The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Tennessee Titans 26-23 Thursday night and below are my first half notes from the game with the second half notes to follow soon.
On the first offensive snap, Nate Washington runs away from Keenan Lewis on a crossing pattern off of play-action. On second down Ike Taylor has good inside position on Kenny Britt and he runs him into the sideline. What many did not see on the play is that Brett Keisel had a hit on Matt Hasselbeck, which may of rushed the throw. The next completion to Britt is a great back shoulder throw by Hasselbeck and it is hard to fault Taylor for that one. On the deep ball to Damien Williams that resulted in pass interference, it was a case of Taylor allowing the receiver inside of him. Had Taylor not turned him, it would have been a tough catch for Williams to make. James Harrison does a good job on the sack and gets his left arm under the left arm of Michael Roos to give himself the corner. Jason Worilds cleans it up with a good effort on the other side after hitting the ground. Lewis catches a break on third down as the ball goes through the hands of Kendall Wright. The Titans catch a break on the field goal doink. 3-0 Titans.
Great blocking on the kickoff return of Chris Rainey. Antonio Brown was blanketed on first down on the deep ball and Maurkice Pouncey is down and out for the game on the play. Why not use play-action on the play? Max Starks allows pressure on 2nd down but Ben Roethlisberger escapes and finds Heath Miller. It was all Isaac Redman on the 3rd down reception as he runs away from the linebacker. There should have been a facemask call at the end of the play. Both Miller and Marcus Gilbert allowed pressures on the play. Mike Wallace drops the ball in the endzone, but likely would have been out of bounds. Roethlisberger initially wanted Will Johnson in the flat but the pressure allowed by Gilbert might have disrupted the passing lane. The Steelers settle for a field goal. 3-3.
Great pass breakup by Ryan Clark on the crossing route to Craig Stevens with Will Allen in trail. Steelers get a three and out.
The DeMarcus Van Dyke penalty on the punt was stupid. He allowed his man to streak by him for good position. Roethlisberger hits Wallace, who is singled up outside, as the Titans are in zone with deep thirds coverage. Wallace just runs by Jason McCourty and the ball is thrown perfectly. 10-3 Steelers.
Good tackle by Larry Foote on the Hasselbeck scramble saves extra yardage and Foote follows it up with a run stop on 2nd down. On 3rd down the Titans run a fake bubble screen to Chris Johnson which freezes Taylor, who in turn holds Britt. Will Allen makes a nice hit to jar the ball loose, but Britt gets the ball back. Allen suffers a stinger on the play. Harrison does a great job of tackling Johnson on the next screen after slipping on his break. Lewis gets his left hand inside nicely for the pass breakup on 3rd down and the Titans have settle for the field goal. 10-6 Steelers.
Ramon Foster misses the block on 2nd down which results in a run loss. The blocking on the left side was not good either. Roethlisberger throws behind Brown on third down and the Steelers are forced to punt. Not a great series by the offense and a breakdown in protection on the punt results in a block and the Titans are in business at the Steelers one.
The Titans score two running plays later. 13-10 Titans.
Roethlisberger misses Redman on screen on 3rd down as the ball is tipped at the line of scrimmage. The play might have been good for a first down, but instead the offense goes three and out again and the Titans have good momentum now.
Lewis makes a good play on second and long to get underneath Washington to force a third down. On third down it is Cortez Allen with great underneath coverage. The play wouldn\'t have stood if completed, though, as the Titans were flagged for an illegal formation on the play. The result is the Titans punt.
Gilbert allows pressure on the third down play of the next drive but Roethlisberger escapes and converts to Miller. Gilbert is injured on the play. The Titans only rushed three on the play, but still got pressure. Great block on the screen to Rashard Mendenhall by Jerricho Cotchery that gives the Steelers a first down. The offense is throwing a lot of screens on this drive. Mike Adams fails on his cut block on third down and it results in a sack. Foster also allowed hands inside of him on the play and Starks had problems on his side as well. The drive stalls.
Lewis gets enough of a jam on Britt on first down to interrupt the timing of the quick slant, but Britt still should have made the catch. Lewis blows up the screen on the next play as he fights through the block of Jared Cook. Keisel gets pressure on a third down x stunt and Worilds cleans it up. On the play Harrison and Ziggy Hood to a good job occupying blockers on the play.
The Steelers still cant get anything going on offense and go three and out.
After the Titans have some success running the ball on the back side cut using the zone blocking scheme, Allen makes a nice tackle on a third down reception to force the punt. Allen drove through the tackle with great technique. The Steelers offense get the ball back with just under two minutes left in the half.
Redman breaks free on a reception after Roethlisberger escapes pressure allowed by Willie Colon. Roethlisberger forces it on the next pass as it is on a rail and picked off. McCourty does a good job at widening Brown on the play and an even better job at getting into position to make the pick. This one is all on Roethlisberger and points are not to be had as a result.
Allen makes a nice play on a pass in the deep middle to set up a third down. A poor tackle attempt by Lewis on the next play allows the receiver to gain extra yards and get out of bounds to set up a 47 yard field goal by Rob Bironas to end the half.
The first half can be boiled down to the penalties on Taylor, the blocked punt, the Roethlisberger interception and the missed tackle by Lewis. Thanks to the long touchdown by Wallace, the Steelers are still very much in this game even though they did not play well at all. The good news is that the Steelers get the ball to start the second half.