The Cincinnati Bengals opened their current home venue, Paul Brown Stadium, in August of 2000.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have visited 13 times since 'The Jungle' was built, and have done their best Agent Orange impression. Pittsburgh has left victorious after 11 of those 13 trips.

Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton has been a part of the travel party since 2001.

"I've never paid attention but since you say that, that is a lot of wins to have in one place over thirteen games," said Hampton. "We've been on a pretty good run here for a while here, so it's just been a thing of us having good teams and them being up and down. That's what I attribute it to."

The most memorable clash between the two rivals came in January of 2006, with Cincinnati tasting its first NFL playoff game in fifteen seasons. On the first pass of the game from Bengals' quarterback Carson Palmer, Pittsburgh defensive end Kimo Von Oelhoffen fell into the QB's knee, thereby tearing two of Palmer's knee ligaments. Pittsburgh went on for the win 31-17 en route to the franchise's fifth Super Bowl title.

Said Hampton of the '06 playoff meeting, "They still cry about that all the time. It's just part of things that happen, but they have kind of been struggling since. I just thought it was another injury, probably to them they looked at it like it was a big deal."

Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote, who dates back to 2002 in the rivalry, remembers the 'Kimo hit' very well. "Yeah, I was on the field when that happened," Foote said. "Just a bad deal." Foote then winked dramatically.

Foote admitted, though, that the team's recent trips to the Queen City haven't been vacations.

Said Foote, "The last couple times we've been there they've found a way to come back in the fourth quarter, almost stole a couple games that we've had control of. They're a good team, one of the best teams in the league. We've just been finding a way to come out on top."

Here is a history of the Steelers in Paul Brown Stadium that I have assembled from digging through the archives:

2000 – 11/26 – Steelers 48-28… The Steelers snapped a 3 game skid, with Kordell Stewart looking more like his 1997 version than the one who had been recently struggling. It was Kordell's best game of year as he threw 3 TDs and Pittsburgh moved the ball up and down the field. After the blowout the Steelers' record was 6-6, with the Bengals at 2-10. Current Steelers' defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau was the Cincinnati head man from 2000-2002 (finishing with a 12-33 record).

2001 – 12/30 – Bengals 26-23 OT… Although the Steelers clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs anyway, they fell to 12-3 as the Bengals snapped their own 7-game losing streak. Kordell threw 4 INTs, kicker Kris Brown had a blocked FG returned for a Cincinnati TD, and Pittsburgh's Bobby Shaw couldn't recover an onsides kick late in the 4th quarter to seal the game away (it was not reviewable at the time). Most surprisingly, QB Jon Kitna was 35 of 68, tied for (at the time) the 3rd most attempts in NFL history, with 411 yds passing, the most in 13 years against the Steelers. Pittsburgh blew a 13 point lead in the game. Later, this game was referred to as a "blueprint" for other teams attacking the Pittsburgh defense.

2002 – 10/13 – Steelers 34-7… Jon Kitna was terrible, throwing 3 INT, 2 of them to Lee Flowers, and rookie Antwaan Randle El had a 99yd kickoff return. Lebeau's Bengals fell to 0-6 with Pittsburgh under QB Tommy Maddox rising to 2-3. It was the 2nd NFL start since 1992 for Maddox. An estimated 20,000 Pittsburgh fans were in attendance.

2003 – 9/21 – Steelers 17-10… The Marvin Lewis era began with an old-school type of Pittsburgh win in the series featuring the running game combo of Jerome Bettis and Amos Zerroue. The Steelers D held Kitna to just 157-yards passing, and got a boost from the return of Joey Porter's just 3 weeks after suffering a gun-shot wound. In classic Bill Cowher style, Pittsburgh got ball the ball with 5 minutes left and ground out the remaining clock. The Bengals fell to 0-3, Pittsburgh rose to 2-1.

2004 – 11/21 – Steelers 19-14… In Ben Roethlisberger's rookie season, the team won their 8th straight game. It was Ben's worst performance to date as he was sacked 7 times, but solid defense, a few Randle El punt returns, and Jerome Bettis rushing sealed the win. Bettis went for 29 carries and 139 yards, putting him 5th all time on rush list passing Tony Dorsett. James Farrior was in his 2nd year w/ the team and was getting Pro Bowl praise from his teammates after this game, in which he had an INT for a TD. The Bengals fell to 4-6, with Carson Palmer going just 13 of 25 for 165 yards.

2005 – 10/23 – Steelers 27-13… Hailed as the "biggest football game in cincinnati in 15 years," Pittsburgh kept the TVs as the black and white variety as Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker combined for a bruising ground game of 47 carries and 221 yards rushing. This vaulted the Steelers record to 4-2 as the Bengals fell to 5-2. Carson Palmer came into the game getting hype as perhaps the next-great NFL QB. This game was the first signature game of CB Ike Taylor's shadowing of an opponent WR, as he held Chad Johnson to 4 catches and 94-yards, with 47 yards coming on a late, meaningless TD drive. Overall, the Steelers won their 10th straight road game.

*Playoffs* 1/8/06 – Steelers 31-17… The Bengals season ends at 11-6, with the Steelers improving to 12-5 and advancing to play top-seeded Indianapolis in the NFL Divisional Playoffs. This was Cincinnati's first playoff game in 15 years, but was defined by QB Carson Palmer tearing his ACL and MCL on a 66-yard pass to Chris Henry as Steelers DE Kimo Von Oelhoffen fell into him on the throw. Jon Kitna would throw 2 INT, fumble, and get sacked 4 times in relief. An efficient Ben Roethlisberger was 14 of 19 for 208 and 3TD with 0 INT. It was the 5th straight win at Paul Brown Stadium for Pittsburgh and 7 of 9 & 10 of 13 overall for the Steelers in the series.

2006 – 12/31 – Steelers 23-17 OT… In Bill Cowher's last game as Steelers head coach (and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt's last in town), the Steelers finished with an 8-8 record and also cost Cincinnati a playoff berth as they fell to 8-8. It was a glum, rainy, New Year's Eve as rookie Santonio Holmes TD from 67-yards out on the 3rd play of OT sent Bengals fans home disappointed again. Their kicker Shayne Graham missed a 39 yd FG at the end of regulation which would have won it.

2007 – 10/28 – Steelers 24-13… The Steelers 7th straight win in the 'Nati, the Steelers record went to 5-2 with the Bengals at 2-5. The signature sequence of the game came at the end of the first half as the Bengals decided not to go for the endzone down 14-3 on a 4th and 1 at 2-yard line with 2:16 left in the half. After the FG, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers downfield for a TD to put the team up 21-6 at half.

2008 – 11/20 – Steelers 27-10… Now 8 straight wins for Pittsburgh in Cincinnati, the Steelers ascended to 8-3 with the lowly Bengals falling to 1-9-1. Cincinnati's offense finished with 6 first downs behind Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB. Ochocinco did not play in the game, a 32 degree and windy affair. Roethlisberger was 20 of 37 for 168 yards. The game was 10-7 at half, but 20-7 through 3 quarters as Gary Russell and Mewelde Moore timeshared at fill-in RB for Willie Parker.

2009 – 9/27 – Bengals 20-23… The streak of Pittsburgh dominance ends as Pittsburgh dropped to 1-2, the Bengals rising to 2-1 en route to a 6-0 year against division foes. Carson Palmer led Cincy on a 16 play, 71-yard drive capped off by a TD pass to Andre Caldwell with 4 seconds left. A 4th and 10 conversion to RB Brian Leonard was key on the drive as well. The Steelers led 13-0 early, but WR Limas Sweed dropped a pass in endzone and redzone woes damaged the team.

2010 – 11/8 – Steelers 27-21… Another nail biter finish as James Harrison knocked away a pass intended for Jordan Shipley on the final play. The Steelers record went to 6-2, with the Bengals dropping to 2-6. Harrison, by the way, was coming off his 3rd Roger Goodell fine of year for a hit the previous week, putting his bill up to 100K in fines. Terrell Owens was in this game and caught 2 TD, with Carson Palmer going 22 of 36 for 248. It was a sloppily played game on both sides.

2011 – 11/13 – Steelers 24-17… Rookie QB Andy Dalton made two 4th quarter mistakes as Lawrence Timmons and William Gay had INTs, Gay's coming at the Pittsburgh 19-yard line late in the contest. The Bengals 5-game win streak ended, and rookie WR AJ Green twisted his knee as he stuck the landing on a brilliant 36-yard TD grab between Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu. Bengals CB Leon Hall tore his achilles tendon in the game. The Steelers went to 7-3, the Bengals dropping to 8-3.

Posted in Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh Steelers

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