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Bironas' late FG lifts Titans over Steelers

Published On: Oct 12 2012 12:12:54 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 12 2012 12:03:17 PM CDT
Titans beat Steelers

Reuters

NASHVILLE -

It came down to the field goal kickers Thursday night. Pittsburgh's Shaun Suisham missed his shot at a game-winner and Tennessee's Rob Bironas didn't.

Bironas drilled a 40-yarder as time expired, lifting the desperate Titans to a 26-23 upset win over the banged-up Steelers at LP Field.

Tennessee (2-4) took over at its 45-yard line with 48 seconds left after Suisham's 54-yard attempt came up several yards short. Matt Hasselbeck put the Titans in field goal range when he hit tight end Jared Cook for a 25-yard gain to the Pittsburgh 25.

After a three-yard run by Chris Johnson, who rushed 19 times for 91 yards, the Titans ran the clock down to four seconds and called timeout. After the Steelers asked for time in a futile attempt to freeze Bironas, he nailed his kick to snap Tennessee's two-game losing streak.

The Steelers took a 20-16 lead with 13:34 remaining in the game when Baron Batch, a third-string running back playing after injuries sidelined starter Rashard Mendenhall and backup Isaac Redman, barged in from the 1-yard line.

Suisham's 52-yard field goal at the 8:18 mark increased the margin to seven points.

The Titans fought back with an 80-yard, 11-play touchdown drive, tying the score when Kenny Britt made a juggling five-yard catch from Hasselbeck in the left front corner of the end zone with 4:59 on the clock.

After the teams swapped field goals on their opening possessions, Pittsburgh made the game's first big play when Ben Roethlisberger threw a bomb to Mike Wallace, who sped past Jason McCourty down the right sideline.

Wallace broke McCourty's tackle and got the ball inside the right front pylon of the end zone for an 82-yard touchdown and a 10-3 Steelers lead.

Tennessee responded with Bironas' second field goal of the first quarter, then ended the period with a momentum-changing play on special teams. The Titans' Tim Shaw busted through the middle of a leaky protection scheme and blocked Drew Butler's punt, with McCourty falling on it at the Steelers' 1-yard line.

On the second quarter's second play, Jamie Harper scored from the 1 for the Titans' first rushing touchdown of the season.

They extended the lead to 16-10 at intermission when Bironas drilled a 47-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.

Notes: Tennessee had more than twice the time of possession of Pittsburgh in the first quarter, owning the ball for 10 minutes and eight seconds ... Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (leg) departed the game on his team's first offensive play and wasn't able to return for the game's remainder. Pittsburgh also lost safety Troy Polamalu's replacement, Will Allen, with a stinger in the first quarter, although he was able to return before the half ended ... Titans left tackle Michael Roos made his 118th straight start.