STEELERS 28

BENGALS 17

The Pittsburgh Steelers don't need quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to win games, just to keep from losing them. With victories in two promising starts, he's doing just fine.

Roethlisberger, showing uncommon poise for a rookie who wasn't expected to play much this season, twice rallied the Steelers (3-1) and Duce Staley ran for 123 yards in a 28-17 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals (1-3).

"You can just see him coming into his own," wide receiver Plaxico Burress said. "He doesn't let anything bother him, and that's what I like about him."

Roethlisberger went 17 of 25 for 174 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions to better Carson Palmer in a quarterback duel that may be repeated for years in the AFC North. Palmer, who was 20 of 37 for 164 yards with two interceptions, showed why the Bengals drafted him No. 1 last year and why he still has some maturing to do.

Palmer drove the Bengals to touchdowns on their opening drive of each half, but ended the game with consecutive interceptions, giving him seven in four starts. His former Southern California roommate, Troy Polamalu, finished it off with a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown. Jerome Bettis had given the Steelers a 21-17 lead with just over nine minutes remaining with his second short-yardage touchdown.

Already, some Bengals fans are questioning the decision to bench Jon Kitna, who threw 26 touchdown passes last season as the NFL comeback player of the year, and play Palmer. "I'm not concerned with what people say," Palmer said.