Titans kick out Steelers
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NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans bought themselves a little breathing room with a much-needed victory, while 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.
‘‘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 despite Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 363 yards and becoming the Steelers’ career passing leader.
Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt with 4:19 left to tie it at 23 as the Titans (2-4) snapped a three-game losing streak against the Steelers.
Roethlisberger drove the Steelers into position to take the lead. 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.
Hasselbeck then drove the Titans 33 yards with the big play a 25-yard pass to tight end Jared Cook on a night his mother, Yulinda, was honored as a breast cancer survivor. The Titans gave the ball to Chris Johnson (19 carries, 91 yards) to run down the clock, then sent out Bironas for the field goal.
‘‘It feels good to win against a good opponent,’’ said Hasselbeck, who started his second straight game in place of injured Jake Locker and threw for 290 yards. ‘‘It feels good to win a close game.’’
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin tried to ice Bironas with a timeout. Bironas waited it out, and then kicked the ball through.
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, and the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense couldn’t make that stand up.
Roethlisberger entered his 119th game with 27,703 yards, 286 yards shy of Terry Bradshaw’s franchise record. Roethlisberger, who connected on a 82-yard scoring play with Mike Wallace in the first quarter, finished 24 of 40. He overtook Bradshaw with a 17-yard pass to Heath Miller late in the third quarter. Bradshaw played 168 games from 1970-83.
The Steelers, who played without safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker LaMarr Woodley, head home with a much longer injury report.
Steelers running back Ike Redman caught four passes for 105 yards for the Steelers before injuring his right ankle in the third quarter, and never returned. Running back Rashard Mendenhall also went down with an Achilles’ injury.
Center Maurkice Pouncey injured his right leg on the Steelers’ first play from scrimmage and was ruled out for the rest of the game, and right tackle Marcus Gilbert hurt his right ankle in the second quarter. Doug Legursky stepped in for Pouncey, while rookie Mike Adams replaced Gilbert.