33 11.0 0 15
Tyler Eifert 2 27 13.5 0 14
Giovani Bernard 4 16 4.0 0 11
Damion Willis 1 8 8.0 0 8
Joe Mixon 4 1 0.2 0 3
C.J. Uzomah 0 0 0.0 0

Pittsburgh Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
James Conner 8 83 10.4 1 21
Diontae Johnson 6 77 12.8 1 43
Jaylen Samuels 8 57 7.1 0 14
Nick Vannett 2 28 14.0 0 17
JuJu Smith-Schuster 3 15 5.0 0 9
Benny Snell Jr. 0 0 0.0 0
James Washington 0 0 0.0 0

Cincinnati Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Nick Vigil 8 3 0 0
Preston Brown 5 2 0 0
Dre Kirkpatrick 5 1 0 0
Shawn Williams 5 4 0 0
Jessie Bates III 4 2 0 0
Brandon Wilson 3 0 0 0
Andrew Billings 2 1 0 0
Sam Hubbard 2 3 0 0
B.W. Webb 2 0 0 0
Germaine Pratt 1 1 0 0
LaRoy Reynolds 1 1 0 0
Josh Tupou 1 0 0 0
Renell Wren 1 0 0 0
Geno Atkins 0 2 0 0
William Jackson III 0 2 0 0
Andre Smith 0 0 0 0
C.J. Uzomah 0 0 0 0

Pittsburgh Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Mark Barron 8 3 0 0
Devin Bush 6 3 1 9
Bud Dupree 5 1 1 11
Cameron Heyward 4 2 2.5 23
Mike Hilton 4 1 0 0
Joe Haden 3 0 0 0
Javon Hargrave 2 1 1 9
Minkah Fitzpatrick 2 2 0 0
Steve Nelson 2 1 0 0
T.J. Watt 1 1 1.5 9
Tyson Alualu 1 0 1 8
Terrell Edmunds 1 3 0 0
Jayrone Elliott 1 0 0 0
Cameron Sutton 1 1 0 0
Stephon Tuitt 1 0 0 0
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi 0 1 0 0
Jordan Dangerfield 0 0 0 0
Ulysees Gilbert III 0 0 0 0
Maurkice Pouncey 0 0 0 0

Cincinnati Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

Pittsburgh Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Mark Barron 1 0 0

Cincinnati Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Alex Erickson 2 44 22.0 0 25

Pittsburgh Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
No kick return stats.

Cincinnati Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
No punt return stats.

Pittsburgh Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
No punt return stats.

Cincinnati Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Randy Bullock 1 1 100.0 28

Pittsburgh Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Chris Boswell 2 2 100.0 49

Cincinnati Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Kevin Huber 5 205 59

Pittsburgh Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Jordan Berry 2 99 62