Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense rebounded from a historically bad performance with a 23-10 win over the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field.
The contest featured a matchup between struggling teams that entered play on two-game losing streaks.
Pittsburgh was coming off a 55-31 shellacking at New England, with the Patriots' point total the highest allowed by the Steelers in their history.
Facing Buffalo rookie quarterback EJ Manuel proved to be the remedy for the unit.
Roethlisberger, meanwhile, shook off an interception on the game's opening drive to throw for 204 yards on 18-of-30 passing. Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell added a rushing touchdown for the Steelers (3-6).
"Yes, it really was. It's what they're capable of and it's the type of men we have," Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said when asked if he expected this kind of bounce-back performance from his club.
Manuel, playing for the first time since suffering an LCL injury in his right knee back in Week 5, completed 22-of-39 passes for 155 yards with an interception and a short touchdown toss to Chris Gragg with three seconds remaining in the game.
"Obviously, this isn't the way I wanted to come back," said Manuel.
The Steelers improved to 17-2 against rookie signal-callers since 2004.
Buffalo wide receiver Stevie Johnson had 48 yards on three receptions before leaving with a groin injury.
The Bills (3-7) have posted only one win in nine all-time regular-season trips to Pittsburgh.
Free safety Jairus Byrd picked off Roethlisberger at the Buffalo 14 early in the contest and his return covered 57 yards. The Bills settled for a 20-yard field goal after Manuel's third-down attempt from the one fell incomplete.
The remainder of the first quarter was a punt fest.
Pittsburgh finally sustained a drive at the outset of the second quarter. With the Steelers at midfield, Bell took a direct snap and handed it off to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who ran around the left end for a 25-yard gain. Roethlisberger guided the club to the Buffalo 7, but was sacked on third down, resulting in a game-tying 36-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham.
The Steelers maintained their rhythm on their next possession. Jerricho Cotchery caught a 5-yard TD to cap a 9-play, 86-yard drive with 1:55 remaining before halftime.
In the third quarter, Antonio Brown returned a punt 24 yards to the Pittsburgh 42 and hauled in a 40-yard downfield strike from Roethlisberger on first down. The Steelers then lined up for a field goal on 4th-and-3 from the Buffalo 11, but Marcell Dareus was flagged for encroachment, giving Pittsburgh a fresh set of downs.
After a short toss by Roethlisberger, Bell powered his way up the middle and into the end zone from four yards out.
Suisham made two more field goals in the fourth quarter. The first one was set up by safety Ryan Clark's 37-yard interception return and a 50-yard punt return by Brown preceded the second kick.
Brown had 104 yards on six receptions ... Bell rushed 22 times for 57 yards and caught three passes for 39 yards ... Fred Jackson paced the Bills' ground attack with 55 yards on 12 carries ... Buffalo's Brian Moorman punted the ball nine times ... The Bills were 3-for-14 on third down.