Just for the record, I am not bitter about Tennessee's win over Pittsburgh. All credit goes to the defense of Tennessee, especially that front line. Pittsburgh's offensive line struggled in this game; they held up long enough on occasion to give Roethlisberger time to make some of his throws, but overall the line did not give Roethlisberger enough time to get rid of the ball, resulting in 5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.
Along with slipshod offensive line play, Pittsburgh made some critical mental mistakes in the game as well.
To me the turning point was not when Chris Johnson took a fourth and three pitch in from 21 yards which put Tennessee up 17-14. It was when whoever got a penalty (don't know who; the microphones were down for most of the game) on that fourth down field goal attempt which would have made it 20-14 with the whole fourth quarter left to play.
Instead, Tennessee got the ball at the 3 yard line, and two plays later scored on LenDale White's 15th touchdown of the season.
Jason Jones, the rookie filling in for an injured Albert Haynesworth, did a great job of blowing up the Steelers offensive line in route to 3.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Congrats to Tennessee for being the first team to go over 300 yards in a game against the Steelers; this was a critical element in the Titan's victory over a very physical, but very tired, Steelers defense.
All is not lost for Pittsburgh, though. There are a few silver linings to pull out of this cloud:
1. The offense moved the ball in a quarter other than the fourth.
2. The passing game was there for the whole contest, something we haven't seen of late.
3. Home field advantage throughout the playoffs doesn't mean anything. The last three years the Super Bowl champions came from the Wild-Card round. The Steelers, Colts, and Giants did not have home field advantage throughout the playoff so it is not that big of a deal.
The part of this game that angers me the most came with less than one minute in the game. Having no timeouts left, Pittsburgh was forced to go downfield for a quick score. Roethlisberger threw a floater that landed in the hands of Michael Griffin, tying him with Troy Polamalu for most interceptions this season at seven apiece.
With less then a minute left, you would like to think he would take a knee and ensure the Titans' victory. Instead, Griffin decides to return the pick 83 yards for a score that most assuredly put the game out of reach at 31-14; totally unnecessary in my mind.
Another display of uncoolness was displayed when the camera man made his way over to the Tennessee bench, where a celebrating LenDale White and another player attempting to rip a terrible towel, spit on it, and ultimately threw it to the ground to stomp on it and rub it in the dirt.
Knowing the game was out of reach, Pittsburgh took a knee to end the game—something you rarely see a losing team do—and the game was over. The camera shot of Keith Bulluck waving a terrible towel in the face of the camera mocking the Steelers was totally unnecessary in my mind.
It is fine for the media to show the Titans happy and celebrating the win; shots of Titans displaying little to no respect for the fans who buy the tickets and merchandise that pays their salary is just wrong. The cameras should have cut to other players celebrating instead of show a classless act from role models of today's youth. Good job, CBS, for dropping the ball there.
I'm sorry but that's unsportmanlike to me; and this isn't the first time Tennessee has been accused of being classless. On Thanksgiving when Tennessee played the lowly Lions, Jeff Fisher elected to go for a fourth and short conversion late in the game after Tennessee was up big.
It is uncalled for; adding insult to injury doesn't add to your mistique, it detracts from it. This is the Tennessee Titans we're talking about here; not the New England Cheatriots. The Pats left their starters in the game well into the 4th quarter of their contest with Arizona, even though the game was well in hand halfway through the third period.
Typical behavior for New England, but not behavior you want to emulate.
For a team that is in need of help just to make the playoffs, the Pats didn't do anything to bolster their case as being one of the top teams in the league. A participant in a BCS bowl game, where running up the score is almost required to get a post season bid, mybe; but unprofessional and uncalled for at this level.
I don't know; to me Tennessee showed no class at the end of this game. What I saw was that they had stooped to the low-class antics of New England.
I'd like to hear your opinions because I don't think I'm alone on this.