Fullback Larry Kinnebrew rushed three yards for a touchdown with 35 seconds to play, ending a 49-yard drive that gave Cincinnati a 22-20 victory today over the Steelers and kept the Bengals' slim playoff hopes alive.
Reserve quarterback Turk Schonert, who was seven of 10 passing for 115 yards, guided the Bengals to the winning points despite an injured finger on his throwing hand. Cincinnati (4-7) trails Pittsburgh (6-5) in the AFC Central Division by two games.
"Turk played the game with a smashed ring finger on his right hand," Bengals Coach Sam Wyche said. "He's a gutsy ballplayer."
Schonert took over when starter Ken Anderson's shoulder was bruised by a third-quarter sack, the fourth straight game in which the Steelers have injured Anderson. The Steelers led, 13-12, at the time.
Schonert hit his first pass, a 48-yarder to tight end M.L. Harris, to set up a 28-yard field goal by Jim Breech for a 15-13 lead late in the quarter.
Wide receiver Louis Lipps ran untouched on a 36-yard reverse to give the Steelers a 20-15 lead with 12 minutes to play, but Schonert then directed the Bengals to their winning points, with passes of 24 and 17 yards to Cris Collinsworth keying the drive. An 11-yard gain by Kinnebrew immediately preceded his touchdown run.
Pittsburgh's final desperation drive ended with 13 seconds to play when Ray Horton intercepted Mark Malone's pass at the Cincinnati 46.
"We got a big play out of the reverse, jumped back on top, and they got the ball back," Malone said. "We had them in a great position, first and 30 (after two holding penalties), and they end up coming back and getting the first down and more, eating up the clock and going ahead with 35 seconds left in the game. It's a big loss."
Malone, making his fourth start of the season, was 16 of 31 for 150 yards with three interceptions. Wide receiver John Stallworth caught seven passes for 76 yards to go over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the third time, a team record.
The Steelers, using a ball-control offense, gained a 13-3 halftime advantage by gaining 15 first downs to Cincinnati's three.