Thanks to a last-second field goal from Rob Bironas, the Tennessee Titans left LP Field with a 26-23 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers.
It was a hard-fought game between two teams which seemed to be going in different directions. The Titans had looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL prior to the contest, while the Steelers seemed to be picking up momentum after a big win at home on Sunday over the Eagles.
But injuries would be the story of the game.
Pittsburgh lost running backs Isaac Redman (who was its leading receiver) and Rashard Mendenhall as well as center Maurkice Pouncey.
The Steelers moved to 2-3 on the season, two games back of the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens. The Titans improved their record to 2-4, possibly saving their season in the process.
Here's a look at what we learned about these two teams after an exciting Thursday night game.
Pittsburgh was already struggling with the health of its players going into its game, but the carnage on the field on Thursday night has only made it worse.
Already missing Troy Polamalu (calf) and Lamarr Woodley (hamstring), Pittsburgh would wind up losing the aforementioned players as well as Marcus Gilbert and Ramon Foster.
Foster would return to the game, while Gilbert was on emergency standby.
In the end, however, the Steelers saw their depth get tested much more than any team would like during a regular-season game. Their offensive line was tested the most, yet it came through in a big way by allowing only one sack on Ben Roethlisberger.
Pittsburgh's record with Troy Polamalu since 2009: 28-9.
Pittsburgh's record without Troy Polamalu since 2009: 7-9.
Polamalu missed his 16th game in the last four seasons this Thursday, and as usual for the Steelers, his absence left a big hole in their defense.
Matt Hasselbeck went 25-of-44 for 290 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Steelers defense. He was also able to lead the Titans to a game-winning field goal.
The Steelers run defense didn't do very well either, as they averaged 4.3 yards per carry while gaining 94 yards on 22 carries.
The Steelers defense was a mess throughout the game, and while Will Allen filled in decently for Polamalu, getting eight tackles, the impact just wasn't the same.
Despite the loss, there was some reason to celebrate for the Steelers.
Ben Roethlisberger needed 286 yards passing to break Terry Bradshaw's franchise passing record. At the end of the night, he would have 363 yards passing, breaking the franchise record with a 17-yard completion to tight end Heath Miller late in the third quarter.
It only took Roethlisberger 119 games to break the record, while Bradshaw's career spanned 168 games.
Of course, the last thing on Roethlisberger's mind after the game was the record. He had said in his postgame comments, "it doesn't matter to me, a loss is a loss."
Tennessee came into the game with a 1-4 record, at times looking like the worst team in the NFL.
Chris Johnson even admitted earlier this week that “we don’t look like a good team, so I wouldn’t sit here and say that we’re close."
Titans coach Mike Munchak wouldn't necessarily agree with Johnson, but he did offer up these thoughts to the media on Tuesday:
Believe me, we’re frustrated a lot of ways just like the fans are, which they should be. We know this is our big opportunity to hopefully change the opinion of a lot of people by how we play on Thursday night.
Did the Titans succeed in changing many opinions? Well, they did get a hard-fought victory over a team that has been in the upper-echelon of the NFL for the past decade. While their offensive performance was at times spectacular, their defense still left much to be desired.
The Titans defense did well stopping Pittsburgh's running game, holding the Steelers to 56 yards on 22 attempts. But their passing defense was almost nonexistent.
Isaac Redman was able to grab four receptions for 105 yards, with his longest reception going for 55 yards.
Mike Wallace was held to two catches, but he gained 94 yards, included an 82-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger in the first quarter which put Pittsburgh ahead 10-3.
The Titans defense as a whole is ranked 29th in the NFL. The defense must step up in order for them to turn it around.
This was Tennessee's first game holding an opponent under 30 points for the game, as the Titans have been scored on more than any other team in the NFL.
Coming in to Thursday, Chris Johnson averaged 2.2 yards per carry with no touchdowns on the season.
Johnson did show some signs of waking up against the Steelers, though, as he managed to gain 91 yards on 19 carries.
Is this a one-game aberration or a sign of things to come?
Next week the Titans (who rank 30th in the league in rushing) face the Buffalo Bills. With 10 days off, this would be a great matchup for Johnson to maintain the momentum from Thursday's game. Buffalo is ranked 30th against the run, and its defensive line has been much-maligned this season.
Fantasy owners, if ever there was a week to start Chris Johnson, it's next week.
Now that Johnson seems to have returned to form, it's likely it will last for at least one more game, especially against the Bills.