Higgins, Perine have big games in Bengals win over Steelers


PITTSBURGH — Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 355 yards and four touchdowns on Sunday as the Bengals knocked off the Steelers 37-30 at Acrisure Stadium.

The win, their first versus an AFC North opponent this season, moves Cincinnati to 6-4 and in second place behind Baltimore (7-3.)

“That was awesome, that was awesome,” Burrow said after the win. “One of my favorite wins since I’ve been here. There was a lot of adversity. AFC game. Bad weather, cold, windy. We fought through and we found a way to win.”

Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins had a huge game with nine catches for a season-high 148 yards.

“When his number is called, you just expect him to make the play every single time,” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said about Higgins. “And he and Joe just have such a great rapport. Tee is such a smart football player. He’s got great understanding of when the ball’s going to come his way. He did a great job communicating with me on some routes that he wanted as the game went based on how they were playing him. I thought that was awesome.”

Running back Samaje Perine, who filled in for Joe Mixon after Mixon left the game with a concussion, had three touchdown receptions on Sunday.

Six Bengals had catches of more than 21 yards, and many of them came in key situations.

For example, the Bengals were backed up on their own seven-yard line with a 27-23 lead in the fourth quarter — when Burrow found Tyler Boyd for a 27-yard reception, and again on a 15-yard gain to the Steelers’ 21-yard line.

With 4:30 to go in the fourth quarter, Burrow found Perine for a six-yard TD to culminate the 93-yard drive and put the game out of reach.

“Man, guys stepped up and made plays,” Burrow said. “TB (Boyd) had two big plays. Protection was great. Samaje fighting through tackles to get another touchdown. A lot of guys stepped up.”

On the night, Burrow tied Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner as the third-fastest QB to reach 10,000 career passing yards.

“That’s something that I’m proud of,” Burrow said. “I think that shows the kind of player I’ve been since I’ve been here. I’ve got a lot of great people around me, obviously. Great coaches, great players and so it was a team effort, but that’s one I’m proud of.”

Pittsburgh had a 20-17 lead at the break, but Cincinnati dominated the third quarter — and took a 24-20 lead when Burrow connected with Trenton Irwin on a one-yard strike, which was Irwin’s first career TD.

“I couldn’t be happier for that guy,” Burrow said about Irwin’s touchdown. “He just continues to show up when his opportunity presents itself. And you know, those are the kind of guys that Bengals football and the Bengals organization is all about.”

The Bengals defense stood strong and made the Pittsburgh offense go three-and-out four consecutive times.

“In the second half, that was really important in this game to get control,” Taylor said. “I thought our defense did a great job and came out in the second half after giving up 20 in the first half. Really, they held them to a field goal, but that came on a short field off that pick they had.”

On Cincinnati’s next possession after the Irwin’s score, Steelers defensive lineman T.J. Watt somehow snatched the ball out of the air and picked off a Burrow pass that set up Pittsburgh’s only score of the quarter.

“I’ve never seen plays like that made before from a defensive lineman,” Burrow added. “And he’s made two against me this year. I would love to say that there’s something I can do about that, but there’s just nothing I can do about that.”

Watts said that play was good, but it was overshadowed by the loss.

“It was a lack of execution all day,” Watt said. “They had a good game plan for us, clearly. They were able to move the ball down the field. We weren’t able to hold them to field goals to help our offense out. We just need to finish plays.”

The Bengals defense limited Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett to 25 completions out of 42 attempts for 265 yards.

Cincinnati travels to Tennessee next Sunday to take on the Titans (7-3).

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