Carson Palmer, who suffered torn ligaments against Pittsburgh eight months ago, tossed four touchdowns to lead Cincinnati to a 28-20 win over their AFC North Division rival Steelers.
The win was especially sweet for Palmer, who connected with TJ Houshmandzadeh on a pair of scoring plays in a 54-second span of the fourth quarter following turnovers by Pittsburgh.
“There was a lot of talking that it is an intense rivalry and we are just happy to get a win and move on,” Palmer said.
The Steelers (1-2) held a 21-17 lead when Ricardo Colclough muffed a punt and Tony Stewart recovered the ball at the Pittsburgh nine.
Palmer wasted no time capitalising on the turnover, firing a nine-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Houshmandzadeh with 7:59 left in the fourth quarter.
“This win belongs to the team,” said Palmer, who was 18-of-26 for 193 yards with two interceptions.
“I put the ball on the ground too many times, had two interceptions. It shows how good your team is when you are playing against a good team and the quarterback doesn’t play very well and you still get a win.
“I’m just proud of how the guys stepped up around me.”
Pittsburgh pulled within 28-20 on a 38-yard field goal by Jeff Reed with 3:18 left and Ben Roethlisberger engineered a drive to the Cincinnati 16 in the final minute.
But on a 3rd-and-10 play, Roethlisberger was intercepted in the end zone by safety Kevin Kaesviharn, preserving the win for unbeaten Cincinnati (3-0).
The turnover was the fifth of the game for Pittsburgh. Willie Parker rushed for a pair of touchdowns for the Steelers.
Peyton Manning made sure the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t get too confident after beating America’s team and the defending Super Bowl champs in consecutive weeks.
Manning passed for 219 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score as the Indianapolis Colts posted a 21-14 victory over the Jaguars in a battle of AFC South rivals.
Jacksonville (2-1) opened the season with a win over the nationally popular Dallas Cowboys and followed with a shutout of the defending champion Steelers.
But they were again frustrated by the Colts (3-0), who handed the Jaguars two of their four losses last season.
It appeared the outcome might be different this time when the Jaguars opened the game with an 11-play, 78-yard scoring drive which consumed nearly seven minutes.
But the two-time MVP gave the Colts the lead for good with a 30-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to tight end Dallas Clark 3:05 into the third quarter.
Manning also scored on a two-yard run with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 21-7.
Matt Stover nailed a 52-yard field goal with 20 seconds to play, lifting Baltimore to a come-from-behind 15-14 win over Cleveland in a battle of AFC North teams.
It was Stover’s third field goal of the game and his 29th in a row without a miss, keeping Baltimore (3-0) unbeaten and Cleveland (0-3) winless.
Stover, whose last miss came on October 2005, at Pittsburgh, drilled it down the middle with plenty of distance to help the Ravens grab an improbable victory.
Rex Grossman kept Chicago in the win column by throwing a 24-yard touchdown pass to Rashied Davis with under two minutes remaining as the Bears rallied for a 19-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Robbie Gould kicked four field goals and a huge turnover also helped the Bears (3-0) to take sole possession of first place.
In other games, Jets beat Bills 28-20, Packers beat Lions 31-24, Dolphins beat Titans 13-10, Redskins beat Texans 31-15, Panthers beat Buccaneers 26-24, Rams beat Cardinals 16-14, Seahawks beat Giants 42-30, Eagles beat 49ers 38-24, and the Broncos beat Patriots 17-7.
Emotions will be high for the New Orleans Saints on Monday as the return to their home field, for the first time since the deadly hurricane, to face the high-flying Falcons.