Steelers Are Golden in Home Openers

By Jeremy Hritz

Last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers blew an opportunity in Tennessee to secure their third victory of the season. When the fourth quarter concluded, the Steelers limped away from a 26-23 loss marred by injuries and mistakes.

Ike Taylor was victimized throughout the night by Kenny Britt and was called for two pass interference penalties and one for defensive holding.

Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert both were injured and were replaced in the lineup by Doug Legursky and Mike Adams.

And Shaun Suisham missed on a questionable 54-yard field goal attempt with 49 seconds left in the game that would have given the Steelers the lead and avoided the need to go to overtime.

Sprinkle in a blocked punt, and the contest against the Titans was almost as frustrating as it can get.

Following the game, the sky was falling in Pittsburgh, as the defense gave up a late drive for the Tennessee win, and the offense, while prolific through the air, struggled on the ground, only accumulating 56 yards rushing and a miserable 2.5 yards per carry.

The game was significant because it was an indication of things to come in an aggravating 8-8 season.

The 2013 season-opening contest against the Titans at Heinz Field is also significant, but for much different reasons, but most importantly because it will be the team’s first opportunity to show that they are a much different team from a year ago.

The good thing is that history is on the Steelers’ side, as they have won ten consecutive home-openers at Heinz Field. On the other hand, the Steelers have lost their previous two season openers, in 2011 against the Ravens and last season to the Denver Broncos.

Though the Steelers lost to the Titans last year, they are an ideal opponent to begin the season, and while no team is a cupcake and cannot be taken lightly in the NFL, the Titans finished 2012 at 6-10 and gave up a league-high 29.4 points per game. They were also ranked poorly in the categories of passing defense (26th) and rushing defense (24th).

In the preseason, the defensive issues from a season ago were still apparent for the Titans, and it could present a chance for the Steelers to get off to an excellent start offensively.

More than anything, it will be interesting to see if the Steelers have moved beyond their proclivity to play down to their competition and for committing senseless penalties, or as Mike Tomlin has put it, allowing the Steelers to beat the Steelers.

Next Sunday will provide the first glimpse of the 2013 Steelers and a true assessment will be able to be made as to whether or not they have improved on their forgettable 8-8- season. We will get to see the young offensive line put together a complete game of work, and hopefully, we get to see what Jarvis Jones can do as the new threat off of the edge for a full four quarters. And while not every question can be answered next week, we will have a much better idea if the Steelers truly are on the rebound.

Sunday can’t get here soon enough.

  • steeltown

    Boy I hope we can start the season with a ‘W’ we really need to be on the winning side of a game, especially since we went 0-4 during the preseason…

    I still think we will surprise a few Teams this year, we seem to once again be counted out

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I did a game by game analysis and have us losing the first 3 games. The continuity of the team isn’t there. This team is undisciplined and with the youth makes many mistakes. I hope I am wrong but I see a rocky start to our season before we get gelled!

  • WilliamSekinger

    Tennessee, Cincy, and Chicago. Two of those games at home. I see them 2-1 after that stretch. Possibly losing to Cincy in Cincy. I have no idea where you got the idea this team is undisciplined.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    None, I mean NONE of us have seen the Steelers at full strength. You did “a game by game analysis” let me guess this was in Madden video game?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I am not sure what preseason games you watched but going 0-4 wasn’t from a team being well coached and disciplined. You can look through your favorite team goggles and predict a 12-4 season I try to be honest. I see a OL that is unproven. A starting HB( redman in the 1st game but Bell has yet to start a NFL as well) that was called by the GM as unacceptable during the off season, a team that has no depth, they still only have 1 proven guy who can bring pressure on defense, a guy who is starting his 1st game at CB, a guy who is starting his 1st game at NT, the loss of our biggest offensive threat, No legitimate starting TE to start the season and if you didn’t see what I am talking about in the preseason I just do not know what else to say.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Don’t you have a bridge to go trolling at. True we have not seen the Steelers give their all but neither has any other team. Your Madden comment just shows how limited your brain is and what you can accomplish.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I do understand the doubts, but man, you must be that pessimistic to think like that. I’ll give you few reasons to be optimistic about: despite off-season and injuries, we still have a top 5 quarterback in Big Ben. Despite lack of turnovers, we ranked #1 defense in NFL for consecutive years. When you mentioned undisciplined, I will need you to be more clarifier on that part because it can mean many things, but I’m guessing its by… hard-hitting and offensive linemen drawing flags? If so, that’s just part of game, when you get beaten you don’t want your qb to get injuried so they do this, sucks but its part of game.

    Sorry, sir if you are offended, but anyone who did game by game analysis, would have much more of positive remarks made considering our first three round picks are contributing nicely and all are just where we thought they would be, Le’Veon Bell on paper look like a worst pick out of our first 4 picks but gratefully we have players who actually can move the chain.

    Believe it or not, other teams ACTUALLY came out in pre-season, playing to win. Some head coaches are that dumb. I would be playing fair if I saidwe should go 2-1 first three games, but we could easily be 3-0 in first 3 games… Titans, Bengals, and Bears? This isn’t Patriots, Ravens, then Broncos.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Despite having no turnovers and a top ranked defense last year and a top 5 QB we where 8-8. I do agree injuries were a big part of that but we are what our record is. It does look like we drafted well this year but it takes time for players to get acclimated to the pro game and no one should expect much out of the rookies and as a Steeler fan you should know we give rookies very little playing time. Out of the 1st 3 teams I have both the Bears and Bengals winning their prospective divisions while I do not see that in us. I actually think that both those teams happen to be better than the Patriots and Ravens.