Steelers get 33-20 win over Bengals, who lose QB Dalton

CINCINNATI -- Andy Dalton's right thumb hurt a bit as he came to the sideline. He gripped a football to gauge how much he had hurt his passing hand while making a tackle.
One painful squeeze told him something was badly wrong.

Steelers get 33-20 win over Bengals, who lose QB Dalton

Dalton broke his thumb while making a tackle after his interception on Sunday, turning Cincinnati's season upside-down in an instant. With a chance to clinch the AFC North at home, the Bengals lost their quarterback and got blown out, too.

The Pittsburgh Steelers battered backup AJ McCarron while pulling away to a 33-20 victory that left the division and the top AFC playoff seed up for grabs.

"It's gigantic dissatisfaction," left handle Andrew Whitworth said.

Cincinnati (10-3) is simply holding up to perceive to what extent it will be without Dalton, who had the NFL's top passer rating heading into the amusement. He will see an expert on Monday to show signs of improvement thought of the treatment choices.

"Rationally I'm fine," said Dalton, wearing a dark cast. "It's heartbreaking it happened as of right now in the season. I'm doing OK. There are many people who are route more regrettable off than I am."

The Steelers (8-5) thundered with the Bengals amid pregame warmups and after that drove the entire way, sending Cincinnati to its initially disproportionate loss of the season.

William Gay returned one of McCarron's passes 23 yards for a touchdown, and Ben Roethlisberger had another great day as Pittsburgh's resurgent offense continued rolling. Pittsburgh has scored 30 focuses in five straight recreations, an establishment record.

The amusement - and conceivably Cincinnati's season - turned on one capture attempt. Stephon Tuitt picked off Dalton's scoop go in the first quarter, and Dalton got hurt while making the tackle.

Dalton has been one of the NFL's most strong quarterbacks, missing just a large portion of an amusement amid his five seasons on account of harm. Presently, the Bengals' odds are in the hands of a second-year quarterback from Alabama who missed the greater part of his new kid on the block season with a sore passing shoulder.

"On the off chance that you don't [have confidence], you're damned," said McCarron, who won two national titles with the Crimson Tide yet had tossed just four goes in the NFL until Sunday. "I've generally had faith in myself when I've ventured between those white lines where it's an awful and grimy diversion. In the event that you lose certainty it can turn sour for you genuine snappy."

McCarron tossed a 66-yard touchdown go to A.J. Green, who kept running past cornerback Antwon Blake, additionally tossed a coasting sideline pass that Gay returned for a touchdown and a 23-7 lead right on time in the second half.

McCarron completed 22 of 32 for 280 yards with two touchdowns and a couple of capture attempts that prompted Steelers touchdowns.

The Bengals had the least harmed players in the alliance heading into the amusement, additionally lost tight end Tyler Eifert to a blackout in the first half. Eifert was driving the NFL in touchdown gets.

The Steelers have recuperated from critical misfortunes of their own - Roethlisberger missing time with a sprained knee, running back Le'Veon Bell out for the season with a knee damage - and hit their step in the last five recreations.

Roethlisberger has been taking care of business. He went 30-of-39 for 282 yards with a capture attempt as the Steelers secured a major lead in the second half. DeAngelo Williams kept running for a couple of touchdowns, and Chris Boswell made field objectives from 42, 47, 45 and 31 yards.

The Steelers had anticipated the rematch in Cincinnati since the Bengals' 16-10 triumph in Pittsburgh on Nov. 1, one that finished with garbage talking and extreme emotions. The aversion rose out amid warm-ups when players from both groups got into a brief yelling and-pushing match at midfield.

"We're going to protect ourselves forcefully," Steelers mentor Mike Tomlin said. "Those showdowns happened on our side of the ball after plays, outside of the ball, or outside of the 50 in pregame. Hey, that is our side of the 50."

Likewise, Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones - who was inert with a foot harm - sent a disrespectful tweet about Pittsburgh pregame.

By the final quarter, all the show was no more. Bengals fans set out toward the ways out after Robert Golden picked off McCarron with 5:14 to go, leaving Steelers fans to spin their Terrible Towels in festivity as Pittsburgh scored a securing touchdown.

Game notes
The Steelers have won their past nine games in December. ... It was only second time in the past seven games that the Bengals allowed more than 10 points. They came into the game having allowed the fewest points in the NFL. ... Tuitt's INT was the Steelers' sixth red zone takeaway this season. ... Reggie Nelson had an interception for the fifth straight game, a Bengals record. Nelson has six INTs in his last seven games against Roethlisberger.
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