Associated Press

AFC: Steelers shut down Bengals to pull away for 29-14 win

steelers_bengals_102217.jpg

AFC: Steelers shut down Bengals to pull away for 29-14 win

PITTSBURGH - Ben Roethlisberger threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns, Le'Veon Bell added 192 total yards and Pittsburgh's defense dominated the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half of a 29-14 victory on Sunday.

The Steelers (5-2) relied on their stars to take the lead and then on their reinvigorated defense to blunt Cincinnati's and give themselves a significant cushion over the rest of the underwhelming AFC North.

The Bengals (2-4) came in looking to add some street cred to their resurgence after their 0-3 start, but instead spent the second half reverting to the kind of ineffective offense that got Ken Zampese fired two weeks into the season. The Steelers picked off Andy Dalton twice and sacked him three times over the final two quarters to pull away.

Chris Boswell added five field goals for Pittsburgh, which posted its highest points total and appears to be rounding into form as Halloween nears.

Two weeks after openly questioning whether he still "had it," Roethlisberger put together easily his best half of the season. He hit Antonio Brown for a 7-yard touchdown to cap Pittsburgh's first drive, found a wide-open JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 31-yard score in the second quarter and threw a perfectly placed 23-yard deep out to Brown late in the second quarter to spark a drive that ended with a 24-yard Chris Boswell field goal that put the Steelers up 20-14 at the half.

Dalton and Cincinnati appeared ready to keep pace early. He connected with Brandon LaFell and Tyler Kroft with first-half touchdowns, but when the Steelers turned the pressure up, the Bengals crumbled while losing for the eighth time in their last nine meets with their longtime nemesis.

Cincinnati managed just one first down in the second half, much of which Dalton spent on the run or throwing picks. Joe Haden collected his first interception with Pittsburgh when he made a juggling grab that set up Boswell's field goal. William Gay added one later in the third quarter on an ugly overthrow by Dalton.

Dalton finished 17 of 30 for 144 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Bengals had just 19 yards of total offense in the second half. Given one last desperate shot to get back in it with 5 minutes left trailing by 15, Dalton threw the ball away on fourth down, a microcosm of a forgettable afternoon.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

AFC: Chargers send Broncos to first shutout loss in 25 years, 21-0

chargers_broncos_102217.jpg

AFC: Chargers send Broncos to first shutout loss in 25 years, 21-0

CARSON, Calif. - Travis Benjamin returned a first-quarter punt 65 yards for a touchdown and caught a 42-yard TD pass in the fourth, and the Los Angeles Chargers played a dominant defensive game in the first home victory of their relocation season, 21-0 over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Joey Bosa had two of the Chargers' five sacks while they sent the Broncos (3-3) to the franchise's first shutout defeat since a 24-0 loss to the Los Angeles Raiders on Nov. 22, 1992.

Philip Rivers passed for 183 yards in his 100th victory, hitting Austin Ekeler for an early TD and Benjamin for the late clincher.

The Chargers (3-4) have won three straight under new coach Anthony Lynn following a winless opening month in their first season back in Los Angeles after 56 years in San Diego.

Trevor Siemian passed for 207 yards, but Denver lost to the Chargers for just the third time in the AFC West rivals' past 14 meetings - and did so in historic fashion.

The Broncos, who have never been shut out at home, might have been able to preserve their non-shutout streak with long field goals in the fourth quarter. But coach Vance Joseph went for it twice on fourth down and ended up with an interception and a turnover on downs.

The Chargers had lost seven consecutive home games since last November, and they hadn't won a home game as the LA Chargers since Dec. 18, 1960.

But the Bolts largely dominated the Broncos, who have lost three of four with a flagging offense that has managed three touchdowns in four games. Los Angeles also avenged its season-opening loss in Denver on a blocked field goal at the end.

The Chargers forced a turnover on Denver's opening drive and advanced to the Broncos 1, but failed to punch it in on four straight running plays. Undeterred, the Los Angeles defense got a stop - and Benjamin allowed one big bounce before scampering down the middle for the Chargers' first punt return for a TD since 2012.

That was only the Chargers' second touchdown of the season in a first quarter, where they had been outscored 50-7.

Neither offense accomplished much in the first half, but Ekeler caught a 1-yard swing pass from Rivers for a TD in the second quarter, capping a 65-yard drive and staking Los Angeles to 14-0 halftime lead.

That was the Chargers' biggest lead in their past 14 games, but they missed plenty of opportunities to make it bigger. Along with that game-opening failure at the 1, Jahleel Addae and Jatavis Brown both dropped easily catchable interceptions on passes from Siemian, who was under constant pressure from the Chargers' pass-rushing duo, Melvin Ingram and Bosa.

Benjamin got open across the middle late in the fourth quarter and took off for his second touchdown catch with the Chargers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Rowe's goal lifs Revs past Impact, 3-2, in season finale

Rowe's goal lifs Revs past Impact, 3-2, in season finale

MONTREAL - Kelyn Rowe scored in stoppage time to give the New England Revolution a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Impact on Sunday in their regular-season finale.

Rowe, a late substitute, put a shot from 30 yards out just under the bar behind goalkeeper Max Crepeau moments after Montreal's Matteo Mancosu tied it with a 90th-minute goal.

Diego Fagundez and Krisztian Nemeth also scored for New England (13-15-6).

Patrice Bernier scored in his final game for Montreal (11-17-6).

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE