EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Pittsburgh Steelers were tired of seeing that dreadful zero in the win column.
Now, they’ve got one victory. They think this could be only the beginning.
Ben Roethlisberger threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, Shaun Suisham kicked four field goals, and the Steelers won their first game by beating the New York Jets 19-6 on Sunday.
“We’re not going to quit,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “Obviously, it wasn’t the start we wanted, but the men in this locker room believe there’s a chance that something great could come out of this if we all work toward it.”
The Steelers (1-4) were off to their worst start since 1968, when they lost their first six games during a season in which they finished 2-11-1.
“Oh, it’s big,” Roethlisberger said.
The victory was also the 600th in franchise history, including the postseason, as Pittsburgh became only the fourth team to reach the milestone and the first from the AFC.
“It’s tough because when you have that zero, your mind automatically goes to, ‘Let’s get this first win,”’ safety Ryan Clark said. “Now, you’re just trying to win each game and there’s not as much pressure on each and every play.”
Pittsburgh was coming off a bye after last playing two weeks ago in London, a 34-27 loss to Minnesota at Wembley Stadium. The Steelers appeared quite a bit sharper than New York, which had a short week to prepare after a 30-28 win at Atlanta last Monday night.
“I think getting away (helped), having a bye and everyone looking in the mirror, to see what you can do to help this team win,” said Keisel, who left with a rib injury but doesn’t expect to be sidelined.
Geno Smith was intercepted twice by a Steelers defense that entered as the only team without a takeaway. The last came with the Jets (3-3) at the Steelers 12 with just over 3 minutes left when Smith was hit by Jarvis Jones as he threw. The wobbly pass was picked off by Lawrence Timmons — sealing the win for Pittsburgh.