EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Winless no more, Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers got started on trying to turn the season around.
Roethlisberger threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, Shaun Suisham kicked four field goals, and the Steelers won their first game, a 19-6 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
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. The victory was also the 600th in franchise history, including the postseason, as Pittsburgh became only the fourth team to reach the milestone.
Pittsburgh was coming off a bye-week break 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.
Geno Smith was intercepted twice by a Steelers defense that entered the game as the only team in the league without a take-away. The last came with the Jets (3-3) trailing 19-6. On first down from the Steelers 12, Smith was hit by Jarvis Jones as he threw, and the wobbly pass was picked off by Lawrence Timmons -- sealing the win for Pittsburgh.
Jets running back Mike Goodson appeared to injure his left leg on the interception and needed help off the field. There was no immediate word on the nature or severity of the injury. New York also lost wide receiver Clyde Gates (shoulder), cornerback Kyle Wilson (head) and running back Bilal Powell (shoulder) to injuries.
Roethlisberger finished 23 of 30 for 264 yards. Antonio Brown had nine catches for 86 yards, and Heath Miller caught six passes for 84 yards.
Smith, who was turnover-free at Atlanta while throwing three touchdown passes, was 19 of 34 for 201 yards.
Sanders gave Pittsburgh a 16-6 lead just 2:30 into the second half with his 55-yard grab. On a third-and-1 play, he got in front of Antonio Cromartie and was wide open as Roethlisberger's throw landed right in his hands. Sanders sprinted the remaining 20 yards untouched before doing a leaping somersault into the end zone.
Pittsburgh got its first take-away of the season -- a span of 18-plus quarters -- on the Jets' next possession. Ryan Clark picked off Smith's throw to Konrad Reuland into triple coverage in the red zone.
A 32-yard field goal from Suisham early in the fourth quarter made it 19-6. Pittsburgh had first-and-goal from the 2, but the Jets made a nice goal-line stand that included David Harris' sack of Brown -- who took a pitch from Roethlisberger on third down and was looking to throw as he did earlier in the game.
Smith led a nice scoring drive just before halftime, helped by a terrific 20-yard catch by Stephen Hill, who held onto the ball despite Troy Polamalu's shoulder plowing into his chest. Nick Folk kicked a 39-yard field goal with 2 seconds left to make it 9-6.