Steelers vs. Bengals final score: Rudolph breaks Pittsburgh’s losing streak with dominant win over Cincinnati

Call him a red-nosed reindeer, because Mason Rudolph shined bright in the Steelers’ 34-11 victory over the Bengals just two days before Christmas.

Pittsburgh broke its three-game losing streak, and Cincinnati’s three-game winning streak, in a critical home stand. Once the wheels started moving for the Steelers, there were no breaks in sight. They got off to a 24-0 lead at halftime.  The Bengals looked to bounce back when they returned from the locker room, scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the half. But the home team answered just as quickly with George Pickens’s second touchdown of the game. He finished with 195 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions.

In his first start behind center in nearly two years, Rudolph cruised. He finished with 290 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Jake Browning, whose first start of the season came four weeks ago against Pittsburgh, looked nothing like the quarterback we saw for the last month. He had 335 yards through the air and on touchdown, but added three interceptions. Pittsburgh scored off each of those turnovers.

The loss doesn’t eliminate the Bengals from the playoffs, but it sure makes it a lot harder to qualify for the postseason. They go to the Chiefs for a New Year’s Eve matchup before hosting the Browns, giving them one final chance at an AFC North victory this season.

The Steelers playoff hopes are still alive with the win, but they’re still on the outside looking in. They head to Seattle for a New Year’s Eve game before facing top-seeded Ravens. Mike Tomlin will likely have his choice of quarterbacks for the season closers, as Kenny Pickett, the usual starter, is expected to be healthy.

MORE: Watch Steelers vs. Bengals live with Fubo (free trial)

The Sporting News tracked live updates and highlights from the Steelers vs. Bengals Saturday night game. Scroll below for results.

Steelers vs. Bengals score

  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Bengals 0 0 11 0 11
Steelers 7 17 7 3 34

Steelers vs. Bengals results, highlights from Saturday game

(All times Eastern.)

7:27 p.m. – That’ll do it! Rudolph breaks the streak and gets Pittsburgh a win two days before Christmas.

7:18 p.m. – Miles Jack with the sack! The Steelers emphatically take down Browning once again.


7:14 p.m. FIELD GOAL – Boswell makes the 30-yard field goal to make it a 23-point lead for the Steelers. Six minutes remain in the game.

7:00 p.m. INTERCEPTION – Make it three! Highsmith makes the catch for Browning’s third interception. The Steeler has a sack and interception in a game for the second time this season. Pittsburgh takes over at the Bengals’ 43 with everything clicking.

End of third quarter: Steelers 31, Bengals 11


6:51 p.m. FIELD GOAL – Old reliable, Evan McPherson. The kicker drills the 35-yard field goal to add three points to the score before entering the final frame.

6:50 p.m. – After a challenge, Browning’s pass to Mixon is called incomplete, as Mixon does not maintain control of the ball. It adds three seconds onto the third quarter.


6:20 p.m. TOUCHDOWN – It’s George Pickens’ world, and we’re all just living in it. Rudolph finds him on a deep pass, and the receiver escapes for a 66-yard touchdown. The Steelers respond immediately to extend their lead with 9:38 left in the third quarter.


6:15 p.m. TOUCHDOWN – Se ya later, Tee Higgins! Browning finds him up the middle for an 80-yard play that gives the Bengals their first points. They go for a two-point conversion and get it with Browning’s flick to Mixon.

6:10 p.m. – Rain sure is coming down as the teams retake the field in the second half. The Bengals sure will have to rally, but they did it last week against Minnesota.

Halftime: Steelers 24, Bengals 0


5:53 p.m. FIELD GOAL – Chris Boswell knocks in the 50-yard field goal for the Steelers to enter the locker room with a 24-point lead.

5:49 p.m. – George Pickens with the catch of the year! Rudolph is on the nose and finds Pickens 44 yards deep. After review, the pass is ruled complete.

5:37 p.m. – They go for it, but the Bengals can’t get it in! Browning’s pass for Tee Higgins is short, turning the ball over with 2:14 left in the quarter.

5:35 p.m. – Mixon is called short of the first down, causing a Cincinnati challenge. The ruling stands, though, and it’s 4th and inches for the Bengals at the the Pittsburgh 5.

5:30 p.m. – Big pickup for Tyler Boyd. Browning finds the Pittsburgh-native for 29 yards, and Cincinnati enters Steelers territory. It has less than five minutes to put up a score.


5:25 p.m. TOUCHDOWN – He’s in! Harris extends the ball over the goal line for yet another Steelers score. They’re up 21-0 with 7:06 left until halftime.

5:22 p.m. INTERCEPTION – From the practice squad to a pick, Eric Rowe is there! He gets the second interception off Browning, and the Steelers take over at the Cincinnati 17.

5:11 p.m. – It’s loose! Watt reaches Browning for the strip sack, but the Bengals hop on top. It’s fourth-down, and they go three-and-out.


5:04 p.m. TOUCHDOWN – Another one! Calvin Austin uses his speed for a seven-yard Steelers touchdown. They lead 14-0 with 14:21 on the clock in the second quarter. Cincinnati has yet to respond.

End of first quarter: Steelers 7, Bengals 0

5:00 p.m. – Harris goes 13 yards up the middle, and it’s first and goal for Pittsburgh. The Steelers are on the verge of taking a two-score lead as the first quarter comes to a close.

4:51 p.m. INTERCEPTION – The first interception goes to Patrick Peterson! With no receivers even nearby, the Steeler picks off Browning in the end zone as Pittsburgh continues its commanding start.

4:48 p.m. – Iosivas manages the lob from Browning. It’s a first down at the Pittsburgh 29. 


4:42 p.m. TOUCHDOWN – George Pickens! Rudolph finds the WR on his first pass of the game, and Pickens takes it a 86 yards for the longest touchdown of his career. Steelers take the quick lead.

4:39 p.m. – The Steelers defense gets it done, even nearly getting the pick. The Bengals punt.

4:33 p.m. – We’re underway at Acrisure Stadium.

4:08 p.m. – Steelers QB Kenny Pickett is expected to return to the field next week. For today, though, it’s Mason Rudolph with the start for the first time in two years.

3:34 p.m. – The Bengals brought the Christmas sweater spirit in their entrances.

2:50 p.m. – ‘Tis the season, TJ Watt. 

Steelers vs. Bengals start time

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 23
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. ET

Steelers-Bengals will be the first of the NFL doubleheader on Saturday, Dec. 23. Kickoff will be at 4:30 p.m. ET from Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What channel is Steelers vs. Bengals on today?

  • TV channel: NBC (U.S) | TSN 1/4, RDS (Canada)
  • Live stream: Peacock, Fubo (U.S.) | DAZN (Canada)

NBC will broadcast the game with Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge and Kathryn Tappen on the call.

Streaming is available on Peacock as well as Fubo, which offers a free trial.

Viewers in Canada can watch on TSN1/4 in English and RDS in French, or stream it via DAZN, which carries every NFL game. 

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