CINCINNATI — It only took a cosmic alignment on the longest, darkest night of the year to turn the Cincinnati Bengals' luck around.
The Bengals held off the Pittsburgh Steelers, the current AFC North leaders, with a surprise 27-17 victory at Paul Brown Stadium Monday night.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, now 11-3, couldn't overcome injuries on defense as Ryan Finley led the now 3-10-1 Bengals to early scoring drives and a last-minute field goal during the stunning primetime win.
It's the first time the Bengals have defeated the Steelers since 2015, and the first time they won on a Monday night against Pittsburgh at home since Sept. 16, 2013.
The Bengals put the Steelers in a 17-0 first-half hole after Giovani Bernard scored two first-half touchdowns after turnovers and then survived a rally by the Steelers, who lost their third straight after 11 straight wins to start the season.
Pittsburgh got the ball back with 2:17 left in the game but four incomplete passes by Roethlisberger all but finished it for the visiting team.
Three weeks ago, the Steelers (11-3) were on track for the top overall seed in the AFC, but now they could end up a wild card. Pittsburgh has tough matchups remaining against Indianapolis (10-4) and Cleveland (10-4), which trails the Steelers by one game in the AFC North.
The Bengals held Roethlisberger to 19 passing yards in the first half. He finished 20 for 38 for 170 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Bernard had 25 carries for 83 yards as the Bengals stuck to a ground-heavy approach with Finley under center.