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10/12/2012 12:59 AM EDT
Bironas' FG gives Titans 26-23 win over Steelers
TENNESSEE 26, PITTSBURGH 23

By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Titans gave themselves a
little breathing room with a much-needed victory, and 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 to snap a two-game skid.



Matt Hasselbeck threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt
with 4:19 left to tie it at 23, and the Titans (2-4) snapped a
three-game losing streak against the Steelers. More importantly,
the team that had given up more points than any other team in
the NFL held its first opponent below 30 points this season.



"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 the fifth in six games dating to last season despite Ben
Roethlisberger throwing for 363 yards and becoming the Steelers'
career passing leader.



"We're not doing enough things to finish games in hostile
environments," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "That's just
the reality right now. Hopefully, it's just right now. We didn't
do the job tonight. We defeated ourselves in some areas. We'll
go back to work. Needless to say it's disappointing. We tip our
caps to those guys."



Roethlisberger drove the Steelers into position to take the lead
after the Titans tied it. 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. Tomlin said Suisham
hit the 52-yarder pretty good so he decided to give his kicker
the chance to win a second straight game.



"I take full responsibility for the miss," Tomlin said.



Chris Johnson ran for 91 yards on 19 carries, and Hasselbeck
finished with 290 yards passing.



"It feels good to win against a good opponent," said Hasselbeck,
who started his second straight game in place of injured Jake
Locker. "It feels good to win a close game."



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 fifth-ranked defense
couldn't make that stand up.



Johnson, who has been criticized mercilessly for his struggles
running the ball, kicked off Tennessee's next drive with a
12-yard run. The Titans drove 80 yards before Hasselbeck found
Britt to tie it. Britt had dropped a would-be TD the play before
and bobbled the TD catch too.



After the Titans stopped Pittsburgh, Hasselbeck drove them 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 Johnson to run down the
clock, then sent out Bironas for the field goal.



Tomlin tried to ice Bironas with a timeout. Bironas waited it
out, and then kicked the ball through to give the Titans a rare
chance to celebrate this season.



"It's kind of like Kevin Costner in "For The Love of the Game,"
where he clears the mechanism," Bironas said. "You go out there,
and you're in the zone."



Roethlisberger entered the game with 27,703 yards, 286 yards shy
of Terry Bradshaw's franchise record. Roethlisberger was 24 of
40 and passed Bradshaw with a 17-yard pass to Heath Miller late
in the third quarter of his 119th game. Bradshaw played 168
games from 1970-83. Roethlisberger also threw an 82-yard TD pass
to Mike Wallace.



"We're not scoring enough points, and we're not making the play
when we need to," Roethlisberger said.



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. 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 stalled
when Derrick Morgan got around Adams and sacked Roethlisberger.



Bironas also had field goals of 22 and 38 yards in the first
quarter, and his 47-yarder on the final play of the first half
gave Tennessee a 16-10 lead.



Tennessee capitalized on a blocked punt to take the lead early
in the second quarter.



On the final play of the first quarter, Tim 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.



"We couldn't lose tonight," Shaw said. "We were desperate. We
needed this win more than anything. It's gotten us in a good
place."



The Steelers failed at moving 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. They even had a fan run onto the field after the
third quarter, waving a towel before being tackled.



Notes: Titans cornerback Jason McCourty had an interception, the
fifth of his career and first this season. ... Tomlin is 3-2
against the Titans. Tomlin now is 15-6 in October. ... Tennessee
has won two of its last three home games against Pittsburgh. ...
Titans cornerback Tommie Campbell hurt his ankle on punt
coverage and did not return.



---



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