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Pro Football / Week 6 | CINCINNATI 25, PITTSBURGH 20

Sleight of Hand Wins Out

October 12, 1998|From Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Neil O'Donnell caught his old team napping.

Instead of spiking the ball to stop the clock and set up a field- goal try in the final seconds, O'Donnell saw the Pittsburgh Steelers lagging and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Carl Pickens with 20 seconds left to give the Cincinnati Bengals a stunning 25-20 victory on Sunday.

After the Steelers (3-2) went ahead, 20-18, on Norm Johnson's 40-yard field goal with 1:56 to play, the Bengals (2-3) appeared to be headed for another October loss--they were only 2-24 in the month since 1991.

A holding penalty on the kickoff left Cincinnati at its seven-yard line, with no timeouts.

On fourth and 12 from the 15, O'Donnell threw a 50-yard pass to Pickens, who snatched it away from a turned-around Dewayne Washington.

After Corey Dillon's run kept the clock moving with Cincinnati in field-goal position, O'Donnell made the signal to spike the ball. The Steelers saw the signal and took their time lining up. But O'Donnell saw what was happening and looked at Pickens, who was thinking the same thing.

"Believe it or not, we made that up right there on the spot," Pickens said. "He faked [the spike] and when I saw that he didn't throw it, I just took off."

O'Donnell lobbed the ball to the to Pickens, who made the catch over Washington at the seven and ran in for the touchdown. Pickens had with a team-record 13 catches for 204 yards.

O'Donnell was 20 for 26 for 298 yards with three touchdown passes but seemed to be more relieved than satisfied.

"It's been a long week," said O'Donnell, who hadn't faced the Steelers since leaving them after the 1995 season. "There were a lot of things that were brought up--my leaving Pittsburgh, everybody wanted to talk about that. I just tried to stay focused."

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