It is the ability to extend on an advantage, widen a scoring margin, attack an opponent when they're in a fragile state and (novel words for Steelers fans lately) put the opposition away!
It's called killer instinct, and the Black and Gold lack it, particularly away from home and especially...
...with the lead?!
In the second quarter, it was the result of a collapse from all three phases, and it turned early game optimism in the 'Burgh on its head.
Pittsburgh led 10-3 after a perfectly thrown deep bomb from Ben Roethlisberger to his deep-threat receiver Mike Wallace. The defense took the field after a stop on Tennessee's previous possession, and all mojo seemed positive in the Steel City.
Then, the lack of K.I. proved to be a P.I.T.A. once again.
That same defense, oft-reliable in former seasons, allowed a scoring drive. Scores haven't been an issue to-date, but the subsequent stops have been relatively non-existent on the road.
Next, a clean block of Drew Butler's punt attempt by Tennessee's Tim Shaw gave the Titans possession at the 1-yard line. This allowed the "Men of Music City" to punch in their first rushing touchdown of the year, music to Titans fans' ears.
Lastly, the offense became far too constricted, foregoing their earlier downfield attack for a series of dinks and dunks that allowed the Tennessee defense to gain some momentum. Pittsburgh's offense failed to score another point before halftime.
One more lackluster showing by the defense had Pittsburgh trailing at halftime to the "lowly" Titans, 16-10.
When you have 'em down, you gotta' kick 'em! If they're in a hole, you have to put dirt on them. Instead, the Steelers have turned their opponents into zombies (game-winning zombies!), the risen dead who come back to bite the 'Burgh you know where!
Strange analogy, you say? Well, admittedly, I may be reaching. The team did do some good late in the contest.
A Lawrence Timmons interception in the fourth quarter raised hopes in the 'Burgh. However, it would turn out to be a herring as the offense had to settle for a 52-yard Shaun Suisham field goal—despite ideal field position—that kept the Titans within a score, 23-16.
True to form this season, the opposing Titans drove the field and tied the game! Then, on offense, Baron Batch lost two crucial yards in the final moments, putting the offense behind the sticks on down and distance! Big Ben missed a wide open pair of targets on third down, and the defense allowed the TItans a third-down conversion to drive for the win!
Their inability to knock out stunned opponents has come back to haunt the Steelers in the standings. They deserved to lose.