A battle of two of the last remaining undefeated teams in the NFL resulted in a 27-24 win for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
The Steelers (6-0) and the Seattle Seahawks (5-0) are the only remaining teams without a loss.
Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to help build a 27-7 third-quarter lead, although three interceptions by the Titans defense helped keep it a close battle.
Ryan Tannehill led the Tennessee comeback and put the hosts in range for the game-tying field goal, but Stephen Gostkowski missed the 45-yard attempt. Derrick Henry was held to 75 rushing yards as the Titans fell to 5-1, losing what could be a key tiebreaker for AFC playoff seeding.
Pittsburgh matches its best start since winning the Super Bowl in 1978.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT: 32-of-49, 268 passing yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
James Conner, RB, PIT: 20 carries, 82 rushing yards
Diontae Johnson, WR, PIT: 9 catches, 80 receiving yards, 2 TDs
Ryan Tannehill, QB, TEN: 18-of-30, 220 passing yards, 2 TDs
Derrick Henry, RB, TEN: 20 carries, 75 rushing yards, 1 TD
A.J. Brown, WR, TEN: 6 catches, 153 receiving yards, 1 TD
Steelers Offense Cruises in 1st Half, Holds On Late
The Steelers offense was close to full strength Sunday and it showed as the unit looked near unstoppable early.
Diontae Johnson returned to the lineup after missing time with a back injury and made a huge impact with two touchdowns:
Roethlisberger spread the ball around to seven receivers and made clutch passes throughout the day to extend drives, finishing 13-of-18 on third downs.
He also did some improvising to keep the Titans on their toes:
The run game did its job as well, with running backs James Conner and Benny Snell Jr. running hard:
Pittsburgh scored three touchdowns and a field goal on its first four drives to build what seemed to be an insurmountable lead:
It was a much different story in the second half as the team was held to just three points. That field goal came with over 10 minutes left in the third quarter after Roethlisberger tried to force the ball into tight windows.
However, the Steelers controlled the action with 36 minutes and 37 seconds of possession, doing enough to come away with a key win over a tough opponent.
Titans' Huge Comeback Attempt Falls Short
The Titans were miserable in the first half in all phases of the game. The offense only scored seven points in the first half, while the defense couldn't get off the field, allowing eight conversions on nine third downs.
Even the special teams struggled, botching one punt attempt and giving up a long return on another.
Tannehill remained steady, finding his playmakers Corey Davis and A.J. Brown for touchdowns:
Despite a slow start, he kept his composure and made big throws.
Henry didn't have his most efficient day, averaging 3.8 yards per carry, but still got the tough yards when needed:
The defense also more than did its job in the second half, forcing several punts and two huge interceptions:
It was unfortunately too little, too late as the Titans could only manage a long field-goal attempt to tie it.
While the loss will sting, Tennessee showcased excellent resolve in defeat that will serve the team well as the season progresses.
The Steelers will have another marquee matchup in Week 8 when they go on the road to face AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens (5-1). Things get a little easier for the Titans, who will face the Cincinnati Bengals (1-5-1) on Sunday.