Cincinnati, OH – Rookie Giovani Bernard scored two touchdowns and the Cincinnati Bengals shut down the Pittsburgh Steelers to secure a 20-10 victory in a typically defensive-minded AFC North clash.
Bernard ran for an early score and caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton in the third quarter that gave the Bengals a lead they never relinquished.
"He did the things that we expect him to continue to do. He had the great catch-and-run. He had a big run earlier. And then (BenJarvus Green-Ellis) comes back and finishes it off. So it was a good job today by the two of them," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis.
Dalton was busy most of the night, throwing 45 passes and completing 25 for 280 yards as Cincinnati rebounded from a season-opening loss in Chicago.
The difference, though, was the Bengals defense, which forced two turnovers and limited Pittsburgh to a mere 278 yards and 14 first downs in the club's second home victory over its division rival in the past 12 years.
Ben Roethlisberger, hurried throughout the game, threw for 251 yards with a touchdown and an interception on 20-of-37 passes for the Steelers, who dropped their first two games of the season for the first time since 2002.
It's also the first time Pittsburgh has been two games under .500 since Mike Tomlin took over in 2007.
"They were the better team tonight," Tomlin said. "We'll continue to work and move forward."
The Bengals broke a 10-10 tie with an 8-play, 78-yard drive that ended with Bernard slipping through the line uncovered, taking a short pass and going in untouched for a go-ahead score with 6:08 remaining in the third quarter.
After forcing a third straight three-and-out, Cincinnati made it a two- possession game with a time-consuming 14-play march that chewed up nearly seven minutes on the clock.
Mike Nugent split the uprights from 25 yards out with 7:51 remaining, and Reggie Nelson's diving interception deep in Bengals territory with five minutes to play all but sealed a tough division win for the Bengals.
The Steelers moved deep into the enemy territory twice in the first quarter and only came away with three points.
Antonio Brown's 40-yard punt return gave Pittsburgh good field position, but the Steelers settled for a 44-yard Shaun Suisham field goal less than five minutes into the game.
Another promising drive was thwarted when second-year tight end David Paulson was tackled from behind by Adam Jones and lost the ball as he was going to the ground. Paulson was originally ruled down by contact, but Marvin Lewis challenged the call and the Bengals were awarded the ball since Jones clearly recovered it at the 13-yard line.
A pair of rookies helped Cincinnati quickly capitalize on the turnover. Tyler Eifert, a first-round pick out of Notre Dame, found a seem up the middle and hauled in a 61-yard strike from Dalton, the Bengals' second-round pick, Bernard, powered over the goal line from seven yards out two plays later.
Nugent made it 10-3 with a 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but the Bengals answered just after the two-minute warning when Roethlisberger connected with Derek Moye in the right corner of the end zone. Emmanuel Sanders' 43-yard catch-and-run down to the 1-yard line preceded the tying TD.
James Harrison, who played 10 years in Pittsburgh before getting cut in the offseason, did not record a tackle against his former club ... Pittsburgh had 44 rushing yards after amassing 32 on the ground in Week 1 ... Cincinnati's BenJarvus Green- Ellis had a team-high 75 rushing yards on 22 carries ... A.J. Green was limited to six catches and 41 yards for Cincinnati ... Sanders logged 78 yards on five receptions ... Roethlisberger fell to 16-3 in his home state of Ohio ... Tomlin was 7-1 as a head coach in Monday night games.