The Pittsburgh Steelers opened the game with a field goal drive and a pick six to take a 10-0 lead within the first five minutes. From there, Zach Mettenberger and the Tennessee Titans came back with a touchdown drive, and ended the half with a red zone interception of Ben Roethlisberger followed by an 80-yard touchdown to former Steeler Nate Washington to enter halftime with an unlikely 17-13 lead. The half couldn’t come at a better time, even with the Titans starting the third with the ball, because this is a team that needs to regroup and get their heads back in the game. There’s a lot of football left to play.
Unlike the last few kickoffs, Shaun Suisham booted this one to the end zone and the coverage was able to bring down the return near the 20-yard line. On first down, Bishop Sankey picked up about six yards. He was stopped short of the 30 to set up third and short. Antonio Brown fielded the ensuing punt at about the 20-yard line and returned it about 30 yards, but an illegal block in the back by Arthur Moats, pushing the play back to the 24.
Le’Veon Bell picked up about five yards for the Steelers’ first play of the half. He cut back inside for about six yards on second and five. Ben Roethlisberger was incomplete to Markus Wheaton down the field against aggressive coverage. On second and 10, Brown picked up 11 yards to move the chains again. From the 46, Brown took a quick pass for four yards to midfield. Roethlisberger was bottled up with pressure for a big loss of eight yards to set up third and 14. He was wrapped up yet again for another big loss all the way back to the 34-yard line. The punt was fair caught at the 22-yard line.
The Steelers threatened with pressure on first down, but it never got home, and Mettenberger found his tight end for 18 yards. From the 41, Sankey burst through the middle for about four yards. Kendall Hunter‘s feet were just out of bounds on a long reception down the left sideline to set up third and six. The tight end got free of Lawrence Timmons for the conversion.
From the 45, Chance Warmack was flagged for holding, pushing them back into Titans territory. On first and 20, Hunter picked up 35 yards with William Gay falling down. From the 19 now, Jackie Battle picked up nine yards against Jason Worilds in coverage. On second and one, Mettenberger’s pass was batted down again at the line. Shonn Greene pounded the line for the third down conversion to set up first and goal.
Sankey was good for about six yards down to the three on first down. On second and goal, pressure forced an incompletion with nobody open. On third down, Chase Coffman went up over Antwon Blake for the touchdown as the Titans took an 11-point lead, 24-13.
After a solid return from Wheaton, Roethlisberger was forced to throw incomplete on first down. On second and 10, Bell spun out of a hit for about six yards. Roethlisberger scrambled for the first down. From the 39, Bell got to the sideline for his longest run in a while, 27 yards down to the 34-yard line to secure his third 100-yard rushing game of the year, and first since Week Three.
He pounded through the left side for another 11 yards on the following play, but was stopped for just two yards after that. Roethlisberger hit Miller down to the five-yard line to end the third quarter. Bell got the carry from five yards out, stretching past the goal line for for his first rushing touchdown since the season opener, and second of the year. The Steelers responded exactly the way they needed to after giving up a touchdown drive, making it a one-score game at the beginning of the fourth quarter. With Suisham’s extra point, the Steelers cut the deficit to four at 24-20.
The Steelers coverage allowed Sankey to return the kickoff out past the 30-yard line. On first down, Sankey was stretched wide and tackled for a loss by Will Allen. On second and 13, a short pass set up third and six. Mettenberger was under pressure, but found Kendall Wright, but the receiver could not bring it in, and the Titans were forced to punt, which only traveled 29 yards out of bounds, giving Pittsburgh the ball on their own 35.
Bell pounded ahead for 10 yards on first down to the 45. Roethlisberger threw hot to Lance Moore across midfield for another first down. From the Titans’ 40, Roethlisberger looked deep to Wheaton, but the ball was overthrown. On second and 10, Bell was good for about eight or nine to set up third and short. On third and two, the Steelers spread it out and went short to Bell for the conversion.
From the 22, Bell went up the middle for four yards, in the process setting a new single-game career high in rushing yards. On second and six, he picked up about six. Roethlisberger dropped back, waited, and found Brown streaking to the left side of the end zone for the touchdown, as the Steelers regained the lead for the first time in the second half.
Sankey had yet another good return on the kickoff out to the 35, tackled by B.W. Webb, who at least made an effort to strip at the ball. After a quick first down in the air, the front line smothered Sankey for no gain. On second down, Wright could not hold on to a quick screen behind the line of scrimmage, but he may have been tackled for a loss if he did. On third and long, Mettenberger’s pass was four yards shy of the marker that pulled his receiver to the ground. The Titans had to punt again, booing a high one that only reached the 20.
After six yards from Bell on first down, Roethlisberger was hit, but found Bell through the air. He didn’t secure the ball before it was popped loose, setting up a third and four. The Steelers called a timeout to give Roethlisberger a breather. On third down, after a Titans challenge, Roethlisberger read the blitz and hit Wheaton quick for the conversion. Bell picked up yet another 10 yards on the ground after moving the chains. After another eight yards, Bell set a new career-high in yards from scrimmage per game, eclipsing the 200-yard mark. He converted for a first down on second and two.
Bell picked up another nine yards after picking up another first down. He hit the 200-yard mark on the ground with that run.Bell continued churning, getting the first down following the two-minute warning as the Titans used their last timeout.