The Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) head into their bye week with a 5-2 record thanks to a pair of fourth quarter defensive touchdowns as the Steelers beat the Minnesota Vikings (6-1) 27-17 Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
A defense which has failed to hold onto leads for the most part this season, delivered against one of the NFC’s top teams.
Lamarr Woodley returned a Brett Favre fumble 77 yards for a touchdown and linebacker Keyaron Fox ran back an interception 82 yards with a minute remaining in the game to seal the Steelers win.
Fox replaced starting inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons in the second half after Timmons left the game with an ankle injury.
Despite throwing for 334 yards, the Steelers limited Vikings quarterback Brett Favre to zero touchdowns and held the Vikings offense to only 10 points. The inability to score in the red-zone for both prolific offenses turned this game into a defensive battle.
The Steelers went 0-for-3 in the redzone including a costly Rashard Mendenhall fumble in the 4th quarter.
Mendenhall though ran very well, rushing for 69 yards on only 10 carries.
The Vikings went 1-for-5 in the redzone and had two turnovers in Pittsburgh’s territory that were returned for touchdowns.
NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson rushed for 69 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. Peterson also added 60 receiving yards.
The Steelers passing attack had a quiet day but delivered enough big plays to get the win. Roethlisberger was 14 of 26 for 175 yards and one touchdown that included a 40 yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace with 24 seconds remaining in the first half to put the Steelers up 10-7 at the half.
Roethlisberger drove the Steelers 91 yards in a 1:15 on their only touchdown drive. The Steelers ability to add points just before the half was a momentum swing.
Wallace led the Steelers with 73 receiving yards on 3 receptions. Santonio Holmes added two receptions for 59 yards, including a 45 yard reception in the 4th quarter.
Jeff Reed kicked field goals of 39 and 27 yards for the Steelers, just a week after being arrested.
The Steelers head to Denver in two weeks for a Monday night showdown on the road against the 6-0 Denver Broncos in week 9.