CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Two rookies are making the Bengals' offence tough to stop -- so long as Andy Dalton keeps his cool
First-round pick Tyler Eifert and second-round choice Giovani Bernard made the biggest plays during a 20-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night that gave Cincinnati (1-1) an early edge in the AFC North.
Eifert caught a 61-yard pass against one of the NFL's stingiest defences, setting up the first of Bernard's two touchdowns. The running back got the second one by turning a short pass into a 27-yard score.
"A lot of weapons, man," All-Pro receiver A.J. Green said. "That's the biggest thing."
Players had the day off on Tuesday before starting their short week of preparation to host Green Bay (1-1), which is coming off a 38-20 win over Washington. One focus will be to keep the momentum going on offence.
The Bengals' only glaring problem on Monday night was Dalton's inconsistency. He was coming off one of the best games of his three-year career, completing 78.7 per cent of his throws during a 24-21 opening loss in Chicago.
Against the Steelers (0-2), he missed his first three throws, twice overshooting an open receiver. Dalton was so revved up for the game that his aim was way off.
"I had a lot of adrenalin going, and the balls were sailing a little high on me at the beginning of the game," Dalton said. "I came back and played a lot better in the second half, and we did what it took to win the game."
Dalton finished 25 of 45 for 280 yards with the one touchdown to Bernard and no interceptions. His passer rating of 81.7 was the best in his five career games against the Steelers, who usually get him out of sync with their blitzes.
And it wasn't just the passing. The Bengals also ran for 127 yards and finished with 407 total yards.
They're the first team to get 400 yards on the Steelers in a non-overtime game since New England had 453 yards during a 39-26 victory on Nov. 14, 2010, at Heinz Field, according to STATS LLC. Last year, Dallas had 415 yards in a 27-24 overtime victory at Cowboys Stadium.
What the Bengals did on Monday night was rare.
"If you can run the ball well against this team, you can run the ball well against a lot of people," left tackle Andrew Whitworth said.
-- The Associated Press