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Steelers hang on to defeat Titans, 27-24

A blowout became a nail-biter that wasn't decided until the final hold-your-breath seconds.

Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed wide right on a 45-yard field goal attempt with 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Steelers held on to beat Tennessee, 27-24, on Sunday afternoon in Nashville.

The Steelers improved to 6-0.

Tennessee fell to 5-1.

"All we can say is we're 6-0," defensive tackle Cam Heyward offered. "It's a good win but there's a lot we have to improve on going forward."

Tennessee had trailed by 20 at 27-7 early in the third quarter but pulled to within three at 27-24 with 10:13 left in regulation.

Running back Derrick Henry blasted home on first-and-goal from the Steelers' 1-yard line after a defensive holding penalty on free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on fourth-and-goal from the 1 had given Tennessee a fresh set of downs. Gostkowski's extra point brought the Titans to within a field goal of tying the game.

"No one's really satisfied after today," outside linebacker T.J. Watt said. "We gotta do a much better job in the second half."

The Steelers held Henry to 75 yards on 20 carries a week after he had rushed for 212 yards against Houston.

Steelers running back James Conner out-gained Henry on the ground (20 carries, 82 yards) and the Steelers enjoyed a 36:37-23:23 advantage in time of possession and out-gained the Titans, 362-292. A big reason for the offense's success was a 13-for-18 performance converting third downs (72 percent). The Titans converted five of 13 third-down tries (38 percent).

Three interceptions thrown by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, two off of deflections, were the only turnovers of the game.

"It wasn't always pretty," Roethlisberger said. "There were times it was but three interceptions is unacceptable.

"At the end of the day, we got a win against a really good football team at their place."

The Steelers improved what had been a 17-point halftime advantage on their first possession of the third, which ended on a 30-yard field goal by kicker Chris Boswell that upped their lead to 27-7.

The Titans answered back with a two-play, 75-yard touchdown march comprised almost entirely by a 73-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to wide receiver A.J. Brown. The catch was made at the Tennessee 35, after which Brown eluded Fitzpatrick and was gone. Gostowski's extra point drew Tennessee to within 27-14.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium

The Titans crept back within to within 10 at 27-17 on a 51-yard Gostkowski field goal with 2:55 left in the third.

Tennessee took over at the Steelers' 30 after a pass by Roethlisberger was tipped by defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons and intercepted by inside linebacker Jayon Brown. But the defense stiffened and forced the Gostkowski attempt after a sack of Tannehill for a 3-yard loss and a couple of incompletions.

The Steelers dominated on third downs in achieving a commanding lead in total net yards, time of possession and on the scoreboard through 30 minutes.

They opened by winning the coin toss, taking the ball and driving it 75 yards for a touchdown in 16 plays that consumed the game's first 9:18. The monster march ended on an 11-yard pass from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Diontae Johnson and included conversions on third-and-3, third-and-11 and two third-and-1s. Boswell's extra point gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead with 5:42 left in the first quarter.

The Steelers' second possession resulted in a second touchdown and a 14-0 advantage.

This time the Steelers drive 61 yards in 13 plays and ate up 7:05. Running back Benny Snell followed just-activated defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux, who had lined up at fullback, around left end for a 1-yard score on second-and-goal. The Steelers moved the chains on third-and-14, third-and-1 and third-and-12 on the way to the end zone. Boswell's extra point made it 14-0 Steelers with 12:16 left in the second quarter.

Tennessee countered with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in 6:50 that cut the Steelers' lead to 14-7. Tannehill finished it on third-and-goal with a 4-yard pass to wide receiver Corey Davis with 5:26 left in the second.

The Steelers finally failed to convert on third down on their eighth opportunity (Roethlisberger threw incomplete for wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster) and settled for a 38-yard field goal by Boswell that ended their third possession and upped their lead to 17-7 with 2:50 left prior to halftime.

The Steelers struck again after wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud's 57-yard punt return set up a first-and-10 at the Tennessee 17. Roethlisberger hit Johnson for another touchdown, this one a catch-and-run, 9-yard connection, on third-and-2. The Steelers' eighth third-down conversion in nine attempts and Boswell's third extra point upped the Steelers' lead to 24-7 with 52 seconds remaining before the break.

The Steelers out-gained the Titans, 228-83, and had a 19:56-10:04 advantage in time of possession in the first two quarters.

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