Friday, October 12, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Titans 26, Steelers 23
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Thoughts on the Titans' last-second 26-23 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at LP Field:
What it means: The Titans showed they can compete with a quality team, surrendering a lead and not giving up but fighting back to tie and win. Jared Cook keyed the final drive with a 25-yard catch-and-run from Matt Hasselbeck that positioned Rob Bironas' 40-yard field goal as time expired. The upset got the Titans to 2-4.
What I liked: The Titans were competitive, showing some resolve and fight from start to finish. Chris Johnson ran assertively behind good blocking with 19 carries for 91 yards. Special teams produced with Tim Shaw knifing through the line to block a Drew Butler punt at the end of the first quarter, setting the Titans up on the Steelers’ 1-yard line. Jamie Harper took it in for Tennessee’s first rushing touchdown of the season. After watching a lead disappear, the Titans fought back to get even with 4:19 left in the fourth. Pittsburgh's last chance came up short when Shaun Suisham didn't have the leg for a 54-yarder with 49 seconds left. That was enough time for the Titans.
What I didn’t like: The Steelers' first three possessions of the second half lasted 31 plays and 14:17 and produced 13 points, vaulting Pittsburgh to a 23-16 lead. Even the Steelers' third running back, Baron Batch, was productive during that stretch.
Nice recovery: Kenny Britt had the tying touchdown pass in his arms late in the fourth, only to lose it as he was tackled high by Ike Taylor, and lost his helmet. Taylor lost Britt on the next play for the same pass, and Britt made a big bobble but finally snatched it for the score that made it 23-23.
One change of note: While Mike Munchak talked of staying the course, the Titans did decide on one change for this game. Offensive coordinator Chris Palmer moved from the sideline to the coaching box.
What’s next: The Titans get the mini-bye and return to action Oct. 21 in Buffalo against the Bills. Jake Locker could return at quarterback after a two-game layoff with an injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder.