Steelers fall to Titans in first home-opening loss since 2003


Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (53) is attended to by team trainers after suffering an apparent injury against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For those Pittsburgh Steelers fans with already high blood pressure, I hope for your health’s sake that you did not watch today’s game against the Tennessee Titans. “Ugly” is not a strong enough word to describe the 16-9 loss, so perhaps some of the stats will form the appropriate word in your mind.

Let’s just say this now: the Steelers’ offense was atrocious. The O-line, which has consistently been a problem, showed no sign of improvement. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times, and even when he did get a chance to throw, he was given little to no time to make any decisions. And that was before Maurkice Pouncey’s injury. Pouncey was hit by fellow lineman David DeCastro and suffered a torn ACL, an injury that takes him out for the rest of the season.

Roethlisberger could not get into any kind of offensive rhythm until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, when the Titans’ defense lightened up a bit. If it hadn’t been for the Titans only rushing three men during the last Steelers series (which left space for the touchdown by Jerricho Cotchery), the Steelers may very well have only had two points from the safety that the Titans committed themselves. I think this statistic sums up the offense nicely: the Steelers had only 195 total yards on offense. So yeah.

Further injuries include a ruptured bicep for Larry Foote and a torn ACL for LaRod Stephens-Howling. It doesn’t look like the Steelers should expect either of them to return for the rest of the season either.

The few bright spots of the game came, as usual, from the Steelers defense. For example, after only playing one full season in the last four years, I must say that it’s nice to see Polamalu coming out with a bang. But it is clear that this year’s defense is not the same caliber as defenses of the past.

Titans QB Jake Locker was able to pick apart the Steelers’ secondary, completing 11 of 20 and throwing for 125 yards. Ultimately, here’s what it comes down to: the Steelers cannot only count on the defense to keep them in the game, as they have in the past. Needless to say, adjustments need to be made. And fast.

Today’s loss was the first home-opener loss in 10 years. Hopefully, the Steelers can regroup before their intradivision game against the Cincinnati Bengals next Monday. I mean, it can only get better from here, right?