Nashville, Tenn. — This time, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat their struggling opponent.
Ben Roethlisberger threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown with 9:01 left, and the Steelers edged the Tennessee Titans, 27-24, on Monday night.
The Steelers (7-4) staged an impressive rally in the second half to take sole possession of second in the successful AFC North heading into their bye. Le'Veon Bell (Michigan State) ran for 204 yards and a TD, and William Gay returned an interception 28 yards for a score. Shaun Suisham kicked two field goals.
"I think we're only going to get stronger," Bell said. "We've obviously still got to get better, work as a team. But we're going to enjoy the week off. It's well deserved, well needed. We're going to enjoy it and get back to work when we need to."
Roethlisberger had never beaten the Titans at LP Field, having missed the Steelers' win here in 2010. With Bell running through and over the Titans, the Steelers took the pressure off Big Ben by holding the ball for 39 minutes, 16 seconds with a 386-312 edge in total offense.
The Titans (2-8) blew a 24-13 lead in their fourth consecutive loss. They sacked Roethlisberger five times and intercepted a pass in the end zone. Rookie Zach Mettenberger threw for 263 yards and two touchdown passes, and rookie Bishop Sankey ran for another score.
But Tennessee's offense fizzled in the fourth quarter. When Pittsburgh got the ball back with 6:58 left, the Steelers didn't give it back and knelt out for the win.
Mettenberger and the Titans got off to an awful start, and then erased a 10-0 deficit with an impressive flurry.
Suisham had a 49-yarder for the first score of the game, and Gay picked off Mettenberger on the Titans' first offensive play and returned it for the TD.
Roethlisberger had been intercepted only five times this season. But the Titans sacked him three times in the second quarter, and Jason McCourty picked off a pass intended for Antonio Brown in the end zone with 44 seconds left in the first half.
The Titans called timeout, and then Mettenberger threw to a wide-open Nate Washington, who beat Gay with a stutter step on his way to a career-best 80-yard touchdown reception. Washington, who won two Super Bowl rings in Pittsburgh, wagged his finger at the crowd once he got to the 25.
Mettenberger added a 4-yard TD pass to Chase Coffman in the third quarter, capping an 11-play drive for a 24-13 lead.
The Steelers responded with Bell's 5-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth, and Roethlisberger's TD to Brown was enough for the win. Brown had nine receptions for 91 yards in another solid performance.
Two of Pittsburgh's losses this season have come against Tampa Bay and the Jets, teams with a combined four wins, and coach Mike Tomlin is 1-8 all-time against teams with a winning percentage of .200 or worse.
It was the coldest game at LP Field with the temperature at kickoff at 25 degrees.
The Saints have lost receiver Brandin Cooks and safety Rafael Bush.
Agent Jeff Sperbeck says Cooks had surgery on his broken thumb and that his recovery time is expected to be four to six weeks. Bush says he has a fractured bone in his lower right leg.
... Falcons running back Antone Smith will be placed on season-ending injured reserve with a fractured leg.
... Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin's season is over after being placed on injured reserve because of an ankle injury.
... Jaguars starting cornerback Dwayne Gratz missed practice after being arrested on two misdemeanor charges in Miami.
... The Browns might have lost starting linebackers Karlos Dansby and Jabaal Sheard for the season.
Dansby injured his left knee in Sunday's 23-7 loss to Houston. Sheard's foot injury could be more serious and his season is likely over.
... An MRI has confirmed Washington left tackle Trent Williams has a sprained knee ligament.