LOS ANGELES: Chris Boswell kicked the winning field goal with the last play of the game as the Pittsburgh Steelers fought back to claim a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
Boswell’s 38-yard effort capped a battling comeback for the Steelers in an AFC North division game that was overshadowed by an injury to Pittsburgh defensive stalwart Ryan Shazier.
Shazier crumpled to the turf in the first quarter and appeared to be unable to move his lower limbs after clashing head-on with Bengals receiver Josh Malone.
After extended treatment, the 25-year-old linebacker was strapped to a stretcher and ferried from the field as nervous team-mates and fans looked on.
“We’ll release an update at the appropriate time,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told a post-game press conference.
“Right now we’re just happy he’s getting the necessary medical attention that he deserves.”
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger admitted Pittsburgh had been unsettled by the sight of Shazier being carried from the field.
“It’s tough. Any time anybody goes down it’s scary, sad, emotions are running like crazy,” Roethlisberger said.
There was more drama late in the game when Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict needed to be carted from the field after a brutal hit by Steelers receiver Juju Smith-Schuster.
Smith-Schuster was given a 15-yard penalty after standing over Burfict and taunting the stricken Bengals player, and could face a stiffer sanction from the NFL as a result.
Earlier, the Bengals had taken a commanding early lead through a Randy Bullock field goal followed by two A.J. Green touchdowns from Andy Dalton passes.
Boswell reduced the deficit to 17-3 with a field goal late in the second quarter.
Le’Veon Bell then completed a 35-yard touchdown from Roethlisberger’s pass to haul the Steelers back into it at 17-10.
Bullock added a further field goal to put the Bengals back in front by 10.
But after Boswell kicked a 37-yard field goal, Antonio Brown hauled in a Roethlisberger pass to make it 20-20.
With time running out, Boswell slotted his third field goal of the game to give the Steelers a win, which sees them improve to 10-2.