Steelers beat Bengals, 18-16

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jan 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-10 00:49:21-05

The Steelers are on to Denver while the Chiefs are heading to New England.

Ben Roethlisberger rallied the Steelers to an 18-16 comeback win over Cincinnati after being carted off the field with a right shoulder injury, setting up a second-round playoff game against the Broncos (12-4) next Sunday.

It was another playoff meltdown for the Bengals. And in many ways, this one was the worst of all.

They rallied from a 15-0 deficit in the fourth quarter behind AJ McCarron, who threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green for a 16-15 lead with only 1:50 to go.

Then Vontaze Burfict picked off a pass that seemed to seal it, but Jeremy Hill fumbled to give Pittsburgh (11-6) another chance. Ben Roethlisberger returned from a shoulder injury, then Pittsburgh moved into field goal position after a pair of 15-yard penalties on the Bengals, one Burfict and another on Adam Jones after Burfict hit a defenseless Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Boswell drilled his fourth field goal of the game to give the Steelers their first playoff win since the 2010 AFC championship game.

Cincinnati's 25-year playoff drought is the sixth-longest in NFL history.

Coach Marvin Lewis fell to 0-7 in the playoffs, moving ahead of Jim Mora for the NFL record of futility. And the Bengals (12-5) now have lost an opening-round game for five consecutive seasons — no other team has done it more than three times in a row.

While the Steelers (11-6) are moving forward, they may be without Brown.

The Steelers play the Broncos next Sunday at 2:40 p.m. MT.