Steelers vs. Titans: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Pittsburgh

Dan Snyder@@dsnyder34Correspondent ISeptember 8, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to the game Kansas City Chiefs on August 24, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Embarrassing. Absolutely embarrassing. 

It's the only word that can be used to describe the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive effort in Sunday afternoon's 16-9 home loss to the Tennessee Titans

Not only could the Steelers offensive line not protect Ben Roethlisberger, who was sacked five times, they couldn't open up any holes for a running game that was abysmal to say the least. At the end of the day, the Steelers squeaked out a pedestrian 195 yards of total offense (60 of which came on the final drive) and possessed the ball for just 26 minutes. 

Despite their constant presence on the field, the defense of the Steelers was impressive. Tennessee ran the ball 42 times in this game and managed under three yards per carry. But the offense did little to help a solid defensive effort and Pittsburgh will start the 2013 season 0-1.



Tennessee: 16

Pittsburgh: 9

Final Analysis for the Pittsburgh Steelers


Pass Offense: Ben Roethlisberger's individual effort was not enough to support the Steelers' offense this afternoon.

Roethlisberger barely had any time to throw the ball and was sacked five times. He led a late drive that pulled the Steelers back within a touchdown of tying the game, but it was too little, too late.

The offensive line couldn’t protect Roethlisberger if their lives depended on it and it was a major factor in this game. The Steelers’ receivers were actually pretty impressive when Roethlisberger had time to throw.

Run Offense: All the talk during the offseason was about how the Steelers needed to run the ball better. If Week 1 was any indication, their running game could actually be worse than it was last season.

Steelers fans will call for Le’Veon Bell to rush back and get the ground game going, but the real problem lies with the offensive line. This unit gave out an embarrassing effort made worse by what could be a significant injury to center Maurkice Pouncey.

The Steelers have a ton of work to do in the running game. Whether that means changing up the line rotation or firing a coach, Mike Tomlin has to do something.  

Run Defense: The Steelers' run defense is strong, but it fell apart as the game wore on. The Titans ate up the clock keeping Steelers offense off the field.  

Pass Defense:  The secondary bent a little but did not break, as it held Tennessee to a field goal. They have not been sharp on third downs.

Special Teams: After a solid first half of special teams play, the Steelers fans hoped that it might continue.

It didn’t.

As expected, Pittsburgh had some key special teams breakdowns that started with rookie Markus Wheaton’s hesitant kickoff return that left the Steelers inside their own 10-yard line. They followed that up with a short Zoltan Mesko punt and poor coverage on defense, which lead to a Tennessee field goal.  

Coaching: There are going to be a lot of people who want to pin the Steelers' offensive woes on OC Todd Haley, but that’s not at all fair. Haley actually called a good game. He tried to establish the run and called mostly short passes to protect Big Ben, but the offensive line was so atrocious that it all fell apart.

It was a typical game for Dick LeBeau and the defense. The only problem I saw was the coaches’ insistence on putting Jason Worilds in the game. He clearly appeared to be out of his element.  

First-Half Analysis for the Pittsburgh Steelers


Pass Offense: Ben Roethlisberger opened the season looking very sharp completing 10 of 14 passes for 94 yards in the first half. He did throw an interception, however, but Ben has barely hasn't been given much time to get the ball out.

The offensive line continues to look shaky in front of the 10-year quarterback, especially when Tennessee has brought pressure up the middle. The Titans have brought Ben down for two sacks so far.

Pittsburgh's receivers have looked very good to open up the year. Antonio Brown already has four catches for 49 yards and Jerricho Cotchery has picked up two first downs.  

Run Offense: Pittsburgh has totaled eight yards rushing in the first half.

At this point, it’s hard to tell if the problem is the result of an inept offensive line or their mediocre running backs, but either way, it’s not looking good for the Steelers' running game.

Losing Maurkice Pouncey to a knee injury in the first quarter could prove to be a major blow to an already weak offensive front. To makes matters worse, it was his own player that took him out.

Isaac Redman has fumbled twice. One of his fumbles occurred in the Titans' end zone as the Steelers were driving for a score. Since his second fumble, he hasn’t returned to the game.  

Run Defense: The Steelers did a very efficient job of limiting Chris Johnson and the Titans' rushing attack. That is, until Tennessee’s final drive of the half.

On that scoring drive, Tennessee called runs for 10 of their 11 plays and marched down the field on the Steelers. They have rushed for 59 yards as a team in the first half.

Pittsburgh’s tackling has left a lot to be desired today. Despite all that, however, they’ve still done a pretty nice job against a run-heavy offense.  

Pass Defense: It was a solid first half for the Steelers’ pass defense. They limited Jake Locker to just four completions on only eight attempts. However, he does have 43 yards on those four completions.

Pittsburgh’s pass rush has come on early and seems to be in Locker’s head. LaMarr Woodley recorded his 53rd career sack to end the first quarter and a few other guys have maintained a presence in Locker’s grill.  

Special Teams: Pittsburgh’s special teams unit opened up the game with one of the oddest plays you’ll ever see. Titans returner Darius Reynaud stepped slightly over the goal line to catch the ball before returning to take a knee, resulting in a Steelers safety.

Their punt coverage teams have been good this afternoon, as well.  

Coaching: The Steelers coaching staff has done a nice job so far in the first half today. Their real problem is the execution on the field. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley has called a nice mix of plays and kept the pass calls short to try and keep Roethlisberger upright. Unfortunately, his line hasn’t held up very well today.  

On defense, Pittsburgh has run their typical fronts and zone-blitz scheme behind them. Tennessee is on a mission to run the ball and the Steelers have done a solid job of stopping them so far. 





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