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September 19, 2010 - Ray Eckenrode
Bleeding Black and Gold: Pittsburgh 19, Tennessee 11
Steelers defense dominates
First quarter: Steelers 7, Titans 0
> Yeah, we probably wouldn’t use that headline in a newspaper or magazine.
> Antonio Brown scores the first time he touches the ball in the NFL. We wonder how many other people can say that?
> Referee John Parry’s crew totally botches the personal foul penalties, which should have been against #96 Titans (throwing a punch) and #55 Titans (third man in). Instead, they call a penalty on the Steelers’ Jason Worilds, who was not even on the field.
> Dennis Dixon apparently bought his internal clock at the same place as Joe Flacco. That’s two mistakes in the first three plays for Dixon, and as a wise man once said, that ain’t good.
> Booming, high punt from Daniel Sepulveda and the Steelers coverage team is dreadfully slow getting downfield. You could see that big return coming well before the returner caught the ball.
> Great, quick stat from CBS on Steelers record when Troy Polamalu has an interception.
> Kevin Harlan contends Dixon grew up idolizing Vince Young. Unlikely, since Young is only 19 months the elder.
Second quarter: Steelers 13, Titans 3.
> Dixon on a designed rollout on the first play of the second quarter, but he looked like he only ran at about 50 percent, and … he’s hurt, CBatch is three in and three out. As Dixon leaves via cart, Steelers down to Randle El as their backup.
> As VY throws another terrible pick, we have to ask if you still wonder why a true franchise quarterback is worth $100 million in this league.
> Steelers’ big men, in those black uniforms on a 92-degree day, are cramping left and right. Damn you for your strategery, Jeff Fisher!
> Interception and punt return set Steelers up twice near midfield and CBatch can’t muster a splash play to generate even a field goal. Pittsburgh might need a defensive TD to win this one.
> If you watch the “CSI” premiere with Justin Bieber you are part of the problem.
> Batch gets his splash play for a TD, but hold the phone: Jonathan Scott bulldogs his man to the ground and it’s coming back on a hold.
> Nice third-down work by Batch to assure the Reed FG on the half’s last play.
Third quarter: Steelers 13, Titans 3
> Solomon Wilcotts describes the first half as a “fist of flurries.” Um, uh, OK … we’ll go along with that.
> Antwan Randle El? C’mon man!
> Whoa, what happened to that official’s face? Did you see that? Two gashes on the left side…
> We hope we’re wrong, but Randle El’s tank looks like it’s very close to E.
> Wilcotts apoplectic about the play of the Titans defense. Um, they’re facing a 36-year-old, third-string quarterback and the Steelers’ fourth and fifth tackles.
> Young completes an epically bad performance with another fumble, but Steelers have been unable to find a coffin nail and Kerry Collins is lurking
Fourth quarter: Steelers 19, Titans 11
> Harlan shows how very little preparation he has done for this game by saying Bryant McFadden was “victimized” last week by Roddy White. If by victimized you mean “holding one of the most dangerous receivers in the league in check and out of the end zone when he was thrown to 24 times” well, then, yeah, he was victimized.
> Not a great day for Sepulveda, who has never really performed to the level at which he was drafted, as second punt from near midfield sails into the end zone.
> With their team two scores away from a win, Titans fans have abandoned their stadium.
> If anyone, anyone, anyone in world can explain why Bruce Arians wouldn’t call a screen on any of those 3rd-and-5s in the second half, please email me privately. Thank you.
> Wilcotts and Harlan officially wed the Titans defense midway through this quarter, heaping praise upon them, but failing to mention Tennessee has been able to play nine men in the box the entire second half and rush at will because Steelers have not thrown a single deep ball or screen.
> Harlan now showing how very little he knows about football in general, marveling at Sepulveda laser that comes out to the 20 for 39 net.
> Seriously, an all-time great throw by Batch on the fade route to Ward. Too bad Ward couldn’t find it coming over the top of his helmet.
> Harlan totally oblivious in the final five minutes that it’s still a two-score game and that there’s an onsides kick coming after Titans score. Horrible.
> Will Allen should be cut now. That guy is on that roster to make that play. If he can’t, it’s time to get on with his life’s work.
> Timmons is nails. The end.
> Based on some Facebook chatter, apparently the Titans cheerleaders were scantily clad. Frankly, we didn't notice.
The final word:
> This Steelers’ defense looks like it has the chance to be BETTER than the 2006 unit that won a Super Bowl, certainly because of the return of Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu, but also because of the emergence of Lawrence Timmons. Offensively, the concern has to be on keeping Rashard Mendenhall healthy because he’s taking a pounding the first two weeks. Other than that, we know zero about our offense and we’re not going to know anything about it until Halloween night in New Orleans. The two wins we’d have all been satisfied with are already in the books so it’s now a matter of one week at a time, starting with a trap game next week in the heat again in Tampa.