CINCINNATI Running back Giovani Bernard slipped through the line, caught Andy Dalton's short pass, turned and saw something shocking.
One of the NFL's top defenses had given him a big opening.
The elusive rookie turned the catch into a 27-yard touchdown Monday night, one of his two scores that made the difference in the Cincinnati Bengals' 20-10 win over the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I saw green grass," said Bernard, a second-round pick from North Carolina. "Once you see green grass, you've got to take it. You don't get many chances like that. When you do, you've got to take it."
He wasn't the only rookie putting a new imprint on an old rivalry. Tyler Eifert, the Bengals' first-round pick from Notre Dame, made a 61-yard catch that set up Bernard's 7-yard run for his first NFL touchdown.
Together, they gave a preview of what the Bengals (1-1) could become with two new pass catchers in the offense.
"Gio's done a good job," Dalton said. "We drafted him to be versatile, move around the backfield and make big plays. And that's exactly what we've gotten out of him."
The Bengals piled up 407 yards and held the ball for more than 35 minutes.
The Steelers fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2002, done in by another game of self-destruction on offense. Pittsburgh had two turnovers in scoring range and couldn't hold the ball long enough to give its defense a breather, failing to get a first down on seven of its 12 possessions.
"There's not a lot of positives going on right now," said Ben Roethlisberger, who was 20 for 37 for 251 yards and one touchdown with an interception on a deflected pass. "We can't start doubting each other. Right now, there's a general feeling of being upset."