PITTSBURGH - The Bengals not only went 7-0 for the first time ever Sunday with the 16-10 victory over the Steelers at Heinz Field, they also tied the club's longest in-season winning streak, matching the seven straight the 1970 Bengals won to finish the season at 8-6 and make the playoffs for the first time. A win Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium (8:25 p.m.-NFL Network) against the Browns can tie the regular-season record of eight straight. After losing their first play-off game, the Bengals won the 1971 opener. . .
The Bengals showcased what they've showcased all year.
In a gritty display of resiliency, quarterback Andy Dalton staged the 12th fourth-quarter comeback of his career and second on the road in the AFC North this season when his nine-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver A.,J. Green gave them their first lead of the day at 13-10 with 2:57 left."That's why you play four quarters," Dalton said. "We've said that a lot this year . . . I knew we would eventually score a touchdown . . . The defense played great. It was a great team win."
Cincinnati Bengals travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 8 of the regular season
Dalton, the NFL's leading fourth-quarter passer, was three of four in that 45-yard winning drive for 40 yards.
Vontaze Burfict had the awe of his teammates after playing about 30 snaps despite just one practice in the past year following micro fracture knee surgery.
"I told him that was bleeping unbelievable to go out there and play like that with just one practice," said cornerback Adam Jones.
"The Steelers are our rival," Burfict said. "Once your competitive nature gets into it and you're playing the Steelers, you don't want to come out too much."
The Bengals didn't want to play Burfict much more than 10-15 snaps in just the base defense. But things changed when middle linebacker Rey Maualuga went out on the first drive with a calf injury.
"That changed a lot. Vinny (Rey) had to play the whole game," Burifct said. "That's probably why I played more than expected. I just had to push through, dig down deep and finish. It was a long game. Way different than rehab."
Burfict had five tackles, including one on the first play of the game. He also tackled Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell in the second quarter that knocked him out of the game a clean hit that made his knee buckle.
"I hope he's OK," Burfict said. ..
Left end Carlos Dunlap also flashed Tez-like tenacity. He hurt his shoulder late, but came back for the last drive of the game and made Roethlisberger step up in the pocket and hurry his throw on the last play from the Bengals 16. Roethlisberger was trying to hit wide receiver Antonio Brown in a zone between Adam Jones and safety Reggie Nelson, but the pressurer made him throw it out of the back of the end zone. Brown caught it, but three feet out.
"It's the Pittsburgh Steelers .. . Last drive. Need a rush," Dunlap said. . .
Green had the last word Sunday with Steelers safety Mike Mitchell, the man involved in last year's play when Green got a concussion fumbling the Bengals' last best chance with four minutes left in the 27-17 loss in the AFC North title game.
Green said after Mitchell gave wide reciver Marvin Jones a mid-air shot in the first half, Mitchell got flagged for taunting Green when he said, 'you're next.'
"That woke me up," Green said. "Thank you."
Green said he didn't respond and when he caught the TD he said he didn't have flashback to last year."
"Some guys have to talk," Green said. "I just play." . . .
Green woke up for 11 catches and 118 yards. It was the complete opposite of last season, when fourth-quarter fumbles by Dalton and Green led to the two losses against the Steelers. On this day, their two leaders stepped up in crunch time . . .
Green is on pace for a career-high 103 catches. It's his fourth straight game of at least eight catches against the Steelers . . .
What is it with Nelson and Roethlisberger? Nelson has five interceptions of Big Ben since 2012.
"I don't know, you'll have to ask him," Nelson said. "You can't take anything away from Big Ben. He's a great quarterback."
And three of them have been fourth-quarter killers. On Sunday he was behind wide receiver Antonio Brown to collect a Ben overthrow for his second pick of the day with 2:44 left on the first snap after the Bengals went up 13-10. It set up Mike Nugent's huge 44-yard field goal with 1:47 left to force the Steelers to score a touchdown.
"Adam Jones got a great press on him at the line of scrimmage," Nelson said. "That slowed him up."
Nelson also played center-fielder on his first pick early in the third quarter, another bomb inten ded for Brown.
"You have to take away their big plays. That's what we were worried about," Nelson said.
Before Roethlisberger got hurt, he led the NFL in the first three weeks of this season in passes of at least 25 yards. He had only one Sunday and it was to tight end Heath Miller of 25 exactly. Brown, his go-to-guy, had a longest of 21.
In 2012, Nelson's pick of Roethlisberger with 14 seconds left at Heinz set up the winning field goal six seconds later to put the Bengals in the playoffs. With the score 20-10 at Paul Brown Stadium the next season, Nelson picked off Roethlisberger in the end zone with 4:55 left to preserve the win. . . .
Third-year backup safety Shawn Williams, who started the game when the Bengals went with three safeties against a run look, was on the field when they got that look with 5:34 left and leading, 10-6. Roethlisberger went to pass, though, and even though he had plenty of time, Williams read his pass to the tight end on the sideline and Williams broke on it and made a diving pick at the Steelers 45 just before he went out of bounds to set up the winning TD.
"I didn't think he was going to throw it," Williams said. "But I was close enough I could make a play." . . .
Great timing for first NFL pick. . .