NFL  > Pittsburgh Steelers  > Steelers Hear the Wake Up Call, Defeat Titans
October 9, 2011, 08:44 PM
The Titans are a quality football team and the Steelers made a huge statement today by beating them in just about every category. With gutsy play calling, a potent offensive attack, and a stellar performance by a defense in the spotlight, the Steelers seem to have finally woken up .. and I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the Steelers offense & defense may have woken up BETTER then last year.

Through the first three games, their impressive numbers against the pass seemed artificial. (Kerry Collins/Curtis Painter and Tavaris Jackson were the quarterbacks they faced off against in weeks 2 and 3. The only, I'll say "threatening" quarterback they faced in the first three games was Joe Flacco, and he threw all over the defense.) But a potent performance against Matt Shaub and now Matt Hasselbeck shows that the Steelers mean business here.
Matt wasn't able to get anything going with the passing game, which preserved the Steelers top five pass defense (depending on how the rest of this week plays out, Pittsburgh may be number one) The only good yardage the Titans got through the air was against soft coverage late in the fourth quarter when the game was well out of reach ... Despite that impressive outing though, the Steelers' pass defense continued to go under the radar while their performance against the run took center stage again. They were going up against Chris Johnson, a guy that struggled in the first two games, which was perhaps the product of a long holdout during the offseason, but was able to get back on track last week against the Browns. With that said, the rush defense was solid. Chris Johnson averaged an uncharacteristic 3.6 yards per carry. With Casey back in the line up, the Steelers rush defense should start performing like they did last season. By that I mean the Steelers should end up in the top five against the run in the coming weeks ..

With that said, the questions about whether or not this defense could perform were answered. They played exceptionally well without the help of two major players, Casey Hampton, a HUGE force to be reckoned with on Pittsburgh's defensive front, and James Harrison, who we all know is one of the most disruptive players in the NFL. But don't forget about this offense! FINALLY, the Steelers were able to get things going in their running game. Isaac Redman delivered a very strong performance, hitting the defensive line hard and getting yardage even without any good holes. And Jonathan Dwyer surprised everyone out there, putting up 100 yards on the day and averaging around nine yards per carry! Running the football is key to the Steelers success and they did it consistently all day long.

And you know what that means .. the play action fake opened up for Big Ben, allowing him to throw FIVE touchdowns and complete over 70% of his passes. If it wasn't for a strange play that led to an interception, Ben would've been perfect. He also finally got help from his offensive line, who only allowed Roethlisberger to be sacked once all day long. And he did it all with a bad plant foot ...
The most impressive play all game long by Ben though would, ironicly, have to be the sack! Ben miraculously hung on to the football and escaped a sure tackle when his protection broke down, only to be sacked outside of the pocket ... but it was still a great play by Ben to hold on to that football. He's struggled with fumbling this year ... that play showed he's willing to put it behind him and play turnover free.

That brings me to my last and most important point: turnovers. The Steelers did turn the ball over one time today, but they did a terrific job other than that to take care of the football and to keep the ball in their hands for as long as possible. Excellent job. If the Steelers continue to play like this, they will be a force to reckon with YET AGAIN this year.

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October 9, 2011  11:22 PM ET

are we a little excited about a Steeler W?

It's a huge win and the article was less about the game and more about the team as a whole. I know that it's long, but its there for people who would like to read it, not for people that don't .. like you. Which is fine, I probably wouldn't want to read five paragraphs about a Colts win either.

With that said, I am more then a little excited about a Steeler W. I'm ecstatic -- happiest I've been with a win since the Conference Championship game last season.
So shoot me!

October 9, 2011  11:25 PM ET

YAY STEELERS !! = <-----short-n-sweet !

I like to talk ... I'm taking a class for journalism, this is nice practice I guess.
Thanks -- if you took the time -- for reading, it is appreciated.

October 9, 2011  11:49 PM ET

I like to talk ... I'm taking a class for journalism, this is nice practice I guess.Thanks -- if you took the time -- for reading, it is appreciated.

You and Black & Gold would make a lovely couple.

October 9, 2011  11:55 PM ET

You and Black & Gold would make a lovely couple.

I get that a lot.

October 10, 2011  01:23 AM ET

The Titans had looked kind of strong and were on a roll, but, the Steelers put them in their place.

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October 10, 2011  05:26 PM ET

The NFL is a strange place. Wk 1 - Ravens 35, Steelers 7, at Baltimore; Wk 2 - Titans 26 Ravens 13, at Tenn.; Wk 5 - Steelers 38 Titans 17, at Pitt. Is home field advantage that much of a difference maker? I guess it can be. I guess these 3-way comparisons are tough because teams match up with each other differently. But sheesh, 3 games, 3 beatdowns, 3 no contests. Only one common denominator I can see - home field.Nice win for the Steelers today. What a difference a week makes on the O-line, eh? They played great, protecting Ben admirably. I agree about the Big Ben near fumble - not sure how he held onto that ball as he was being taken down. And Brandon Lloyd's one-handed sidelines catch v. Chargers on the final drive--two amazing demonstrations of focus.Shaping up to be quite a battle in this Division.

You make a very good point ripper ..
Congrats on the Chargers win .. Been a while since you guys have started so well. I'm looking forward to maybe seeing you guys in the playoffs ..
On a side note, strange how different the Broncos looked with Tebow as the starter, huh? I think he's gonna do well, glad the Broncos finally gave him the chance. I have a feeling we're gonna be hearing "Tebow finds Brandon Llyod in the inzone!" a lot this year ..

October 10, 2011  09:23 PM ET

i am a ravens fan, and even i wouldn't call flacco threatening


October 10, 2011  09:34 PM ET

i am a ravens fan, and even i wouldn't call flacco threatening lolololol

Ha, well compared to the likes of Tarvarus Jackson and Curtis Painter, Joe Flacco is a threat.


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