The kick was never close, giving the Steelers premium field position with 3:18 left.
‘‘I make decisions to try to win the game today and they kind of backfired on me a little bit,’’ Lewis said.
Pittsburgh, however, had its own kicking issues. The Steelers moved to the Cincinnati 36, then brought out Shaun Suisham for a 53-yard attempt that was short all the way.
The Bengals went nowhere, giving Pittsburgh one last shot in regulation. Rather than run out the clock and play for overtime with the ball at their own 11 and 44 seconds to go, the Steelers tried to make something happen.
And they did. For the Bengals. Facing second down at the Pittsburgh 29, Roethlisberger rolled to his right and tried to hit Wallace down the sideline. The ball sailed over Wallace’s head and into Nelson’s arms.
Two plays later Cincinnati was celebrating a playoff berth that signaled another step out of its mediocre past.
NOTES: Cincinnati’s 14 yards rushing were the second-fewest in franchise history. The Bengals had 4 yards rushing against Baltimore in 2000 ... Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller left game in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury ... Brown is 8 of 9 since taking over for Nugent three weeks ago ... Five of Pittsburgh’s eight losses this season have come by three points ... Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall had 50 yards rushing in his return after serving a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL