Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes on Sunday to spark Pittsburgh over the New York Giants 24-20 in an NFL game played with Hurricane Sandy's devastation as a backdrop.
With the New York area still recovering from the killer storm's damage and shelter and electricity not yet restored for many, the Steelers decided not to fill precious hotel rooms and travelled in and out of the area on Sunday.
"The first thing was to make sure we weren't going to do anything to interfere with public safety or use resources that would help in the recovery," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.
"We talked to a lot of people and they all said they needed something to re-energise, something to entertain."
Roethlisberger flipped a 4-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders early in the second quarter to open the scoring but the Giants equalised on a scoring drive capped by Andre Brown's 1-yard touchdown run.
On the next Steelers' possession, "Big Ben" was hit while trying to pass and New York's Michael Boley recovered the fumble and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. Video replay upheld the ruling that it was not an incomplete pass.
Shaun Suisham kicked a 30-yard field goal on the last play of the second quarter to cut New York's half-time lead to 14-10, but Scotsman Lawrence Tynes answered from 23 and 50 yards for the Giants to boost their edge to 20-10.
Roethlisberger found Mike Wallace on a short crossing pass and the receiver completed a 51-yard touchdown play to pull with Steelers within 20-17 and Isaac Redman scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 4:02 remaining.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he was disappointed in letting down fans that needed a lift following the storm.
"We wanted emotionally so badly to win the game for obvious reasons, for all our neighbours who are struggling and who need some type of inspiration," Coughlin said after the team blew a 10-point lead in a 24-20 loss by allowing two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
"Of course, we didn't provide it for them. This is not the kind of game we had planned to play."
Andrew Luck broke the NFL's single-game rookie record by throwing for 433 yards in the Indianapolis Colts' 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Luck was 30 of 48 with two TDs and broke Cam Newton's previous mark of 422 yards set last season.
Miami got another strong performance from Ryan Tannehill. He went 22 of 38 for 290 yards with one TD.
The rookie quarterbacks traded jabs all day, but Luck's 36-yard touchdown pass to TY Hilton gave the Colts a 20-17 lead, and Adam Vinatieri's 43-yard field goal with six minutes left broke a 20-20 tie.
Marshawn Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown, rookie QB Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdowns, and the Seattle Seahawks overcame 182 yards rushing by Adrian Peterson in a 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The matchup between the top two rushers in the NFL - Peterson and Lynch - did not disappoint, with Peterson having his best game since 2008.
Lynch ran for a 3-yard TD in the third quarter, while Wilson threw TD passes of 11 yards to Sidney Rice, and TDs of 6 and 11 yards to Golden Tate for the Seahawks.
Peterson and the Vikings had 197 yards rushing in the first half, but only had 46 yards rushing in the second half. Quarterback Christian Ponder was 11 of 22 for 63 yards.
"I thought it was the kind of day that we needed to start the second half," Pete Carroll, the Seattle coach, said afterwards.
"We put a lot of pressure on our guys to play well today and to get things done and get this thing going."
Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes to inspire the Denver Broncos to a 31-23 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Trindon Holliday also returned a kickoff and a Broncos record 105 yards for a touchdown.
Manning threw a pair of interceptions - one in the end zone - that led to 10 points and a 20-17 Cincinnati lead early in the fourth quarter.
But the four-time MVP got his act together to cement the Broncos' position at the top of the AFC West.
The Cleveland Browns remain top of the AFC North after their 25-15 comeback victory over the division's bottom side the Baltimore Ravens.
Joe Flacco threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith with just over four minutes remaining to complete the fightback.
Smith caught Flacco's strike and spun away from cornerback Joe Haden as the Ravens beat the Browns for the 10th consecutive time.
Phil Dawson kicked five field goals for the Browns, who were again competitive but failed to score a touchdown on five trips inside Baltimore's 20-yard line.
The Chicago Bears' superb season continued with a convincing victory over the Tennessee Titans.
Brian Urlacher became the latest Chicago defender to return an interception for a touchdown and Jay Cutler threw three touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall as the Bears routed the Titans 51-20.
Cornerback Charles Tillman forced four fumbles and Chicago created five turnovers on the way to their sixth straight victory.
The Bears scored a franchise-record 28 points in the first quarter. They took control by forcing three turnovers in the first 13 minutes and turning them into 14 points. Urlacher went 46 yards for his score.
Tennessee's only highlight was when Chris Johnson scored on an 80-yard run in the fourth quarter.
"It has to be upsetting when you know our reputation coming in," admitted Lovie Smith, the Chicago coach.
"It's not like it's the first one we've done. Every team we've played has the mindset that this team will strip the ball. That's who we are."
The Green Bay Packers' 31-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals left the visitors nursing their fifth straight loss.
Tom Crabtree had a 72-yard touchdown that was Green Bay's longest of the season and Randall Cobb added two scoring catches.
The Packers finished with a season-high 176 yards rushing on 39 carries.
James Jones also had a touchdown reception, his career-high eighth of the season.
Matt Schaub threw two touchdown passes and Arian Foster ran for 111 yards in the Houston Texan's 21-9 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Andre Johnson caught eight passes for 118 yards and Foster scored for the fifth straight game for Houston.
Schaub won for the 10th time in 11 starts. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 268 yards and threw multiple TD passes for the second straight game.
The Jacksonville Jaguars' miserable season continued at the Detroit Lions. The Jaguars have won only once this season and went down 31-14 to the Lions.
Mikel Leshoure ran for three touchdowns in the first half - the first in franchise history to do so - finishing with 70 yards rushing.
Calvin Johnson had five receptions for 99 yards before the Jaguars even recorded a first down.
The battle between two teams at the bottom of their divisions finished with the Carolina Panthers beating the Washington Redskins 21-13.
Cam Newton completed 13 of 23 passes for 201 yards with a touchdown and ran eight times for 37 yards and a score as the Panthers ended a five-game losing streak.
Newton had one of his best games of the season, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith and an 82-yard completion that set up a score.
Robert Griffin III was 23 for 39 for 215 yards, ran 11 times for 53 yards and was sacked four times as the Redskins lost their third straight game.
Michael Turner had a tiebreaking three-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Matt Bryant kicked four field goals and the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19-13 to extend their run as the NFL's only unbeaten team.
Turner had 20 carries for 102 yards and Matt Ryan had a season-high 342 yards passing for the Falcons, who took their first lead on Turner's TD with 14:21 left in the game.
Tony Romo completed six of six passes for 78 yards, including a 21-yard scoring pass to Kevin Ogletree, on the Cowboys' touchdown drive later in the fourth.