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O'Donnell Passes Out the Pain to Bengals, 34-7 : AFC: Pittsburgh quarterback throws for three touchdowns despite tendinitis in elbow in victory over Cincinnati.

September 20, 1993|From Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Neil O'Donnell's passing arm is still hurting, but it was the Cincinnati Bengals who felt the pain Sunday afternoon.

O'Donnell completed his first three touchdown passes of the season, and Barry Foster rushed for 103 yards to awaken the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense in a 34-7 victory over the winless Bengals.

Foster constantly ran over Bengal defenders for big yardage in his first 100-yard game this season, and O'Donnell finished the drives with touchdown passes to Ernie Mills, Yancey Thigpen and Dwight Stone.

The defending AFC Central Division champion Steelers (1-2) avoided their first 0-3 start since 1986 by beating the Bengals for the fifth consecutive time. Cincinnati has lost nine of its last 10 games.

"They picked the wrong day to come in here," the Steelers' Rod Woodson said. "Our intensity was way, way up, and we were ready to play. We needed to beat somebody bad."

O'Donnell, playing with tendinitis in his right elbow, completed 21 of 25 passes for 189 yards. Stone scored on a nine-yard reception and a 38-yard reverse as coordinator Ron Erhardt opened up Pittsburgh's previously ineffective offense.

O'Donnell's injury sidelined him for Pittsburgh's final two exhibitions and the first half of the season-opening loss to the 49ers, and he was ineffective in last week's 27-0 loss to the Rams.

"This was the first week I could throw the ball like I wanted to," O'Donnell said. "I'm not going to lie, the pain's still there, but I feel like I can play with it all year. The only way to get it 100% is to rest, and I can't rest right now."

The Steelers, who scored only one touchdown in their first two games, broke out of their offensive slump as the Bengals continued theirs. Cincinnati has scored only three touchdowns, one in its last two games.

Foster, who has 13 100-yard games in the Steelers' last 19 regular-season games, accounted for all but seven yards of a 61-yard drive in the first quarter that ended with O'Donnell's three-yard pass to Mills. Foster later touched the six times during an eight-play drive that ended with Gary Anderson's 33-yard field goal.

The Bengals got a big first half from David Klingler, who completed 11 of 12 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Klingler got the Bengals within 10-7 late in the first half with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Carl Pickens.

Pittsburgh came right back after Pickens' touchdown. Thigpen ended an 84-yard drive with his first NFL touchdown reception--an 18-yarder that gave the Steelers a 17-7 lead.

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