The Pittsburgh Steelers won yet another close game on Thursday night, beating the Tennessee Titans to remain very much alive in the AFC North division. A hard-fought, tight game between the two former AFC Central division teams resulted in a 20-16 victory for the Black & Gold at Acrisure Stadium.
Diontae Johnson caught his first touchdown in two seasons, while the Steelers’ rushing attack was the best it has been all year by far, accumulating 166 yards on the ground. Kenny Pickett, although far from perfect, once again made a few crucial completions in critical moments, including the go-ahead touchdown pass to Johnson with just over 4 minutes remaining the game which would end up being the game-winner.
Najee Harris rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown, while Jaylen Warren had 87 yards on 11 attempts to lead the ground game. Defensively, despite a slew of penalties, the Steelers made key stops, including Kwon Alexander’s late-game interception to seal the victory. Cam Heyward returned to the field after a six-game absence and had six tackles, while Alex Highsmith had two sacks.
Things could not have started any better for Pittsburgh on offense, opening the game with a 10 play, 82 yard drive, with Harris’s 10 yard touchdown putting them in front 7-0. But Tennessee responded with a 72 yard drive, primarily aided by Steelers’ penalties tallying 40 yards. Nick Folk’s 36 yard field goal made it a 7-3 score.
Derrick Henry’s two-yard touchdown run capped a 73 yard drive for the Titans later, making it 10-7, but Pittsburgh answered with a field goal from Chris Boswell from 29 yards out to tie the game with just over a minute remaining in the first half. The Steelers’ defense gave up a 57 yard drive to end the half, though, with Folk’s 36 yard field goal gave the Titans a 13-10 lead heading into the locker room.
A 30-yard field goal from Boswell midway through the third quarter tied the game 13-13, but the Titans responded in this back-and-forth battle with another field goal from Folk, this one from 48 yards, to once again take a three-point lead.
After the teams traded punts throughout the latter part of the game, Pickett orchestrated what would be his third fourth-quarter comeback of the season and sixth of his career.
This was a huge victory for the Steelers, coming off a disappointing performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. On a short week with some banged up players, it was important for this team to put some long, solid drives together. The running game was certainly a strong point tonight, and something to hopefully continue to utilize in the weeks ahead.
Pittsburgh will enjoy these extra few days of rest before another matchup at Acrisure Stadium next Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Overall Record: 5-3