Sunday, September 8, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Titans 16, Steelers 9
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- A few thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 16-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
What it means: The Steelers didn’t just lose their first September home game under Mike Tomlin. They turned their season opener into an unmitigated disaster. The offense was barely functional, and not only do the Steelers have to regroup, they have to get healthy. Neither will be easy.
The injuries piled up at an alarming rate as center Maurkice Pouncey (knee), running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (knee), inside linebacker Larry Foote (bicep) and cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) all left the game and didn’t return. The Steelers, meanwhile, need to make more plays on both sides of the ball.
Stock watch: The Steelers' offense looked like it was in preseason form, as it sputtered after some promising moments early in the game. The knee injury suffered by Pouncey hurt but the Steelers didn’t get enough from their wide receivers, particularly Emmanuel Sanders, and the running game was nonexistent.
It is going to be a long season for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger if he doesn’t get more help from his skill players and offensive line. Roethlisberger needed just 156 passing yards to reach 30,000 for his career, and he didn’t hit that milestone until late in the game.
Redman in the doghouse: Isaac Redman’s stint as the Steelers’ starting running back lasted roughly one half of the season opener.
Redman fumbled twice in the first half, losing one that cost the Steelers at least three points. His ball-security issues gave Tomlin no choice but to bench him. The fourth-year veteran gave way to Stephens-Howling and didn’t get back into the game until a knee injury left Tomlin little choice but to play him.
The Steelers cut Jonathan Dwyer, who led the team in rushing last season. And right now the Steelers don’t have many appealing options at running back until rookie Le’Veon Bell recovers from a mid-foot sprain.
Up next: It doesn’t get any easier for the Steelers as they travel to Cincinnati next for a "Monday Night Football" game. The Bengals may be the best team in the AFC North, and if the Steelers struggled at home against the Titans’ defense, imagine the difficulty they will have moving the ball at Cincinnati. One of the storylines leading up to the AFC North battle will be Bengals outside linebacker James Harrison facing his former team.