Nov 17, 2014 10:50 PM
Titans turn pick into TD, lead Steelers 24-20
The Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Zach Mettenberger threw two touchdown passes, and the Tennessee Titans had a 24-20 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the fourth quarter Monday night.
Rookie Bishop Sankey added a touchdown run for Tennessee, which has lost seven of its last eight.
Pittsburgh star Ben Roethlisberger came into the game with only five interceptions. But the Titans sacked him three times in the second quarter, and Jason McCourty intercepted a pass intended for Antonio Brown in the end zone with 44 seconds left in the first half.
The Titans called timeout, and then Mettenberger threw to a wide-open Nate Washington, who beat William Gay with a stutter-step on his way to a career-best 80-yard touchdown reception. Washington, who won two Super Bowl rings in Pittsburgh, wagged his finger at the crowd once he got to the 25.
Mettenberger added a 4-yard TD pass to Chase Coffman in the third quarter, capping an 11-play drive for a 24-13 lead.
The Steelers responded with Le'Veon Bell's 5-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter. That gave Bell 135 yards on 22 carries.
The fourth-quarter lead was quite a turnaround for Mettenberger and the Titans, who trailed 10-0 early in the game.
William Gay intercepted Mettenberger on the Titans' first offensive play and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown, and Shaun Suisham kicked field goals of 49 and 23 yards for the Steelers. Suisham's second field goal came when Pittsburgh stalled after having first-and-goal at the Titans 6.
Mettenberger, making his third start, bounced right back after Gay's interception. He completed his next two passes, setting up Sankey's 9-yard touchdown run. Mettenberger was 7 of 10 for 164 yards at halftime.
The Steelers (6-4) came in tied with Cleveland and Baltimore for second in the AFC North, needing a victory to jump over Cincinnati for the top spot in the division going into their bye. But two of Pittsburgh's losses have come against Tampa Bay and the Jets, teams with a combined four wins, and coach Mike Tomlin is 1-8 all-time against teams with a winning percentage of .200 or worse.
Tomlin does have former Titans coach Mike Munchak coaching the Steelers' offensive line in Munchak's first game in his NFL career against the franchise he spent 32 seasons with as a Hall of Fame offensive lineman and coach. The Titans let Munchak go in January after going 22-26 in three seasons as head coach.
The Titans (2-7) hired Ken Whisenhunt, who won a Super Bowl ring as offensive coordinator with Pittsburgh, in January to turn around a franchise that last won a playoff game in January 2004. Whisenhunt already is on his third quarterback in Tennessee in Mettenberger.
Tennessee was without tight end Delanie Walker, who wasn't cleared after he suffered a concussion last week in Baltimore. That left the Titans with three tight ends not on the roster at the start of the season, including Coffman who was here during the preseason. The Steelers were without four defensive starters, including Troy Polamalu.
No matter the outcome, these teams played the coldest game at LP Field with the temperature at kickoff 25 degrees.
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