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Pittsburgh show their Steel to drive AFC race

The Steelers ran away from the Titans on Thursday Night Football.

The Steelers had too much firepower for the Titans last night.
The Steelers had too much firepower for the Titans last night.
Image: Keith Srakocic/PA Images

BEN ROETHLISBERGER THREW four touchdown passes, three to Antonio Brown, and the Pittsburgh Steelers routed the Tennessee Titans 40-17 in a Thursday matchup of NFL division leaders.

The Steelers improved to 8-2, moving 3.5 games ahead of Baltimore atop the AFC North division, while Tennessee fell to 6-4, dropping one-half game behind Jacksonville in the AFC South.

Roethlisberger completed 30-of-45 passes for 299 yards without an interception while Brown caught 10 passes for 144 yards as the Steelers enjoyed their highest-scoring game of the season.

“We clicked in the redzone. We came out and made some great plays,” Brown said. “Any time we’re throwing the ball like that you know we’re going to score a lot of points. We had a great performance.”

Pittsburgh intercepted four passes, the most in a single game for the Steelers in 20 years, and sacked Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota five times. The Steelers defenders had not produced so many pickoffs and sacks together in a game since 1984.

Mariota connected with Rishard Matthews on a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter to pull the visiting Titans within 16-14.

Roethlisberger answered with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brown, lifting the Steelers ahead 23-14 before Ryan Succop’s 44-yard field goal pulled the Titans within six.

But “Big Ben” struck for two more touchdown passes in the first 2:48 of the fourth quarter, the 35-year-old signal caller flipping a 1-yarder to Jesse James and a spectacular 10-yarder to Brown to boost Pittsburgh’s advantage to 37-17.

Brown hauled in the scoring toss by grabbing the ball with his left hand and holding it against the side of his helmet as he fell to the ground.

“Ben is a Hall of Fame quarterback and he’s going to put the ball where you can catch it,” Brown said. “They did a great job getting the ball to me. I’m humbled and thankful.”

Boswell added a 26-yard field goal to create the final victory margin.

Roethlisberger connected with Brown on a 41-yard touchdown pass only 2:35 into the game to open the scoring and Chris Boswell added a 41-yard field goal just 2:44 later to give Pittsburgh a 10-0 lead.

Mariota answered on a 7-yard touchdown run to pull the Titans within 10-7 after the first quarter.

But Mariota threw an interception to set up a 28-yard Boswell field goal with 94 seconds remaining in the second quarter, then the Steelers forced a punt and Boswell added a 50-yard field goal to give Pittsburgh a 16-7 edge at half-time.

(C) AFP 2017

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