Steelers win fifth straight, but have bruises from Bengals to show for it

Pure survival.

That the Pittsburgh Steelers could look this sloppy at times Sunday and still beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-20 in Paul Brown Stadium displayed serious resolve, which is the only way to combat 104 penalty yards, missed opportunities and the Bengals’ fierce tackling.
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Pittsburgh will enter its Christmas Day clash against the Baltimore Ravens fortunate that its big three — QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown — remained healthy and intact in Cincinnati. This game was that physical, and it will be felt all week: December football turned cage match, with Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict taking center stage.

Replays showed that Eli Manning’s pass bounced off Beckham’s left hand and fell to the ground. The ball then rolled between Beckham’s legs before he reached back and “secured” the ball. Back judge Todd Prukop appeared to have a clear view of the drop, but referee Tony Corrente’s crew ruled it a catch to set up a second down on what became a touchdown drive for the Giants.

Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell did not challenge the call, probably because of the minimal payoff. His defense would face either second-and-6 or second-and-10.(Update: After the game, Caldwell said: “That’s four yards. You’re not going to challenge that play. It was late when we saw it, but we weren’t going to challenge it anyway in that situation.”)

Limited Kids Rashad Vaughn Jersey Still, the screenshot of the ball between Beckham’s legs will live on as one of several bad looks the NFL has had this season.

My personal favorite remains Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr. holding a fumble recovery over his head while officials on referee Jeff Triplette’s crew appeared still to be looking for the ball under the pile. Some might favor Triplette’s gaffe last week — he called a penalty on the wrong team — but to each his or her own.

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