The Steelers haven't lost an opening game with Mike Tomlin or Ben Roethlisberger, until today. From the very start of the game, with that bizarre safety, this was not a good day.
The Titans spent a lot of money in the offseason trying to correct the fact that they haven't reached the playoffs since 2008. I still did not think they would beat the Steelers.
Today was a big test for the Steelers offensive line and they failed. Even with Pouncey- he suffered a torn ACL/MCL in the first quarter and is likely out the rest of the season - the offensive line didn't do much for anyone. They allowed 5 sacks and the run game was non-existent. The longest gain on a carry was by Redman with 9, and that didn't come easy. At the end of the third quarter, the Steelers averaged just 1.5 yards per carry. Redman had been pulled out until Stephens-Howling got hurt. Redman had fumbled the ball twice. The run game was just non-existent. The Steelers had absolutely no first downs rushing. None. At all.
The passing game was somewhat better, although that's relative. The Steelers had 163 yards in the air - Antonio Brown leading the pack with 71 yards on 5 receptions followed by Emmanuel Sanders with 57 yards on 7 receptions. Ben was able to reach his 30,000 yards goal and convert first downs 13 times. He reached that goal in the 4th quarter, and with just 150 yards to make it, should have had it much earlier in the game.
The offensive line just couldn't hold back the Titans defense. And going into the last few minutes of the game it looked like all the points on the board would have been scored by the Titans.With 1.23 on the clock, Ben throws to Cotchery who makes a good catch in the end zone. The Steelers try an onside kick, but the Titans recover to seal the deal.
Steelers lose 16-9.
They also lost Pouncey for the year; Foote will get bicep surgery, not sure when he'll return; and Stephens-Howling and Cortez Allen are being evaluated.
Tomlin said, "Obviously a disappointing opener. Unacceptable. I won't accept it. We didn't play well enough. We didn't coach well enough."
In other words, the standard is the standard ~ classic Tomlinism and one I can't agree with more.
It was pretty horrid to watch. I'm not sure what will make it better. That offense wins the award for most boring offense in the league, that's for sure.
In other news, looks like everyone in the AFC North starts out 0-1.