PITTSBURGH - The Bengals did what the Steelers always do to them Sunday when quarterback Joe Burrow went into Heinz Field and claimed his first NFL road victory by firing three touchdown passes when his defense gave him the chance in a 24-10 win.
Burrow's electric 34-yard touchdown pass with 27 seconds left in the first half to rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and cool-headed management that yielded just one turnover and no sacks to the ravenous Steelers defense gave the Bengals their first victory at Heinz in six years.
It ended Pittsburgh's NFL record streak of 75 straight games with a sack.
In a semi-battle of Ohio, Athens' Burrow, with a 122.9 passer rating, outpitched Findlay's Ben Roethlisberger (318 yards) while running back Joe Mixon went for 90 yards on five per, Chase added another touchdown and linebacker Logan Wilson had two more interceptions for a defense that chalked up four sacks.
The Bengals came out running on the first possession of the second half with Mixon gouging out 29 yards and he had actually ripped off nine more to the Steelers 11 when center Trey Hopkins was called for a hold. That killed the drive and rookie Evan McPherson hit a 43-yarder to give them that double digit lead they covet after the first drive of the second half.
And then Wilson shortly allowed them a chance to pad it when he became the first Bengals linebacker in seven years to get two interceptions in a game. This one came when Roethlisberger moved in the pocket and went underneath. But Wilson undercut it underneath and the Bengals had the ball at the Steelers 19.
Burrow engineered a quarterback draw out of empty for eight yards and a first down at the 9, complete with a ball drop signaling a first down at the black and gold throng in the end zone.
Then on the next snap Burrow had enough time to bounce on his toes in the pocket and find Chase running away from coverage for the touchdown that gave them a 24-7 lead with 6:18 left in the third quarter.
The Bengals defense went down to its backup cornerbacks in the third quarter when they lost Chidobe Awuzie with a groin injury and he was replaced by Darius Phillips. Faced with a third-and-11 standing in his own end zone and down 17, Ben shot a first down pass to wide receiver Chase Claypool with Phillips hanging on him.
At that point, third-down conversions were keeping the Steelers in the game. At the end of the third quarter the Steelers had 189 yards, the Bengals 250, but Pittsburgh had converted five of 12 third downs and went on to hit on nine of 19 for the game.
Roethlisberger went to work on the Bengals backups and basically kept pumping the ball as quickly as he could to a perimeter that didn't have starting wide Diontae Johnson. The end-zone play launched another massive Pittsburgh scoring drive, this one for 18 plays in just over nine minutes in which they converted three more third downs, one coming on a pass interference call on cornerback Eli Apple.
But the Bengals forced a chip-shot field goal with 8:09 left and they still had a 14-point lead. Apple, Phillips and company rendered that 9:03 drive virtually useless by holding them to three.
The Bengals had just watched the Steelers score in the final two minutes of the first half for the 25th time in the last 30 games against them (courtesy of The Athletic's Jay Morrison) when Burrow worked some of his own two-minute magic and unloaded that 34-yard touchdown pass to Chase with 27 seconds left. With Bengals killer Cam Heyward in his face and Chase streaking down the left sideline past transfixed cornerback James Pierre, Burrow drilled a long one that Chase ran down to give the Bengals the 14-7 lead.
The Bengals also had to thank Steelers linebacker Melvin Ingram's roughing the passer penalty and Burrow's 19-yard throw over the middle to Mike Thomas, playing for the injured Tee Higgins.
That made Burrow seven of nine for 111 yards in another bounce back from an interception earlier in a 0-0 game.
When Mixon ripped off a 27-yard run in the first five minutes of the second quarter, that was longer than the 25 yards of total offense the Steelers had at that point. Mixon, who finished the half with 44 yards on seven carries, got the Bengals' longest run of the season when he took a handoff on the right side from Burrow spinning out from under center and he cut it back over the middle.
The Bengals defense pitched well particularly early. They didn't give up a first down until 1:29 left in the first quarter and that was on a controversial third-and-long pass interference call on Awuzie covering James Washington on a ball he had no chance to catch.
But Roethlisberger steadied them for a vintage crushing 15-play drive that not only took the guts out of the second quarter (8:32), but tied the game.
The Bengals made a huge mistake on third-and-five from their 20 with a 1:09 left in the half when Ben merely had to flip a screen to the wide open rookie running back Najee Harris for 18 yards and one of the three third-down conversions in the drive. Ben got the score when he muscled a flip through traffic for a four-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth.
But that's all they did in the half. Ben averaged 4.4 yards per throw for 92 yards and Harris had just 36 yards on 11 carries, one of them a 20-yarder. Harris did get a 100-yard game against Cincinnati (102), but it was through the air. The Steelers had to convert him into a receiver after the Bengals held him to 40 rushing yards in the game, the third straight game they held the opposing running back to 61 yards or less.
The Steelers didn't wait long to get their first interception of the season. On second-and-four from his 40, Burrow had time but threw a high ball over the middle to slot receiver Tyler Boyd in a crowd of receivers. It was tipped and landed in the hands of safety Terrell Edmunds for a 15-yard return to midfield.
But after yet another Steelers penalty (their fourth on the first two series and this one on a false start ) to make it third-and-forever, edge Sam Hubbard and Wilson came and Hubbard hit Ben and the ball went flying and Wilson made a juggling one-handed grab for his second interception of the season at the Steelers 42.
Check out some of the best photos from the Bengals matchup in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Just like he did in Chicago, Burrow bounced back with a touchdown pass following the pick. But not before he composed himself long enough to throw a 15-yard seed to Chase on third-and-eight cutting across the middle to the sideline. Then on third-and-two he stepped up and hit Boyd working the middle of the field and when Ingram tried to make him pay for the first down, Boyd bounced off the hit and kept steaming into the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown that gave them lead at 7-0 with 2:54 left in the first quarter.
Boyd, one of the greatest scholastic and collegiate players in Pittsburgh history, celebrated the first touchdown in his native land with a yards-after-catch play worthy of the legacy.