EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Pittsburgh Steelers were tired of seeing that dreaded zero in the win column.
Now, they’ve got one. 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.
The victory was the 600th in franchise history, including the postseason, as Pittsburgh became the fourth team to reach the milestone and the first from the AFC.
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 three 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.
‘‘We knew going in that team was coming off two weeks’ preparation and we would get their very best,’’ Jets coach Rex Ryan said. ‘‘That’s a very prideful team and we got their best.”
It could be a costly loss for the Jets. Running back Bilal Powell (shoulder), wide receiver Clyde Gates (shoulder), cornerback Kyle Wilson (head), and running back Mike Goodson (knee) all left and didn’t return. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injuries. The Jets host the Patriots next Sunday.
‘‘They outplayed us,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘We have to play with more consistency, obviously. We’re striving for consistency and we’re not quite there.
‘‘We have to get there in a hurry.’’
Roethlisberger finished 23 of 30 for 264 yards. Smith, who was turnover-free at Atlanta while throwing for three TDs, was 19 of 34 for 201 yards.