PITTSBURGH _ Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is in the NFL's concussion protocol and wasn't allowed to talk to the media after Sunday night's 27-17 loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field.
_Bengals safety Reggie Nelson had no comment on his confrontation with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin at the end of the game. Tomlin said it had nothing to do with Nelson's game-ending hit on Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell in the third quarter that ended his night with a knee injury. Tomlin called it "a legal hit," and Nelson said he was "just making a football play."
_Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton took the blame for the first two turnovers, his interceptions in the first half. He said he shouldn't have thrown the first one, when Green stopped on a double move, and he said he "sailed," the second one to Green.
_With 100 yards on 23 carries, rookie running back Jeremy Hill had his fifth 100-yarder of the season. But he said, "We left a lot of yards out there." He said the Steelers adjusted to the pulling plays of the last two weeks.
"If we don't turn the ball over, it's a different game. We have to get rid of those," Hill said. "We haven't lost back-to-back. We're going to hang on that. We've done a good job with that all year with veteran leadership. A lot of guys have experience in the playoffs."
_The Bengals' top five punt cover team had been brilliant all year in not allowing a return longer than 11 yards. Until Sunday's first punt, which the Steelers' Antonio Brown reversed field, from left to right, and took it 71 yards for a touchdown that opened the game's scoring.
"I've got to get it more to the outside," said punter Kevin Huber. "I left it too far inside."
Huber has given up three TDs in his six seasons, all to Brown. Rookie cornerback Darqueze Dennard, the gunner on the side where Brown pivoted and went the other way, couldn't bring him down.
"I should have tackled him," Dennard said. "He broke my tackle. I grabbed him and he spun out of it. Today we didn't make that play. If we make that play, that's the difference in the game."
_Left tackle Andrew Whitworth was left shaking his head. The Bengals made three turnovers and gave up a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown and almost won.
"You can't play against yourself and the other team," Whitworth said. "To be quite honest, with the mistakes we made, we shouldn't have even been in the game. But that's how good of a team I think we are. If we just don't hurt ourselves and give people points, I think we're tough to beat."
_Defensive tackle Domata Peko wasn't happy. But he was encouraged by holding the Steelers to 29 yards rushing.
"After they ran it down our throat last time," Peko said of Bell's 185 yards three weeks ago. "All I know is we're one of 12 teams in the dance."