Al Del Greco kicked his third field goal, a 29-yarder, with four seconds left as the Titans rallied for a 9-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, stretching their winning streak to eight straight.
"As long as we're getting the wins, we can't complain about how we're winning or by how many points we're winning by," receiver Derrick Mason said.
The Titans improved to 8-1 for the first time in franchise history by overcoming their own mistakes. It looked like they would lose their first game since moving to Adelphia Coliseum when they hurt themselves with a season-high 14 penalties for 115 yards.
But Steve McNair took control just in time. He connected with Mason on three separate passes, the biggest a 17-yard completion on fourth-and-8 at the Pittsburgh 42 with 2:12 remaining.
"Thank God for second chances, that's all," Del Greco said.
Tennessee now has a 2 1/2-game lead in the AFC Central and has beaten Pittsburgh seven straight times in the series.
"When you've won eight straight games, you're going to have one of these types of games. Lucky for us, we would like to think that we have had it today," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
Krdell Stewart put the Steelers (5-4) up 7-6 when he found tight end Mark Bruener across the middle for a 30-yard touchdown with 8:27 remaining.
The Steelers had a chance to extend their own winning streak to six straight when they got the ball back with 4:38 to go. But they couldn't run the clock out, going three-and-out and giving the ball back less than a minute later.
"We didn't come here for consolation prizes," Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said.
McNair was 20-of-31 for 227 yards passing and added 50 yards rushing on five carries. Mason had a season-high eight catches for 92 yards.
The Titans kept themselves from turning the game into a rout.
Penalties kept McNair from having an even bigger day, wiping out 48 yards passing to tight end Frank Wycheck alone. After eight penalties in the first half, McNair tried to shake the Titans out of their doldrums with the first halftime talk of his career.
"It's very frustrating when you get this thing going, and all of a sudden you make a big play and look back and see a flag," McNair said.
Pittsburgh's defense stretched its streak to 20 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown, but the Titans failed to get into the end zone despite five straight trips inside the Steelers 20. Tennessee finished with 364 yards total offense compared to just 167 for the Steelers.
The Titans held the ball for more than 39 minutes, sacked Stewart twice and forced two turnovers.
Cowher said that Stewart, whose four starts this season have been on the road, will start next week against Philadelphia. But he said he isn't sure how to get his offense going.
"I wish I had the answer. The one thing you've got to take into account is we've played some pretty good defenses," Cowher said.
The Titans' best chance at a TD came when McNair tossed a 13-yarder to Chris Sanders early in the fourth quarter. Sanders had to jump over Chad Scott to pull the ball in, but only got his right foot down in bounds.
Tennessee settled for field goals of 21 and 31 yards from Del Greco.
©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed