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Steelers push past weakened Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) carries the ball as Cincinnati Bengals safety Jordan Battle (27) and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (22) defend in the first quarter of a Week 12 NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, at Paycor Stadium.
Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tight end Pat Freiermuth had a career day, catching nine passes for 120 yards, and Najee Harris ran for a touchdown to lead the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4) to a key 16-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals (5-6).

Playing with a new offensive coordinator and play-caller following the firing of Matt Canada, the Steelers didn’t need to produce much to beat a feeble Cincinnati offense.

Kenny Pickett completed 24 of 33 passes for 278 yards with Eddie Faulkner serving as the offensive coordinator and Mike Sullivan as the play-caller.

Chris Boswell added three field goals for the Steelers, who won for the third time in four games and held the Bengals to 25 yards on 11 carries. The Steelers had 421 yards of total offense, the best day of the year for the NFL’s 28th-rated offense.

Jake Browning, in his first NFL start, completed 19 of 26 passes for 227 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in place of Joe Burrow, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Saturday with a right wrist injury.

The Steelers had the game’s first quality scoring chance when Pickett found Freiermuth over the middle for 29 yards as part of a drive that had Pittsburgh march down to Cincinnati 13, where Zach Carter punched the ball free from Jaylen Warren. The fumble was picked up by Bengals cornerback DJ Turner.

Pickett had completions of 24 and 29 yards to Freiermuth on Pittsburgh’s first two drives but had nothing to show for it.

The Steelers converted an explosive play into points on their third drive. Pickett lofted a perfect pass over Bengals Turner and into the arms of Diontae Johnson down the right sideline for 39 yards down to the Cincinnati 23, leading to a 41-yard Boswell field goal.

Browning hit a wide-open Drew Sample, who rambled 11 yards and bowled over teammate Mitchell Wilcox to get into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter. Browning and Sample played together at the University of Washington.

The Bengals appeared poised to add to their 7-3 halftime lead when Browning connected with Ja’Marr Chase on a go-ball down the right sideline for 25 yards to the Steelers 21. But three plays later, safety Trenton Thompson, filling in for the injured Minkah Fitzpatrick, stepped in front of Chase and picked off Browning at the Steelers 15.

The Steelers took advantage of the turnover, marching 79 yards in 14 plays and consuming nearly eight minutes of the third quarter clock.

Harris took it off the left end for a 5-yard touchdown run. A holding flag on tight end Darnell Washington for grabbing Germaine Pratt was picked up and the touchdown stood, giving the Steelers a 10-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

– Field Level Media

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