A lot less nasty but still all Steelers
PITTSBURGH — No chaos this time. No meltdowns either. The Steelers and Bengals stuck to football.
And Ben Roethlisberger's sharp second half gave the Steelers an early leg up in the race for the AFC North title by shaking off a pair of first-half interceptions to finish with 259 yards and three scores and Pittsburgh held on for a 24-16 win Sunday.
DeAngelo Williams churned out 94 yards on a career-high 32 carries and added a 4-yard touchdown grab and Roethlisberger found tight ends Xavier Grimble — the rookie's first NFL catch — and Jesse James for scoring passes as well.
The rematch of the Steelers' ugly 18-16 win in the wild-card round in January was downright tame by comparison. The teams combined for just 10 penalties and only one personal foul, a marked departure from that messy night in Cincinnati nine months ago that included more than 220 penalty yards and some nasty hits, including one that cost Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict the first three games of the 2016 season via suspension.
"I think they're all civil," Williams said with a laugh. "Sometimes you have civil disputes. We just didn't have any of those."
Roethlisberger shook off a so-so first half. One key for Pittsburgh was a defense that held Cincinnati to 4 of 16 on third downs. "We converted one or two, but not enough of them that mattered," Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said.