TITANS 16, STEELERS 9
Steelers’ record: 0-1
One year ago: 0-1
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 44-32
Following a preseason that included a 28.8 percent third down conversion rate, an average of six-plus penalties a game, a 30 percent red zone efficiency rate that had them ranked 29th in the NFL, two blocked kicks, and seven turnovers, Coach Bill Cowher knew what he wanted to see in the regular season opener. “To do the things you need to do to be solid in September football: to minimize our penalties, to not have negative plays on offense, to minimize big plays on defense; and to understand the gravity of situational football. This game is going to be decided on those special plays – third downs, red zone, goal line.”
On this afternoon, it wasn’t so much a single play, but an early series that changed the course of the game for the Steelers, and maybe in retrospect it comes to be identified as one that changed the course of their 2013 season. After the free kick following the safety on the opening kickoff that gave the Steelers a 2-0 lead, a series of disasters struck. First, it was a perfect pass from
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
Mike Tomlin was trying to become the first coach in Steelers history to win his first seven home openers, but that didn't happen, and the loss to the Titans dropped his overall record in openers to 4-3. Chuck Noll was 16-7 in home openers and 14-9 overall. Bill Cowher was 9-7 in home openers and 8-7 overall.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
* It was the opening kickoff of the 2013 season, and while it appeared as though
* What highlights there were for the Steelers in the first half were mainly of the statistical variety.
* With a little more than 12 minutes left in the game and the Steelers trailing, 10-2,
WHAT WENT WRONG
* Following the free kick that comes with a safety, the Steelers set up for their opening offensive possession at their own 41-yard line. On play-action, Ben Roethlisberger set up and threw deep down the right side to Emmanuel Sanders, who was in single coverage with CB Jason McCourty. The ball was thrown perfectly, and it went through Sanders’ hands at the Titans’ 15-yard line for a long incompletion.
* After months and months of talking about the importance of the starting offensive linemen being able to stay healthy through this season, the five-man unit didn’t even get through the first offensive series of the season. The outcome was the worst of all possible scenarios. The player to be injured was Maurkice Pouncey, and the injury was to his right knee.
* There seemed to be no end to the bad things happening to the Steelers on their opening offensive possession. Even though Roethlisberger converted three third downs, and even though
* Special teams penalties cost the Steelers field position on two occasions through the game’s first 32 minutes. An illegal block in the back penalty on
* After the Titans’ field goal that gave them a 13-2 lead,
The list is a rather long one, and the injuries on the list are significant ones. According to Coach Mike Tomlin, Maurkice Pouncey tore the MCL and ACL in his right knee and will need surgery, and
Other injuries sustained in the game were to RB
The severity of the injuries to Stephens-Howling, Allen, and Suisham were not immediately known.
RB Le’Veon Bell (knee) and TE