|Date of game: 9/29/2013
Recap: Minnesota vs. Pittsburgh
London, England (Sports Network) - Adrian Peterson helped the Minnesota Vikings temporarily right the ship in their trip overseas to London.
And the defense finally held onto a second-half lead as they clocked Big Ben again and again.
Peterson ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings' 34-27 win over the Steelers, sending Pittsburgh to its first 0-4 start since 1968.
Only the 1992 San Diego Chargers have begun a season 0-4 and still made the playoffs.
"We are in unchartered territory and the water is dangerous right now, so we have to stick together and get out of it," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.
The Steelers trailed 34-17 heading into the fourth quarter, but fought back and had possession of the football at its own 22-yard line with 1:50 left and down by a touchdown.
Roethlisberger, who was 36-of-51 for 383 yards with a touchdown and interception, drove the Steelers to the Minnesota 6-yard line in the final seconds. Everson Griffen, though, sacked Roethlisberger and forced a fumble on 3rd-and-goal. Minnesota's Kevin Williams fell on top of the ball and Matt Cassel took a knee to seal the outcome for the Vikings (1-3).
"It feels great to get our first home win of the season," Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said. "And we had to come all the way to London to get it. I think I'll always have a special place in my heart for Wembley Stadium."
No team has made the playoffs after an 0-3 start since the Buffalo Bills in 1998. Only five of 161 squads to open a year with three straight losses since 1978 have reached the postseason.
Greg Jennings hauled in a 70-yard touchdown among his two scores for the Vikings, who sacked Roethlisberger five times. Peterson broke off a 60-yard touchdown run and Jerome Simpson caught seven passes for 124 yards in the win.
Jared Allen had 2 1/2 of Minnesota's sack total.
Cassel filled in for an injured Christian Ponder, who has a rib fracture, and was 16-of-25 for 248 yards and two touchdowns in the triumph.
Le'Veon Bell ran for two scores in his NFL debut for Pittsburgh. The rookie, who had missed the first three games of the season with a foot injury he sustained in the preseason, carried the ball 16 times for 57 yards.
Antonio Brown tallied 12 catches for 88 yards in defeat, while Jerricho Cotchery hauled in five receptions for 103 yards.
"We came up short, but we played better than we have in recent weeks," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said.
The highly-respected Steelers defense has yet to force a turnover this season.
After Bell's 1-yard TD plunge on Pittsburgh's opening possession of the third quarter brought the Steelers within 20-17, the Vikings responded with a pair of scores in a 2:40 span.
Cassel hooked up with Simpson for a 51-yard gain over the middle of the field on the third play of the Vikings' ensuing drive, which set up a Peterson 7-yard TD scamper.
After Chad Greenway intercepted Roethlisberger on the fourth play of Pittsburgh's next sequence, Cassel found Jennings in the back of the end zone two snaps later for a 16-yard score to make it 34-17.
Cotchery's 15-yard TD reception early in the fourth pulled Pittsburgh within 10, and after Blair Walsh missed wide left on a 44-yard field goal for Minnesota, Shaun Suisham booted through a 28-yard field with 3:40 left to whittle the deficit to 34-27.
Earlier, Walsh nailed a 54-yard field goal on the opening march of the game, and following a Pittsburgh punt, Jennings broke off his 70-yard catch-and-run for a score to stake the Vikings to a 10-0 lead.
On the play, Cassel hit Jennings for five yards on a stop route. Jennings then made a quick spin to the inside to elude Cortez Allen and then broke free from William Gay before racing down the middle of the field for a touchdown.
Bell flipped in for his first NFL touchdown, an 8-yard score, on Pittsburgh's next sequence.
Peterson, who had six runs for just 17 yards in the first quarter, broke off his 60-yard run for a touchdown on the first play of Minnesota's fifth possession, which gave the Vikings a 17-7 cushion early in the second quarter.
The Steelers answered with an elongated 15-play series that took 9:03 off the clock, but stalled inside the Vikings' 5-yard line as Suisham split the uprights from 26 yards out.
Walsh nailed a 37-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the half to give Minnesota a 20-10 edge heading into the break.Game Notes
The Vikings were 4-of-11 on third down, while the Steelers finished 8-of-15 in
those situations ... The Steelers held the ball for 36:27 ... Minnesota
committed five penalties for 89 yards.