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Friday, October 12, 2012
Upon Further Review: Steelers

By Jamison Hensley

Revisiting the Pittsburgh Steelers' 26-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans:

You can justify failing to hold fourth quarter leads to Peyton Manning and Michael Vick because they've done it so many times before. You can understand losing in the final minute to Carson Palmer because he knows how to play the Steelers defense.

But it's hard to excuse letting the Titans score 10 points in the final 4 minutes, 19 seconds on Thursday night. This is a Tennessee team that had scored more than 14 points just once this season. The Titans had produced 14 points in their last 19 drives entering the fourth quarter.

Where the Steelers are falling short is they're not playing smart or aggressive at critical moments. Pittsburgh, which has blitzed as much as any defense in the league, got beat when it became passive. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselbeck completed 6 of 8 passes when the Steelers sent  four or fewer pass rushers in the second half, including the game-tying touchdown to Kenny Britt late in the fourth quarter. Then, on the 25-yard completion to tight end Jared Cook that set up the Titans' winning field goal, linebacker James Harrison was in coverage instead of rushing the passer.

"I can't even explain the frustration," cornerback Ike Taylor said after the game."All the answers are in this room. We just have to figure out what they are."

STAT THAT STICKS: Zero -- Rush attempts outside the tackles for the Steelers, their lowest total since Week 4 of 2008 when they attempted one such rush against the Ravens, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Entering Thursday, the Titans had allowed the sixth-most rush yards outside the tackles (211) and were tied with the Falcons for the most rush first downs allowed on such runs (15).

OVERHEARD: "Congratulations to him, but he knows it doesn't really matter right now because we didn't get the win." wide receiver Mike Wallace on Ben Roethlisberger setting the Steelers' all-time passing record on the night the team fell to 2-3.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Steelers (2-3) try to get their first road win of the season at Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium, where they haven't lost since 2009.