The Tennessee Titans hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football on October 11, 2012. The Titans had home-field advantage (sort of). They were desperate. They were playing in front of a nationally-televised audience on the NFL Network. The Steelers appeared more vulnerable than they have in recent years. Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley were sidelined with injuries.
The Titans didn't disappoint their fans. They handed the Steelers their third straight road loss in a 26-23 victory. As time expired, Rob Bironas kicked a 40-yard field goal. On the previous possession, Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham came up short on a 54-yard field-goal attempt.
Here are some observations from that contest.
For the second time in three games, Chris Johnson silenced his doubters. Johnson had 19 carries for 91 yards. He also had four receptions for 23 yards. His longest play came on a 13-yard run. This shows that he had a lot of quality runs and not just one big run.
Johnson still left some yards on the field. NFL Network color commentator Mike Mayock pointed out a few times when Johnson hesitated. The one that I remember was on a dump-off pass where Johnson was tackled by James Harrison. Harrison fell down, Johnson kept dancing, Harrison got back up and made the tackle.
Overall, Johnson still played very well. The Titans need him to run with more discipline. Get those four-to-six-yard gains that make it third-and-shorts. That's what this offense really needs. Any "Home run" carries are bonus.
For the Titans to have any chance at victory, I thought they needed a big play from their special teams or defense. That happened at the end of the first quarter. Tim Shaw blocked a punt that was recovered inside the Steelers' one-yard-line. Jamie Harper carried it in for the touchdown. The Titans took a 13-10 lead.
Bironas made all four of his field goals. Brett Kern nailed two of his five punts inside the 20-yard-line. He averaged 52.2 yards per punt. The punt coverage was spectacular. It was another solid performance by Alan Lowry's special teams.
Time of Possession
The Titans won the time-of-possession battle for the first time this season. The Titans ran 69 plays. The Steelers ran 63 plays. The Titans controlled the football for 30:03. The Steelers controlled the football for 29:57.
The Titans' tackling is still atrocious. Akeem Ayers had a couple bad plays in the second half. Matt Hasselbeck had a solid performance. However, there's no chance that this starts a quarterback controversy. Despite the injuries on the Steelers' offensive line, Derrick Morgan was the only player who sacked Ben Roethlisberger. Jared Cook made a big catch on the final drive.
The players have sounded off on Twitter. They've expressed a lot of happiness and joy. They should. However, they have a lot of room for improvement. This definitely wasn't a game where fans can overreact and say "We're winning the rest of our games!" They looked like a 9-7 team.
It's a start though. It's just so nice to see them not get blown out by three touchdowns for once.
The Titans will play the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 21.
Run Offense: B+
Pass Offense: C+
Run Defense: A+
Pass Defense: C
Special Teams: A+
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
Fan's Week 6 NFL Picks Against the Spread: Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Tennessee Titans
- Tennessee Titans
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Chris Johnson
- Chris Johnson
- Troy Polamalu