The Pittsburgh Steelers put on a near-dominant performance Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans and held the lead from start to finish. There was not a point in the game where we thought they may be in trouble but the Titans kept it close for the first three quarters just the same as they only trailed 23-17 with five-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter. The Steelers offense was playing well up to this point but the following drive would prove to be game-sealing as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would lead the unit on a 12 play, 75 yard touchdown drive to make it a two possession game.
In my opinion, this was Roethlisberger’s most impressive drive of the season as he completed 6 of 7 passes for 66 yards and closed it out with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jesse James. The drive started out with Roethlisberger taking a 3 yard sack at the hands of Titans linebacker Erik Walden. Two plays later the Steelers were faced with a 3rd and 10 and Roethlisberger warmed back up again. He completed a big 3rd down pass to wide receiver Martavis Bryant for 20 yards up the left sideline to move the chains. Three completions to running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster later and the Steelers were 33 yards closer to the end zone and on the Titans 22 yard line. A pair of 6 yard completions to wide receiver Antonio Brown and Smith-Schuster put the Steelers on the 8 yard line and on the verge of scoring. On the following play, Steelers fans rejoiced as Bell dove into the end zone on an apparent 8 yard touchdown run but following a review, the call was reversed and the ball was placed at the 1 yard line. The next play would be the scoring play as the Steelers brought in the jumbo package and the Titans completely sold out on the play action and Roethlisberger found a wide open James in the end zone for the touchdown. The Steelers would extend their lead to 30-17 as the 4th quarter began and they would not look back.
The touchdown drive seemed to take any of the remaining momentum out of the Titans as their ensuing three possessions would result in a punt and two interceptions and the Steelers would extend their lead to 40-17 before sending in the backups to close out the final possession of the game. Roethlisberger was in complete control of the offense and looked his best so far this season as he completed six passes to five different receivers on the drive. This showing was an example of what Steelers fans thought this offense would and could be in 2017 and what it will need to be in order to make a run at a seventh Super Bowl ring.