"It's been a while since we got a damn win, to be honest with you," defensive end Cam Heyward told reporters after the 17-10 win over the rival Patriots. "Three weeks since our last win, or four weeks?"
They had not won since Nov. 18 in Jacksonville as they suffered through a three-game losing streak.
"They're a great team," Heyward continued. "I always tip my hat to them because they're an old-fashioned team that comes ready to play every week. It was nice to get the win. The last time I got the win (against New England) was 2011, and I wasn't really playing much so this means a little bit more."
The win snapped the Patriots' five-game winning streak against the Steelers. New England is 11-3 in the last 14 meetings with the Steelers.
Pittsburgh remains one-half game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens in the race for the AFC North Division championship.
"I'm not even going to lie to you, No. 1 get that monkey off your back but No. 2, also, we got to position ourselves better," guard Ramon Foster said. "Does it feel good? Will I enjoy it? Yes, but New Orleans is no joke, either."
The Steelers finish their regular-season schedule this coming Sunday at New Orleans and on Dec. 30 against Cincinnati at Heinz Field.
"Munch (offensive line coach Mike Munchak) made a good point, if it takes three games like that losing streak and we win the rest of them, I think we'd all take those three losses and learn from it and go ahead," guard David DeCastro said. "It's a playoff atmosphere now.
"I think it's one of those things where even beating those guys, we haven't been able to beat them in a long time, you feel good but not overjoyed. We gotta go, Baltimore's hot on our tail and we know it's close."
Sunday's win cures a little of the pain felt in the Steelers' previous two games, losing on a last-second field goal at home against the Los Angeles Chargers and with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter Dec. 9 at Oakland.
In the win over New England, it looked like the Steelers would become disappointed again with quarterback Tom Brady getting the ball at the Patriots' 25-yard line with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter and the Patriots trailing by seven.
The Patriots came up empty after reaching the Steelers' 11.
"We want everyone on our team to trust the defense and to be able to trust us in key situations like that," outside linebacker T.J. Watt said. "You guys don't have to worry, we're going to stop them. You don't have to be on the edge of your seat, we're going to make that stop.
"And when you can have the rush and coverage and just trust our guys and lean on them and practice the way we've been practicing; we didn't flinch, we had our backs up against the wall and we made plays."
--CB Joe Haden made a big interception at the Steelers' 4 on New England's second-to-last possession. It was just the fifth time the Steelers had intercepted Tom Brady in 14 games and the seventh interception for the Steelers this season.
--RB Jaylen Samuels had a season-high 19 carries and a season-high 142 rushing yards (Samuels told reporters he never carried the ball 19 times or rushed for 100 yards in high school or college).
--WR Eli Rogers caught four passes on four targets for 20 yards in his 2018 debut. Rogers was added to the 53-man roster on Saturday when offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert was placed on the reserve/injured list).
--RB James Conner, who missed practice last week on Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle sprain, and was limited in practice on Friday, did not play Sunday against New England. He is questionable to play this Sunday at New Orleans.
--WR Ryan Switzer injured his ankle in practice last Friday and was inactive last week. His return this week at New Orleans is questionable.