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Steelers vs. Bengals 2017 live results: Score updates and highlights from 'Monday Night Football'

The Bengals’ playoff hopes faded after blowing a 17-3 lead in ugly fashion.

Final score: Steelers 23, Bengals 20

Steelers 23, Bengals 20 The Steelers got another break. With the final possession in the game, they kicked a 38-yard field goal to win the game. Steelers winning at Paul Brown Stadium seems to be the norm. It was an ugly, violent game considering the injuries to Vontaze Burfict and Ryan Shazier.

Bengals 20, Steelers 20 The Steelers got the stop they wanted after scoring the field goal but couldn’t capitalize. Luckily for them, they got the ball back without another Bengals score. And when in doubt, the Steelers went with what they know best: a Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Antonio Brown.

Bengals 20, Steelers 13 The Steelers kept chopping away at the lead in the fourth quarter. They reached the Cincinnati 21 but a trio of incomplete passes, including some targets in the end zone, forced them to kick a field goal. Still, that makes it a one-possession game.

Third quarter: Bengals 20, Steelers 10

Bengals 20, Steelers 10 The Bengals had a touchdown this drive but it was called back due to a questionable offensive holding call. Cincinnati had to settle for a field goal.

Bengals 17, Steelers 10 It started raining in the third so the Steelers started relying on Le’Veon Bell but no one expected it to be this easy. Ben Roethlisberger tossed it to Bell, who ran to the sidelines. There were two defenders in his path but they both assumed Bell was out of bounds. He wasn’t, so he briskly walked to the end zone for a touchdown.

The Steelers celebrated with a pinfall victory.

Bengals 17, Steelers 3 Desperate for some points before the half, Roethlisberger chucked up a deep ball to Brown, who drew an easy pass-interference call that put the Steelers in field goal range. Chris Boswell drilled a 30-yarder as the clock hit zero.

Bengals 17, Steelers 0 The Bengals got back into field goal range inside the two-minute mark. Dalton and Green hooked up for their second touchdown of the night, really backing Pittsburgh into a corner now.

Mixon went into the medical tent, and later the locker room, after taking a crunching hit from two Steelers defenders. Bernard is back in as the starting tailback for now. Mixon is questionable to return with head and shoulder injuries.

Not much of note happening in this quarter, with both teams trading punts and the Steelers still stuck in first gear on offense.

The Bengals defense kept putting the screws to Pittsburgh, with Carlos Dunlap burying Roethlisberger on third-and-5 and forcing another punt.

First quarter: Bengals 10, Steelers 0

Bengals 10, Steelers 0 After sitting out the first couple of drives, Joe Mixon got more involved in the Bengals offense and helped move his team back into scoring position. Dalton hit A.J. Green for an 8-yard touchdown to extend Cincy’s lead. The Steelers are suddenly in trouble if they can’t get their offense going.

Dalton showed off his legs (as it were) with this read-option run, which may or may not have been improvised.

Bengals 3, Steelers 0 Randy Bullock got the Bengals on the board with a 35-yard field goal.

Extremely scary scene as Ryan Shazier went down with a serious-looking back injury. He got taken off the field on a backboard after not appearing to move his legs. Shazier was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.

Andy Dalton wasted no time taking advantage of the turnover, hitting Tyler Kroft for a 19-yard gain.

It took only a few plays for Vontaze Burfict to get involved in extracurricular activity. Here he is baiting Le’Veon Bell into a personal foul flag.

Antonio Brown was questionable all week with a toe injury, but he got the start and pulled down a big catch on the opening drive, looking none the worse for wear. However, Roethlisberger threw an interception to Adam Jones near midfield.

Before the game

The Cincinnati Bengals have been quietly making a run in recent weeks, winning five of their last eight games to creep back into the playoff picture. They have a chance to make a big statement when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (live stream at WatchESPN).

After a horrid 0-3 start to the season, it was easy to write off the Bengals’ postseason chances then. But thanks to a combination of factors, including a mediocre AFC, they’re 5-6 and entered Week 13 only a game back in the wild card standings. Now they’re in position to go on a little streak in December and maybe surprise people, starting with a game against their hated AFC North rivals.

Of course, Cincy’s record is more than a little misleading. The Bengals are just 1-4 against teams with a winning record, that only win coming over a flawed Buffalo Bills team. The last time they played the Steelers, in Week 7, Pittsburgh brushed them aside in a 29-14 victory.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier from here, with games against the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, and a rematch with the Baltimore Ravens (who crushed them, 20-0, in the season opener) all coming up. Still, the Bengals can’t be totally counted out with so many mediocre teams hanging around the wild card picture.

The Steelers are much more comfortable in their playoff positioning. They’re on a six-game winning streak and sit at 9-2, with a commanding lead in the AFC North. The offense, when firing on all cylinders with its top three stars (Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown), remains one of the most lethal attacks in the league. Brown in particular has been white-hot, with five touchdowns in his last two games. He entered Week 13 leading the NFL in both catches (80) and receiving yards (1,195), making a strong case for Offensive Player of the Year.

Pittsburgh’s defense has also been a strong unit for most of the year, but it hit a slight bump against the Green Bay Packers last week, giving up three touchdowns to Brett Hundley as the Steelers had to squeak out a 31-28 win. Still, this team is loaded with star power on both sides of the ball, and could be a legitimate Super Bowl contender if all the pieces come together.

Pregame reading

All of Tomlin’s private, blazing chatter last season prior to the AFC championship game was only scenery for Patriots 36, Steelers 17. New England up 10-0 in the first quarter. New England ahead 17-9 at halftime. New England with a 16-0 third-quarter blitz. New England on to the Super Bowl and the championship.

The Steelers were ambushed in that game. Manhandled.

Tomlin’s not over it. Rightfully so. He’s got a Patriots problem.

And until the Steelers actually show that they can handle the Patriots, his talk is just talk. His table-setting simply fanfare.

The bottom line is that the Bengals control their own destiny. Of the five remaining games, two are against division foes in Pittsburgh, which comes to Cincinnati next Monday night, and Baltimore, which is once again scheduled as the final game of the season.

In between, the Bengals have a pair of very winnable games at home against Chicago and Detroit. They go to Minnesota in Week 15 for another game against a Marvin Lewis disciple. Lewis and the Bengals are undefeated against former coaches, and if that trend continues, the postseason may still be in reach after all.

The desire and requested change with Ross is not even for him to be starting, the desire is for him to play. Get him on the field. That’s all we’re asking. For the past two weeks, Ross has been a healthy scratch after being a non factor for various reasons in the first half of the season. The Bengals drafted Ross with a top 10 pick. Those are picks that are normally reserved for blue chip players. The Bengals need to get Ross on the field and use him to their advantage as he is a mismatch against every cornerback in the NFL. Also, with a potential out in Brandon LaFell’s contract after this season, the Bengals need to find out if Ross has what it takes to ascend to the wide receiver 2 role.

If everyone stays healthy, they can carry them to some pretty high heights, but all the way to a Super Bowl title? They will still need others to start contributing.

On offense it has to be someone like Martavis Bryant who provides another weapon for an opposing defense to have to account for, and on defense someone like Bud Dupree will have to come alive and be a game-wrecking presence ... something he has yet to do in 2017.

The Steelers have also entered the postseason as the AFC's No. 2 seed five times in the three-round era—1979, 1995, 1997, 2008 and 2010.

The Steelers not only survived the divisional-round all five times, they managed to advance to the Super Bowl on four occasions, with only John Elway and his Broncos preventing a perfect record, when they left Three Rivers Stadium with the AFC crown following the '97 campaign.