Slow-Starting Titans Looking For Momentum Against Steelers
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By Matt Pawlikowski
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-4)
Date: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m., ET
Site: LP Field (69,143) • Nashville, Tenn.
TV Coverage: NFL Network (locally WPCW-TV, channel 15)
Announcers: Brad Nessler (play-by-play) Mike Mayock (analyst) Alex Flanagan (sideline)
Local Radio: Steelers Radio Network WDVE-FM (102.5)/WBGG-AM (970)
Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (analyst) Craig Wolfley (sideline)
National Radio: Dial Global Radio Sports Ian Eagle (play-by-play) Trent Green (analyst) Rocky Boiman (sideline)Last week: The Steelers behind kicker Shaun Suisham downed the Eagles 16-14 on a last second field goal. The win equaled their record at 2-2.
Last week, the Titans lost for the fourth time in five games to Minnesota. The Vikings won by a final score of 30-7.
Series History: Series began in 1970
Overall: Pittsburgh leads 41-29
At Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh leads 24-11
At Tennessee/Houston: Tennessee leads 18-17
Neutral Sites: n/a
Last Regular-Season Meeting: Oct. 9, 2011
(in Pittsburgh) Pittsburgh 38, Tennessee 17
There used to be a time when the Titans were one of the Steelers biggest rivals. That’s right, forget the Browns, the Titans, then known as the Houston Oilers gave the Steelers some of their toughest match-ups.
This year, the Titans have struggled out of the gate and find themselves with a 1-4 slate. Some attribute that fact to a lack of unity, but Tennessee safety Michael Griffith disagrees.
“Honestly, we’re not turning against each other,” Griffin said. “We’re all still here together. We’re all trying to get better, so, I mean in the past you started seeing a lot of finger pointing and things of that nature, but right now, we’re all still together.”
The Titans will be led by a player who has no love lost for Pittsburgh, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The former Seahawk was on the losing end of Super Bowl XL. He replaced Jake Locker, who is out again with a shoulder injury.
Hasselback has some depth in his receiving corps, with former Steeler Nate Washington being a go-to guy. Washington has caught a pass in 66 consecutive regular-season games dating back to his days with the Steelers.
If there is a key to the Titans being able to beat the Steelers, it would be establishing a rush attack. Chris Johnson, a 2,000-yard rusher just a few years ago, is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. Last week he had just 24 yards, but the week before he did bust out for 140, so he still is dangerous.
The Steelers are 8-1 after the short week, which means the Titans will have to be even more diligent. There are also some personal goals by Pittsburgh players that could be attained, such as a sack by Harrison, placing him fifth on the Steelers all-times list.
Quotable: “They’re a 3-4 team, so they’re going to bring at least four, which most teams do on a 4-3. But you can get four or five guys every snap I think the thing they do, people perceive it as they’re blitzing all the time, a lot of times they’re bringing five, six. They’re not always bringing as much as people think, it just appears that way. Their thing is more that they try to confuse you with who is coming, try to get mismatches by how they do it.” Titans coach Mike Munchak on the Steelers blitz.
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Matt Pawlikowski is a veteran journalist covering all things Steelers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.