NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans have bought themselves a little breathing room with a much-needed victory, and the Pittsburgh Steelers still can’t win away from Heinz Field.
Rob Bironas kicked his fourth field goal, a 40-yarder as time expired, and the Titans beat the Steelers 26-23 on Thursday night to snap a two-game skid.
Matt Hasselbeck threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt with 4:19 left to tie it at 23, and the Titans (2-4) snapped a three-game losing streak against the Steelers. More important, the team that had given up more points than any other team in the NFL held its first opponent below 30 points this season.
“It’s only one win, we know that,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “But it’s a great win for us at this point in the season when we needed a win to show people what we’re all about.”
Pittsburgh (2-3) lost its third straight road game this season and for the fifth time in six games dating to last season despite Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 363 yards and becoming the Steelers’ career passing leader.
“We’re not doing enough things to finish games in hostile environments,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’ll go back to work. Needless to say it’s disappointing. We tip our caps to those guys.”
Roethlisberger drove the Steelers into position to take the lead after the Titans tied it. Shaun Suisham, who already had connected from 29, 28 and 52 yards, had his 54-yard attempt fall short of the crossbar with 49 seconds left. Tomlin said Suisham hit the 52-yarder pretty good so he decided to give his kicker the chance to win a second straight game.
“I take full responsibility for the miss,” Tomlin said.
Chris Johnson ran for 91 yards on 19 carries, and Hasselbeck finished with 290 yards passing.
“It feels good to win against a good opponent,” said Hasselbeck, who started his second straight game in place of injured Jake Locker. “It feels good to win a close game.”
The Steelers were up 20-16 when Lawrence Timmons picked off Hasselbeck’s pass, but they had to settle for Suisham’s third field goal after moving the ball only 14 yards. That field goal put Pittsburgh up 23-16 but the NFL’s fifth-ranked defense couldn’t make that stand up.
Johnson kicked off Tennessee’s next drive with a 12-yard run. The Titans drove 80 yards before Hasselbeck found Britt to tie it. Britt had dropped a would-be TD the play before and bobbled the TD catch too.
After the Titans stopped Pittsburgh, Hasselbeck drove them 33 yards with the big play a 25-yard pass to tight end Jared Cook. The Titans gave the ball to Johnson to run down the clock, then sent out Bironas for the winning field goal.