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Game Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.

Television: The game will air on CBS-TV. In the Bengals’ home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Ian Eagle (play-byplay), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Evan Washburn (sideline reporter).

Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

Tickets: Tickets may be purchased by calling the Bengals Ticket Hotline at (513) 621-8383, online at Bengals.com or by visiting the Paul Brown Stadium ticket office. The Bengals Ticket Hotline and ticket office hours are from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Tickets may be purchased 24/7 through Bengals.com. Fans can call the Bengals Ticket Hotline or chat with a ticket representative online if they have any questions.

For those who purchase individual game tickets on Bengals.com or the Official Bengals app will not be subject to additional processing fees when they choose mobile tickets as the delivery option.

Setting the scene: The 4-1 Cincinnati Bengals this week look to build on their strong start to the 2018 season and solidify their hold on first place in the AFC North Division. But to do so, they will have to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team which has proven to be a longtime nemesis for Cincinnati, and a team which, for many Bengals fans, is their most-loathed divisional rival.

There is no denying that Pittsburgh, which enters Sunday’s game at Paul Brown Stadium with a 2-2-1 record, has proven itself worthy of being the object of Cincinnati fans’ frustrations. Not only that, but the Steelers, who own a 62-35 all-time series lead over the Bengals, have been remarkably consistent in doing so over a span of more than 25 years. The Steelers are winners of six straight meetings, as well as nine of the last 10, and 14 of the last 17, and 19 of the last 24, and 29 of the last 39, and — going all the way back to 1991 — 42 of the last 56. At no point during that 27-season stretch from 1991-2017 have the Bengals won more than two consecutive meetings. The spell includes Steelers wins in the teams’ only two postseason battles, in 2005 and ’15, both home playoff games for the Bengals.

Of course, none of those past particulars will matter when the two teams meet this weekend, and history will play no role in the outcome of Sunday’s important matchup. What may matter, perhaps, is the fact that Cincinnati seemingly has the wind at its back after consecutive come-from-behind wins the past two weeks, in addition to the momentum of its 4-1 start.

Two weeks ago, the Bengals won a thrilling 37-36 road contest at Atlanta when QB Andy Dalton led a 16-play, 75 yard drive in the game’s final four minutes that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass to WR A.J. Green with seven seconds left. Last week at home, Cincinnati rallied from a 17-0 deficit, scoring 27 unanswered points, including 24 in the fourth quarter, for a 27-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.

The come-from-behind victory over the Dolphins was just the eighth time in Bengals history that the team rallied from a deficit of 17 or more points to win. It also was just the fourth time in team history that the Bengals scored 24 or more points in the fourth quarter of a game.

The Dolphins game was the third contest this season in which Dalton has led a game-winning drive. He led the Bengals on a nine-play, 67-yard march that resulted in a 20-yard field goal and a 20-17 lead with 3:30 left. It was his 23rd career game-winning drive, which is defined as a drive that results in an offensive score in the fourth quarter or overtime that is responsible for putting the team ahead to stay (PATs included). Dalton’s total of 23 sets a new franchise mark, surpassing the 22 logged by former Bengals QB Boomer Esiason (1984-92, ’97). Since 2011, the year the Bengals drafted him, Dalton has the second most game-winning drives in the league, trailing only Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who has 30 in the same eight-season span. With three game-winning drives in the Bengals’ first five games, Dalton needs three more in the final 11 contests to set a new team record for most in a season. The current record of five was set by former QB Jeff Blake in 1996, and then tied by former QB Carson Palmer in ’09.

Cincinnati had entered the Miami game ranked 29th in the NFL in net yards allowed per game (419.3) and 32nd in third-down efficiency (35 of 61; 57.4 percent), but the Bengals’ defense was stout overall against the Dolphins. Miami gained just 297 yards and converted only four of 13 third downs (30.8 percent). The Dolphins’ offense scored just 10 points — one of Miami’s TDs was a punt return — and never ran a play from scrimmage in the red zone.

The Bengals’ defense was especially strong on the defensive line, which harassed Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill repeatedly — particularly in the fourth quarter — and was responsible for 14 of the team’s 24 fourth-quarter points. DE Michael Johnson returned a Tannehill interception 22 yards for a touchdown with 11:43 left to tie the game 17-17. Then, after Dalton led the drive that put the Bengals ahead 20-17, DE Sam Hubbard recovered a Tannehill fumble and returned it 19 yards for a TD with 2:37 left to put the game out of reach for Miami. It was the first time in Bengals history that two Bengals defensive linemen scored a touchdown in the same game, and it was the first time that two defensive linemen scored in the same quarter of an NFL game since Dec. 10, 1989 when Keith Millard and Tim Newton each scored TDs for Minnesota.

Bengals DT Geno Atkins recorded two sacks against the Dolphins, and DE Carlos Dunlap added another. Atkins enters the Steelers game tied for the NFL lead in sacks with six, while Dunlap enters the contest tied for 11th with four. Also against the Dolphins last week, WR A.J. Green had his first game of the 2018 season with 100 or more yards receiving, with 112 on six catches. It was his 32nd career game with 100 or more yards receiving, setting a new mark for most in team history. The previous mark of 31 had been established by former WR Chad Johnson (2001-10).

Green enters the Steelers game with 26 receptions for 409 yards and five touchdowns, while WR Tyler Boyd enters the contest with 30 catches for 393 yards and two TDs. The pair currently are on pace this season to record receiving yardage totals of 1309 and 1258, respectively. If they both record 1000 or more yards receiving this season, it would be just the third time in team history that two receivers have done so in the same season. The other two instances were recorded by Johnson and former WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who did it together twice, in 2006 and ’07 (in ’06, Johnson had 1369 and Houshmandzadeh had 1081; in ’07, Johnson had 1440 and Houshmandzadeh had 1143).

The series: The Steelers lead 62-35 overall and 30-19 as the visiting team. The series includes two postseason games, both Steelers wins in Wild Card round contests at Paul Brown Stadium, after the 2005 and ’15 seasons. The Bengals have played more games against the Steelers (97) than any other foe. Cleveland is second in that category at 89, and Tennessee (formerly Houston Oilers) is third at 75.

Bengals-Steelers connections: Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis grew up in McDonald, Pa., near Pittsburgh. Lewis’ first NFL coaching job was with the Steelers as LBs coach from 1992-95 under head coach Bill Cowher. He also coached at the University of Pittsburgh from 1990-91 ... Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was defensive backs coach for the University of Cincinnati from 1999-2000 ... Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is from Findlay, Ohio (Findlay High School), and played at Miami (Ohio) University ... Bengals WR Tyler Boyd is from Clairton, Pa. (Clairton High School) and played at the University of Pittsburgh ... Steelers DT Cameron Heyward and LB Ryan Shazier (Reserve/PUP) played at Ohio State University ... Steelers LB L.J. Fort spent time on the Bengals practice squad in 2014 ...Bengals K Randy Bullock was with the Steelers in 2016 ... Steelers LBs Bud Dupree and Farrington Huguenin (practice squad) played at the University of Kentucky ... Steelers P Jordan Berry played at Eastern Kentucky University ... Steelers FB Roosevelt Nix is from Reynoldsburg, Ohio (Reynoldsburg High School) ... Bengals quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt is from Pittsburgh and played for the Steelers from 1989-92 ...Bengals linebackers coach Jim Haslett is from Pittsburgh, played at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and coached for the Steelers from 1997-99 ...Bengals tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes grew up in South Fayette, Pa. and played TE for the Steelers from 1994-96 ... Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is from Sharon, Pa., played at the University of Pittsburgh and coached at Penn State University ... Bengals defensive assistant/assistant defensive line coach Matt Raich is from Monaca, Pa., played (1989-92) and coached (1993-94) at Westminster College, and coached at Robert Morris University (1996-98, 2000-02), Glenville State College (1999) and Duquesne University (2013). Raich was also on the Steelers’ coaching staff from 2003-06. ... Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is from Scranton, Pa. ... Bengals CB C.J. Goodwin (practice squad) entered the NFL as a college free agent signee of Pittsburgh in 2014, and was with the team through ’15 preseason. Goodwin is also from Wheeling, W.Va., and played at California (Pa.) University ... Bengals QB Christian Hackenberg (practice squad) and LB Brandon Bell (practice squad) played at Penn State University ... Steelers LB Keith Kelsey (Reserve/Injured) and WR Eli Rogers (Active/PUP) played at the University of Louisville ... Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton coached at Penn State from 1987-91 ... Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake is from Louisville, Ky.

Bengals’ O excels in red zone: The Bengals’ offense this season has scored TDs on 12 of its 17 trips to the red zone, good for an 88.2 percent rate (fifth in the NFL). Entering Game 5 vs. Miami, the Bengals led the NFL in red-zone TD percentage this season and had come away with points on an NFL-best 34 consecutive trips to the red zone (25 TDs, nine FGs) dating back to Game 9 of last season. But an INT on their first red-zone trip vs. Miami ended the streak, which was the longest by a Bengals team since 2005-06 (40 straight).

A comeback for the record book: Cincinnati erased a 17-point deficit last week vs. Miami by scoring 27 unanswered points in the second half, including 24 in the fourth quarter, in a thrilling 27-17 come-from-behind victory. It was just the eighth time in Bengals history that the team rallied from a deficit of 17 or more points to win.

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