The Steelers easily could have the lead, but they instead trail 17-14 after the first 30 minutes.
Pittsburgh tied the Saints 14-14 with 40 seconds remaining in the first half. The tying points came a 3-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Jaylen Samuels followed by a Roethlisberger completion to Eli Rogers on the two-point try.
But Drew Brees drove the Saints 40 yards in four plays to set up a Wil Lutz 43-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half.
New Orleans, though, is lucky to be ahead, with the Steelers gaining 194 yards already.
The Steelers settled for a 30-yard Chris Boswell field goal after reaching the New Orleans 12 on one drive. Defensively, Pittsbugh saw cornerback Joe Haden called for a questionable pass interference penalty on Alvin Kamara in the end zone on a fourth-down prayer thrown by Brees.
Roethlisberger went 16-of-25 for 160 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Samuels had eight carries for 32 yards. Antonio Brown caught five passes for 63 yards.
Brees is 12-of-16 for 151 yards, and backup quarterback Taysom Hill threw an interception in the end zone on his only attempt. Michael Thomas has five catches for 74 yards.