Andy Dalton hurt his right thumb while making a tackle on his interception, and the Pittsburgh Steelers roughed up backup AJ McCarron while pulling away to a 33-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday that left the AFC North up for grabs.
The Steelers (8-5) rumbled with the Bengals during pregame warmups and then led the whole way, sending Cincinnati (10-3) to its first lopsided loss of the season.
William Gay returned one of McCarron's passes 23 yards for a touchdown, and Ben Roethlisberger had another good day as Pittsburgh's resurgent offense kept rolling. Pittsburgh has scored 30 points in five straight games, a franchise record.
The game - and potentially Cincinnati's season - turned on one interception. Stephon Truitt picked off Dalton's shovel pass in the first quarter, and the quarterback hurt his right thumb while making the tackle. Dalton's hand was placed in a black cast.