CINCINNATI -- The Pittsburgh Steelers fell behind early but took over the game in the second and third quarters to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, 31-17, in a wildcard-round playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Bengals took an early 10-0 lead despite losing quarterback Carson Palmer with a torn ACL in his left knee on the second play of the game. Palmer threw a 66-yard completion to Chad Johnson, but was injured when Kimo von Oelhoffen tackled Palmer by the left shin.
After the Bengals re-established their 10-point lead at 17-7, Roethlisberger threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward to cut the deficit to 17-14 at halftime.
The Steelers scored on their first three second-half possessions. Jerome Bettis ran 5 yards for a touchdown, and on the next series the Steelers threw a double pass for a score. Antwaan Randle El stepped in front of Roethlisberger to take the shotgun snap and rolled right. He threw a lateral back across the field to Roethlisberger, who heaved a 43-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Cedric Wilson. It was Wilson's first touchdown of the season and gave the Steelers a 28-17 lead.
Jeff Reed's 21-yard field goal on the next Steelers possession ended the scoring.
The Steelers scored 31 points on six possessions through the middle portion of the game. The only possession of the six that didn't end in a score was the possession to end the first half.
Roethlisberger completed 14 of 19 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn't intercepted and had a passer rating of 148.7. He was sacked once.
Wilson was the team's leading offensive threat with three catches for 104 receiving yards.
The Steelers move on to the NFL quarterfinals and will play the AFC's top-seeded Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Indianapolis.