Ben Roethlisberger and Antwaan Randel El tossed one touchdown pass apiece as the Pittsburgh Steelers jumped out to a 20-point lead and held on for a 27-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday in a battle of AFC North rivals.
Roethlisberger found Hines Ward on an 8-yard scoring strike and Randel El connected with Mike Wallace on a 39-yard touchdown as Pittsburgh (6-2) kept pace with the Baltimore Ravens (6-2) atop the division.
Terrell Owens posted his team-leading sixth and seventh touchdowns of the season for Cincinnati (2-6), which has dropped five in a row. Owens, who had a game-high 10 catches for 141 yards, now has 151 career touchdowns after he reeled in scoring strikes of 19 and 27 yards from Carson Palmer.
Roethlisberger completed 17 of 27 passes for just 163 yards, with Wallace accounting for five receptions and 110 yards in this one. Jeff Reed made field goals of 25 and 53 yards, but missed from 46 yards out late in the fourth quarter.
After Bernard Scott fumbled the opening kickoff, Pittsburgh scored four plays later - culminated by Rashard Mendenhall's 1-yard run.
Palmer completed 22 of 36 passes for 248 yards for the Bengals, who reside in the basement of the division - one full game behind the state-rival Cleveland Browns (3-5).
Cedric Benson rushed in from one yard out to cut the deficit to six at 27-21 with 9:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Bengals could not draw any closer.