The Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t cover A.J. Green, but they covered the ball the first time the Cincinnati Bengals put it on the ground and converted it into a game-winning avalanche.
Clinging to a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton dropped the ball on fake handoff to Jeremy Hill, and Pittsburgh linebacker Arthur Moats fell on it at the Cincinnati 24.
Four plays Le’Veon Bell ran for a 13-yard go-ahead touchdown and then connected with tight end Heath Miller for a two-point conversion to send the Steelers on their way to a 42-21 triumph in front of 65,512 at Paul Brown Stadium.
Pittsburgh scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to improve to 8-5 and move within a half game of the Bengals (8-4-1) in the AFC North Division.
Baltimore (8-4) also won to move within a half game of Cincinnati. The Ravens beat Miami 28-13. Cleveland (7-6) fell 25-24 at home to Indianapolis.
Cincinnati travels to Cleveland next Sunday.
Green caught 11 passes for a career-high 224 yards, and his 81-yard touchdown catch gave the Bengals a 21-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But the Steelers got a 44-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham to close within 21-20 with 13:32 remaining, then two plays later Dalton got the ball stuck on Hill’s hip while trying to execute a read option, a play he scored a 20-yard TD on earlier in the game, and dropped the ball.
The Bengals went three-and-out after Pittsburgh’s go-ahead score, and punter Kevin Huber pinned the Steelers at their own 6. But Ben Roethlisberger hit Martavis Bryant with a 94-yard bomb on first down to give the Steelers a two-touchdown lead.
Bell added a 22-yard touchdown run with 5:09 to go to account for the final margin. He finished with 26 rushes for 185 yards and six catches for 50 yards.
Roethlisberger was 25 of 39 for 350 yards and three touchdowns.
Dalton completed 21 of 29 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 128.8, but the Cincinnati defense gave up a season-high 543 yards.