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Steelers battle back to beat Bengals

The Associated Press

Bengals running back Joe Mizon, bottom, takes a hit from Steelers linebacker Vince Williams in the first half on Monday night.

The Associated PressCINCINNATI (AP) — No matter how high the stakes, how big the deficit or how late in the game, Ben Roethlisberger and his tough-to-catch playmakers always find a way to leave the Bengals wondering what just happened.

Chris Boswell kicked a field goal on the final play shortly after Antonio Brown caught a 6-yard touchdown pass — taking a hit to the head while landing in the end zone — and the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled off another improbable comeback against the stunned Bengals, rallying for a 23-20 victory Monday night.

Down 17-0 early, the Steelers (10-2) extended their best start since 2004 in a physical game with a couple frightening injuries. Brown’s touchdown tied it at 20 with 3:51 to go — safety George Iloka was penalized for hitting him in the head after the catch. Boswell won it with 38-yard field goal, his second straight winner in the closing seconds.

Both teams know the script.

“It sort of reminded me of the playoff game — what was it, two years ago?” Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward said. “It’s sort of the best reality TV show out there — better than the Kardashians.”

Two years ago, the Steelers came to Paul Brown Stadium and pulled out an improbable 18-16 playoff win set up by Cincinnati’s fumble and personal fouls on Vontaze Burfict and Adam “Pacman” Jones. Boswell won that one with a 35-yard kick with 14 seconds left.

Desperate for a win to salvage their playoff hopes, the Bengals (5-7) still couldn’t find a way to beat their Ohio River rival, not even after the big early lead. They’ve dropped six straight and nine of 10 against Pittsburgh.

“Very disappointing,” said Bengals receiver A.J. Green, who had two touchdown catches in the first half. “We had it.”

Nope. They never do, not against the Steelers.

“We’ve got a no-blink group,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’ve been in this situation before, and in this stadium before.”

The hard-hitting game was full of personal fouls, penalties and injuries that could have a long-term effect, especially for the AFC North leaders.

Pittsburgh lost leading tackler Ryan Shazier to a back injury in the first quarter. The linebacker was taken off the field on a cart and taken to a hospital for evaluation. Tomlin had no details about his injury or his prognosis after the game. ESPN reported that Tomlin went to the hospital after the game to check on Shazier.

“Ryan is one of the biggest players on this defense,” linebacker Vince Williams said. “When we need a big play, he’s one of the guys we look to. It’s going to be tough.”

Bengals Running back Joe Mixon suffered a concussion late in the first half.

Gronkowski banned 1 game

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The NFL suspended New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski one game for a late, gratuitous hit to the head of Buffalo defensive back Tre’Davious White.

White was lying face down on the sideline after intercepting a pass Sunday when Gronkowski body-slammed him, driving his forearm into White’s back and head. Gronkowski was called for unnecessary roughness, but because of retaliation from the Bills there was no penalty assessed.

After the game, which New England won 23-3, Patriots coach Bill Belichick appeared to apologize to Bills counterpart Sean McDermott. Gronkowski also apologized , saying he let his frustration get the better of him.

Gronkowski will miss New England’s game against Miami next Monday night.Speech

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