"I thanked my team for bailing me out," he said, referring to some of his second-half decisions. "Plain, flat, and simple. I make decisions to try to win the game today. It kind of backfired on me a little bit.
"I tell them all the time we're not backing down. We're going to keep coaching and playing aggressively. I can't do that and then put my tail between my legs. We've got to be aggressive. They bailed me out."
» Lewis did what Paul Brown and Sam Wyche never did as he took the Bengals to playoff berths in back-to-back seasons.
"It's a good win for the city of Cincinnati," Lewis said. "I know they just think that there's some complex. There's no complex. You just have to come play and win. This group in there has very little history of anything."
» It was a defensive victory all the way. The Bengals held the Steelers to 280 yards, shut them down on 12 of 14 third downs, and came up with the key turnover on Reggie Nelson's interception with 14 seconds left at the Steelers 46-yard line. The Bengals also upped their NFL-leading sack total with four, with 2.5 coming from sack leader Geno Atkins to give him 13 for the season.
"They are the No. 1 defense and Coach Zimmer told us last night the best defense is going to win this game, and we took it to heart," defensive tackle Domata Peko said of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. "You couldn't have written it any better than to come in here to Pittsburgh, our arch-rival, and to have to win to make the playoffs. And to fight through adversity and get this win. It's a great win for the city and for the organization."
» Defensive end Michael Johnson had one of the four sacks to go along with a quarterback hit and seven tackles, two of them for losses.
"For years people were telling us Pittsburgh has your number," Johnson said. "I always felt like we weren't home to answer, but today we picked up the phone and gave them a piece of our mind."
» It was kicker Josh Brown's eighth winning field goal in the last minute or overtime and it came on a field where last year he missed field goals of 52 and 33 yards.
"It was kind of a nightmare game," Brown said of last season's Rams game in Pittsburgh.
As for Sunday's game-winer, Brown said, "(The wind) did what we thought it was going to do. The wind was going right to left and I put it inside the right upright."
» It was a sweet moment for Brown, who didn't sign with a team until he replaced Mike Nugent on Dec. 6, the day after Nugent injured the calf on his kicking leg.
Asked if it was the biggest kick of his career, Brown said, "I don't know. The career is still going, but to beat these guys here and put these guys in the playoffs is huge."
» The biggest offensive play of the day came from quarterback Andy Dalton to wide receiver A.J. Green on a 21-yard pass that set up the winning field goal.
"It was exactly what we were looking for," Dalton said. "They were playing him soft and he was able to cross the corner's face, and I was able to throw it where only A.J. could catch it."
» Dalton became the only Bengals quarterback other than Ken Anderson to lead the Bengals to the postseason in back-to-back years.
"We put ourselves into position where we could control our own destiny," Dalton said. "Now it's time to make a run at it."
» Green finished with a gutty 10 catches for 116 yards after being held to just one catch against the Steelers in the previous meeting in Cincinnati back on Oct. 21. On the second snap of the fourth quarter Green fumbled on the Steelers 28 after making a 12-yard catch. He couldn't wait to atone.
"Everybody said coming up on the sidelines for me to forget about it," Green said. "I just wanted to get back out there and make a play."
» Kyle Cook played all of the offensive snaps at center.