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Bengals strike, down Steelers

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

PITTSBURGH -- Finally after 40 years of being pushed around and dominated by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals refused to be bullied any more.

The Bengals beat the Steelers at their own game in their own stadium, relying on a defense that smothered Ben Roethlisberger and the Super Bowl champions by holding them to four field goals, and using one big special teams play for an 18-12 victory Sunday that put them in control of the AFC North.

Shayne Graham kicked four field goals in the second half even as the Bengals (7-2) failed to convert opportunity after opportunity to take control. Bernard Scott's 96-yard kickoff return in the first quarter proved pivotal as Cincinnati, despite playing the second half without ace running back Cedric Benson and failing to convert on the extra point after Scott's score, followed up a 23-20 win over the Steelers (6-3) on Sept. 27.

By sweeping the season series for the first time since 1998, the Bengals effectively lead the division by two games because they own the tiebreaker and, for the first time in their history, a 5-0 division record.

DOLPHINS 25, BUCS 23: Chad Henne directed a 77-yard scoring drive in the final 1:10, and Dan Carpenter kicked a 25-yard field goal with 10 seconds left.

Henne spoiled the Bucs' comeback led by Josh Freeman, who rallied his team in the fourth quarter for the second time in two NFL starts. The rookie shook off an awful first half and led his team to a pair of late touchdowns.

The Dolphins (4-5) won despite losing running back Ronnie Brown to a right ankle injury in the third quarter. The Bucs (1-8) were unable to build momentum after beating Green Bay a week earlier.

An ill-advised pass by Henne was intercepted to set up the Bucs' go-ahead score with 1:14 left.

Henne, a second-year pro, finished 17 for 31 for 175 yards and improved to 4-2 as a starter. Williams ran for 102 yards, and Brown rushed for 82 and a touchdown before his injury.

SAINTS 28, RAMS 23: Reggie Bush helped the unbeaten New Orleans Saints overcome another bundle of mistakes and get off to the best start in team history.

Bush scored twice for the first time in more than a year and Drew Brees compensated for two interceptions with two touchdown passes in a 28-23 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

Courtney Roby opened the second half with a 97-yard kickoff return and Robert Meachem's 27-yard grab early in the fourth quarter gave New Orleans (9-0) just enough breathing room to tie the franchise record with nine straight wins.

Marc Bulger's 19-yard pass to Donnie Avery shaved the deficit to five with 2:44 to go and the Rams (1-8) made it to the New Orleans 32 before Bulger threw incomplete into the end zone on the final play.

VIKINGS 27, LIONS 10: Brett Favre passed for a season-high 344 yards, 201 to Sidney Rice, and Detroit lost for the 31st time in 33 games.

The Lions (1-8) joined the Houston Oilers, from Nov. 21, 1982 through Nov. 4, 1984, as the only NFL teams to lose 31 games in a 33-game stretch, according to STATS.

They've played tough this season several times, as the Vikings can attest, but after a slew of injuries in this game and more poor pass coverage they dropped their 12th straight at the Metrodome.

Adrian Peterson lost a fumble but turned 18 carries into 133 yards and two touchdowns for Minnesota (8-1).

REDSKINS 27, BRONCOS 17: The Washington Redskins broke the 17-point barrier for the first time this season and ended a four-game losing streak.

The Broncos lost their third straight and had to play the second half with Chris Simms at quarterback after Kyle Orton left with an ankle injury.

Denver (6-3) has struggled since opening the season with six wins.

Ladell Betts scored on a 1-yard run with 2:44 to play. With Clinton Portis sidelined after suffering a concussion in last week's loss at Atlanta, Betts made his first start since 2006 and ran for 114 yards on 26 carries.

Jason Campbell completed 17 of 26 passes for 193 yards for the Redskins (3-6). The 27-point outburst was their greatest since Week 2 of last season.

TITANS 41, BILLS 17: Chris Johnson ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught nine passes for 100 more.

The Titans (3-6) are on a roll since opening the season 0-6, and they can thank Johnson, the NFL's leading rusher and the league's first back to top 1,000 yards this season.

Young also threw for a touchdown and finished with 210 yards passing in winning his seventh straight start. He also ran five times for 29 yards.

Buffalo (3-6) got Trent Edwards back and rookie Jairus Byrd picked off a pass in a fifth straight game. But the Bills lost their second straight.

CHARGERS 31, EAGLES 23: LaDainian Tomlinson scored twice to continue his climb up the career rushing and scoring lists, and San Diego pulled into a tie atop the AFC West.

Tomlinson gained a season-high 96 yards on 24 carries to pass Thurman Thomas and Franco Harris and move into 12th place all-time with 12,145 yards. His two touchdowns gave him 146 and moved him past Marcus Allen and into third place on the all-time list.

CHIEFS 16, RAIDERS 10: Jamaal Charles scored on a 44-yard run for Kansas City's first rushing touchdown of the season and the Chiefs used a late interception to win their seventh straight game in Oakland.

CARDINALS 31, SEAHAWKS 20: Rookie Beanie Wells had second-half touchdown runs of 10 and 13 yards and Arizona rallied from an early two-touchdown deficit for its second home win in five tries.

PACKERS 17, COWBOYS 7: Charles Woodson helped Green Bay's defense finally play up to its potential against a big-time opponent, forcing two fumbles a