Steelers vs Titans: Nonexistent Pass Rush Will Cost Tennessee Shot at Win

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 09:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers calls out signals at the line of scrimmage against the Tennessee Titans during the game on October 9, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

A solid pass rush often leads to a quarterback making poor decisions with the ball, resulting in turnovers, incomplete passes and quick three-and-out series.

When you are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers and their porous offensive line, getting to Ben Roethlisberger is a key to throwing a monkey wrench in their offensive plans.

Unfortunately, the Steelers' opponent on Thursday night, the Tennessee Titans, simply don't have the horses to get the job done.

Only three teams have fewer sacks than the Titans, who only have seven on the season.

Two of those teams have already played the Steelers.

The Jets lost in Week 2, 27-10, while the Raiders pulled out a 34-31 victory in Week 3 that had more to do with the Steelers' defensive collapse than the one sack that the Raiders landed on Big Ben.

Roethlisberger has made a career running for his life behind the line of scrimmage, and that has continued in 2012, despite what the numbers tell us.

Although you couldn't tell from the numbers—only seven teams have allowed fewer sacks than the Steelers this season—their total of nine has far more to do with Roethlisberger's ability to get rid of the ball than it does with the offensive line's ability to block opposing defenders.

Big Ben is going to have to throw, and he's off to a phenomenal start to the season. Through four games, he's completing nearly 66 percent of his passes, has nine touchdowns to one interception and is on pace to shatter his career high for yards passing in a season.

Against a defense that ranks 25th against the pass, allowing nearly 280 yards and more than two touchdowns a game to opposing quarterbacks, Roethlisberger is going to have all day long to pick the Titans defense apart.

Although Tennessee is playing without starting QB Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck is a more than capable passer and he'll be going up against a defense that will be missing two key pieces in S Troy Polamalu and LB LaMarr Woodley.

The Titans should be able to put some points on the board, and with any semblance of a pass rush, they actually might have been able to keep the game close.

Instead, it's going to get ugly in front of a crowd that already is displeased with a team that has been outscored 68-21 over their past two games.