East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Off to their worst start in 45 years, the Pittsburgh Steelers finally broke into the win column thanks in part to a pair of interceptions that thwarted potential touchdowns.
Shaun Suisham kicked four field goals and Ben Roethlisberger connected with Emmanuel Sanders on a long touchdown pass, as the Steelers beat the Jets, 19-6, at MetLife Stadium.
Roethlisberger completed 23-of-30 passes for 264 yards for the Steelers (1-4), who were coming off their bye week and lost their first four games since 1968. They still have a ways to go to turn around their season, but on Sunday Mike Tomlin's squad used a strong ball-control offense to come away with a win. Antonio Brown caught nine passes for 86 yards for Pittsburgh, which held the ball for nearly 36 minutes.
"Hopefully this is a springboard of things to come," Tomlin said of the team's first win. "That's going to be our intentions as we go back and look at this."
Only the 1992 San Diego Chargers have begun a season 0-4 and still made the playoffs.
Geno Smith was picked off twice in the red zone and finished 19-of-34 for 201 yards. Nick Folk kicked a pair of field goals for the Jets (3-3), who will host AFC East rival New England next Sunday.
New York totaled 267 yards on offense.
"I think sometimes you have to credit that defense over there," Jets head coach Rex Ryan remarked. "Obviously they did a better job of executing than we did."
Folk kicked a 25-yard field goal with 3:25 left in the opening quarter after the drive stalled at the Pittsburgh 2. On 3rd-and-1, the Steelers bottled up Bilal Powell for no gain, leading to Folk's kick.
Suisham's 46-yard kick early in the second tied the score on a march Roethlisberger kept alive with a 16-yard connection to Brown on 3rd-and-15.
A 33-yard boot by Suisham with 5:25 left until halftime boosted the Steelers to a 6-3 edge. The kick came after Brown dropped a potential catch in the front right corner of the end zone.
It became a six-point lead when Suisham kicked a 48-yard field goal in the final minute, but Smith engineered the Jets 51 yards down the field prior to the half. His right sideline pass to Stephen Hill, which resulted in a 20-yard gain came prior to Folk's 39-yard field goal with two seconds remaining. Hill was sent hard to the ground by safety Troy Polamalu, who delivered a helmet hit to the upper body.
The Steelers widened their lead to 16-6 only 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter when Roethlisberger found a wide open Sanders, who beat Antonio Cromartie in coverage for a 55-yard score. Sanders displayed a celebratory flip as he crossed the goal line.
Pittsburgh then denied Smith on a try for the end zone when Ryan Clark came up with an interception at the 1.
The Jets managed to keep the Steelers within two touchdowns when Suisham settled for a 32-yard field goal less than three minutes into the fourth. That capped a 12-play, 65-yard drive, which was aided by a 25-yard pass interference on Cromartie.
New York failed to move the ball past midfield in the final quarter until there was under four minutes left. Smith, under pressure from linebacker Jarvis Jones, made an ill-advised pass over the middle into the arms of linebacker Lawrence Timmons at the 3 with 2:59 left.
The Steelers ran out most of the remaining time.
The Steelers host Baltimore next Sunday ... Pittsburgh came into the game not having forced a turnover all season ... The Steelers lead the all-time series, 17-4, against the Jets. This was Pittsburgh's first road victory against the Jets since the 2000 regular season ... The Steelers recorded their 600th win in franchise history, including the postseason. They are just the fourth team in NFL history to accomplish the feat and first in the AFC.