PITTSBURGH — Boomer Esiason threw two touchdown passes to tight end Rodney Holman and picked apart Pittsburgh's league-leading defense with short passes as the previously winless Cincinnati Bengals rallied for a 37-24 National Football League victory over the Steelers on Monday night.
James Brooks, who ran for 133 yards, scored two touchdowns--a 14-yarder with 2:58 left in the first half and a 32-yarder with 1:45 left in the game.
The Bengals (1-3) bounced back from a third-quarter rally by the Steelers that turned a 21-10 Pittsburgh deficit into a 24-21 lead in a span of 1:28.
Holman, taking advantage of the Steelers' tight coverage on wide receivers Cris Collinsworth and Eddie Brown, caught scoring passes of 26 and 4 yards as the Bengals won for the fourth time in six years at Pittsburgh.
With the Steelers leading, 24-21, in the fourth quarter, Steeler wide receiver Louis Lipps fumbled while attempting to pitch the ball back to quarterback Mark Malone on a flea-flicker play, and Bengal linebacker Reggie Williams fell on the ball at the Pittsburgh 33.
Esiason scrambled for four yards, then threw a 24-yard completion to Brown for a first down at the Pittsburgh five. Esiason hit Holman over the middle for what proved the deciding score.
Jim Breech added a 32-yard field goal with 4:27 to go, and Brooks got his second touchdown with 1:45 left.
Esiason completed 19 of 27 passes for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Cincinnati, which lost all four of its September games in 1984 during an 0-5 start, took a 14-7 lead with a pair of touchdowns within a 1:50 span in second period. After Brooks ran for the Bengals' first score, James Griffin intercepted Malone to give Cincinnati the ball at the Pittsburgh 33. Stanford Jennings ran seven yards before Esiason found Holman open in the end zone with 1:08 remaining in the half.
Brown, a rookie from the University of Miami, made it 21-10 with an eight-yard touchdown reception that capped a 79-yard scoring drive midway through the third period. Esiason set up the score with completions of 20 yards to Collinsworth, his first catch of the game, 13 yards to Charles Alexander and 11 yards to Jennings.