TNF: PITTSBURGH STEELERS vs TENNESSEE TITANS
PITTSBURGH STEELERS vs TENNESSEE TITANS
By: Robert L. Porter Jr.
This week Thursday night football has two division leaders getting ready to square off. The 7-2 Steelers host the 6-3 Titans. The Wiley veteran against the up and coming young gun, the Roethlisberger vs Mariota dynamic will be one to keep an eye on as Mariota and the Titans are trying to take Pittsburgh’s #1 spot in the AFC.
The Steelers receive the kick to start this one off. Big Ben completes a few passes to move into Titans territory then like clock work, Ben uses the hard count and draws Tennessee offsides. With that free play he finds Antonio Brown on a 41 yard TD pass to get the scoring underway just 2:35 into the contest, Pittsburgh sprints out to the 7-0 lead. The Titans first drive couldn’t have went any worse. After 2 plays to DeMarco Murray, Mariota has a 3rd & 8 and he air mails a pass that’s intercepted by Mike Hilton. The turnover sets the Steelers up deep in Tennessee’s side of the field but the Titans defense is able to hold the Steelers to a Chris Boswell 41 yard field goal making the score 10-0. Rishard Matthews hauled in two passes on the Titans next possession, with him as the focal point the drive moved down the field and was capped off with a 7 yard TD run my Marcus Mariota to make the score 10-7. Two short James Connor runs and an incomplete pass to Ju Ju Smith-Schuster forces Pittsburgh into a quick 3 & out and a punt. Two catches by Eric Decker takes the Titans into Steelers territory as the first quarter comes to a close
To start quarter number 2 a pass to Delanie Walker comes up inches short on 3rd down but a Mariota QB keeper picks it up on 4th to continue the drive. After a few more Plays the drive stalls and Ryan Succop comes in to attempt a 48 yard field goal but rookie T.J. Watt breaks through the line and blocks the kick. The Steelers take over after a very good Titans drive ends with no points. Big Ben isn’t able to muster any offense after the blocked kick as they go 3 & out but Tennessee does the same and punts back to the Steelers. The fast pace that this game started with seems to have slowed down drastically. After getting possession from Pittsburgh, another good Tennessee drive ends with nothing as Mariota throws his 2nd INT of the game. The pick its returned to the 20 yard line. Pittsburgh is in business and looking for more points as we hit the 2 minute warning. They get into a goal to go situation but are unable to get into the end zone. Boswell bangs the 28 yarder to make it 13-7 just before the half. After the kickoff t mm Tennessee plays it conservative and Pittsburgh uses their timeouts to preserve the clock as they force Tennessee to punt. With 1:11 remaining Big Ben takes the field. A nice pass from Roethlisberger to Brown puts the Steelers at the edge of field goal range. They wouldn’t gain anymore ground but no worries, Chris Boswell would hit a 50 yard field goal to make it 16-7 with 18 seconds left until the intermission. A knee after the kick ends the quarter.
On the first play of the 2nd half, Rishard Matthews goes 75 yards on a deep pass by Mariota down the middle of the field to make the score 14-16. After the Titans quick strike Ben comes out using the short game to fly down the field and he ends this drive with a 5 yard slant to Antonio Brown for a TD to push their lead to 9 points again. 23-14 Steelers. Tennessee seems to have found something in the middle of the Steelers secondary because a big Mariota pass to Walker has the Titans in scoring position again. After a horrible drop by Walker in the end zone then an equally horrible sack taken by Mariota on 3rd down they have to settle for a 44 yard kick from Succop, he makes it and the score is now 23-17. The Steelers fed LeVeon Bell on their next drive and on the final play of the quarter be runs the ball for 7 yards, putting them at the 1 yard line.
To start our final quarter from the 1 yard line, Ben finds Jesse James for the 1 yard TD moving the score to 30-17. Tennessee goes 3 and out on their first 4th quarter possession. After retaking possession, A simple up and out to Antonio Brown takes the Steelers deep into Titans territory. Almost instantly, Ben finds Brown for his 3rd TD catch to bust this one wide open, Mike Tomlin’s group leads 37-17. A couple positive plays by Tennessee to start their next possession is put in the trash as Mariota throws his 3rd interception of the game. Pittsburgh takes the field and uses the running game and short passing game to burn the clock and drove the field. Boswell hits his 4th field goal to make it 40-17. With Mariota in desperation mode and trying to get some points before this one ends, he is picked off for the 4th time in this one as the Steelers back ups come in to salt this one away. The Steelers play one of their most complete games of the season in the bright lights of Thursday night.
STARS OF THE GAME
Ben Roethlisberger – 30/45 299 yards 4 TDs
Antonio Brown – 10 rec 144 yards 3 TDs
LeVeon Bell – 21 touches 103 total yards
Pittsburgh Defense – 5 sacks and 4 INTs
Rishard Matthews – 5 rec 113 yards 1 TD
Delanie Walker – 6 rec 92 yards
STEELERS 40 – TITANS 17