Roethlisberger helps Steelers take 20-16 lead
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Baron Batch’s 1-yard touchdown run gave Pittsburgh a 20-16 lead over the Tennessee Titans early in the fourth quarter, and Ben Roethlisberger became the leading passer in Steelers history Thursday night.
Roethlisberger entered the game with 27,703 yards, 286 yards shy of Terry Bradshaw’s franchise record. Roethlisberger was 19 of 32 for 313 yards with a touchdown and an interception with 13:34 left in the game.
This was Roethlisberger’s 119th career game. Bradshaw played 168 games from 1970-83.
The Titans were in front 16-13 and appeared to have a chance to extend their lead in the third quarter when Mike Martin sacked Roethlisberger, forced a fumble and pounced on the loose ball at the Steelers 22. But the fumble was overturned on replay after officials ruled Roethlisberger’s arm was moving forward when the ball came loose.
On the next play, Roethlisberger hit tight end Heath Miller for a 17-yard completion that enabled him to overtake Bradshaw. Batch capped the drive with his touchdown run.
Steelers running back Ike Redman caught four passes for 105 yards for the Steelers before injuring his right ankle in the third quarter, though his return was listed as probable. Redman had caught just six passes for 45 yards through the Steelers’ first five games.
Redman was one of many Steelers to get injured.
The Steelers were playing without injured strong safety Troy Polamalu (calf) and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) on defense, and they lost two starting offensive linemen Thursday.
Center Maurkice Pouncey injured his right leg on the Steelers’ first play from scrimmage and was ruled out for the rest of the game. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert hurt his right ankle in the second quarter. Doug Legursky stepped in for Pouncey, while rookie Mike Adams replaced Gilbert. A Steelers drive into Titans territory in the second quarter stalled when Derrick Morgan got around Adams and sacked Roethlisberger on a third-down play.
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall also went down with an Achilles injury.
Rob Bironas kicked three field goals for the Titans, including a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. Bironas also had 22- and 38-yard kicks in the first quarter.
Shaun Suisham had two field goals for the Steelers.
The Steelers were trying to end their recent road woes. The Steelers were 0-2 on the road this year and had lost four of their last five games away from Heinz Field in a stretch that dates back to last season.
Tennessee capitalized on a blocked punt to take the lead early in the second quarter.
On the final play of the first quarter, Shaw broke through the middle of the line and blocked Drew Butler’s punt. Jason McCourty recovered at the 1 to give the Titans first-and-goal. That set up a 1-yard burst from Jamie Harper that gave the Titans a 13-10 advantage.
Harper’s touchdown left St. Louis as the only team without a rushing touchdown this year.
The Steelers reached midfield or Titans territory on three consecutive second-quarter possessions without scoring. The Steelers’ best chance came when a 55-yard completion from Ben Roethlisberger to Ike Redman put them at the 32. On the next play, McCourty intercepted a pass intended for Antonio Brown on the right sideline.
Pittsburgh finally capitalized on a drive into Titans territory when Suisham capped the Steelers’ opening drive of the second half with a 28-yard field goal. Tennessee drove to the Steelers 36 on the ensuing possession, but Larry Foote sacked Matt Hasselbeck for an 11-yard loss that drove the Titans out of range for a long field-goal attempt.
Mike Wallace had given the Steelers a 10-6 lead with an 82-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.
Wallace beat McCourty on a deep pattern, broke McCourty’s tackle attempt at the 30 and sneaked inside the right pylon as safety Michael Griffin tried to push him out of bounds. Wallace lost possession at the end of the play, but replays failed to show whether the ball came loose before he crossed the goal line.
The Titans have allowed at least one first-quarter touchdown in each of their first six games this season.
The Steelers were attempting to move above .500 for the first time this season after splitting their first four games. They should have felt right at home in Nashville, as roughly half the fans at LP Field were waving Terrible Towels while dressed in Steeler black-and-gold.
The Titans were seeking to bounce back from a 1-4 start in which each of their losses was decided by at least 21 points.
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