A Thursday night game in Nashville included one Pittsburgh Steelers record being broken, but it very well might have included the Steelers 2012 season getting broken into several undisciplined pieces as they lost to the Tennessee Titans 26-23 as time expired.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed Terry Bradshaw as the Steelers career passing leader Thursday night, but a 40 yard field goal by Titans kicker Rob Bironas as time expired put a damper on the record and quite possibly the Steelers season.
Roethlisberger entered the game against the Titans needing 286 yards to tie Bradshaw\’s mark of 27,989 passing yards and he passed Bradshaw with a 17-yard completion to tight end Heath Miller with 3:31 left in the third quarter. Roethlisberger was 24-of-40 in the game for 363 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Despite a dismal first half the Steelers had a 23-16 lead with 8:18 left in the game, but the defense allowed the Titans offense to go 80 yards on 11 plays to tie the game at 23 with 4:19 left in regulation. That drive included Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis dropping a sure interception thrown by Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, and fellow cornerback Ike Taylor being flagged for defensive holding on an incomplete third down pass from Hasselbeck to wide receiver Damian Williams on the Steelers own 15 yard-line. Three plays later Hasselbeck hit wide receiver Kenny Britt in the endzone for the game tying touchdown with Taylor in coverage.
The Steelers attempted to answer on their next drive, but it stalled at the Titans 36 yard-line with an incomplete pass on third down. Head coach Mike Tomlin decided to let kicker Shaun Suisham attempt a 54 yard field goal, but the kick fell short and the Titans took over on downs as a result.
Three plays later Hasselbeck hit tight end Jared Cook on a crossing pattern and 25 yards later he was eventually pushed out of bounds at the Steelers 25 yard-line. After a 3 yard run by running back Chris Johnson the Titans allowed the clock to tick down to 3 seconds and then sent Bironas out to kick the game winner.
Not only did the Steelers lose the game, they also lost several key players to injury. Center Maurkice Pouncey (knee,MCL), tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle), running back Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles), running back Isaac Redman (ankle), linebacker Chris Carter (hamstring) and linebacker Brandon Johnson (hamstring) were all mentioned by head coach Mike Tomlin in his post game press conference injury rundown.
The Steelers now have to try and recoup and get ready for their first divisional game of the season a week from Sunday night on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers are 0-3 on the road already this season and loss in Cincinnati would have the team on life support before Halloween even arrives.