NASHVILLE – The Pittsburgh Steelers stand alone as the AFC's last undefeated team thanks to a dominant start and a bit of late luck.
Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to Diontae Johnson, and the Steelers remained perfect by holding off Tennessee for a 27-24 victory Sunday in a game postponed three weeks after the Titans came down with the NFL's first COVID-19 outbreak of the season.
In a matchup of the conference's two remaining unbeaten teams, the Titans rallied by scoring 17 unanswered points after being smothered in the first half. But they failed to complete the comeback when Stephen Gostkowski, who made a 51-yard field goal earlier, missed wide right from 45 yards with 14 seconds left, sending the Steelers running around the field in celebration.
"Oh, man. I mean, I was surprised he missed it," Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said. "Our idea was to go into overtime. A good kicker. It's tough. It's good for us."
The Steelers improved to 6-0 for their best start since 1978, when Pittsburgh won its first seven on the way to the Super Bowl. This was only the fifth time undefeated teams had met in Week 7 or later, and the winner of the previous four all made the Super Bowl.
"We feel we have a really good football team," Roethlisberger said. "We feel we can be really special. … That's going to be a short-lived happiness because we know what's coming next."
What comes next? A matchup with the rival Ravens.
"We are perfect from a record standpoint, and so we respect that," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "We realize that we've got AFC North ball on next week on the road."
Pittsburgh outgained Tennessee 362-292 and held the NFL's second-best scoring offense under 31 points for the first time since Week 1. But the Titans had won four of their first five games by rallying in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime, and they appeared ready to add another.
Gostkowski had won the first three games this season for Tennessee with late field goals. But he missed from less than 50 yards for the fifth time in 11 kicks this season; he is 5-for-5 from 50 and beyond.
"Just very disappointed to let the team down like that," Gostkowski said. "I was confident going out there but didn't get it done."