The clash of the undefeated teams is just an hour from kickoff in Nashville, Tennessee – just a few miles down the road from me on a cold fall afternoon. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a chance to leave the stadium at 6-0 today. Let that sink in, as this time last year they were 2-4 without an answer at the quarterback position, waiting until week 12 to get their sixth tally in the win column.
This will only be the 5th matchup in league history where two undefeated teams faceoff in week 7 or later. The winner of the last four such matchups went on to the Super Bowl.
Steelers vs. Titans (since coming to Tennessee) all time record: 9-13-0
Steelers vs. Titans (away): 3-8-0
Last match result: 40-17 Steelers (2017)
Notable offseason additions: OLB Vic Beasley, OLB Jadeveon Clowney
Notable draft picks: OT Isaiah Wilson, RB Darrynton Evans
Steelers Inactive Players:
FB Derek Watt
CB Mike Hilton
QB Joshua Dobbs
DL Carlos Davis
TE Zach Gentry
G Derwin Gray
DE Isaiah Buggs
Titans Inactive Players:
OLB Derick Roberson
LB David Long Jr
OT Isaiah Wilson
DT Matt Dickerson
DB Joshua Kalu
OL Daniel Munyer
Ben Roethlisberger and the offense starting out the game for the second week in a row. Is this the week they break the opening drive touchdown drought?
On the first play of the drive, Ben’s ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell incomplete. On 2nd down Ben pass complete to Juju Smith-Schuster who found the soft spot of the zone in the middle of the field. 3rd and short, Ben to Diontae Johnson on the left sideline for the first down.
The Steelers are on the Titans side of the field, but a holding flag on Chukwuma Okorafor brings them back to about the 50. 2nd and 16, Ben tossed a screen to Vance McDonald who only picked up 5. 3rd and long and a short pass to Diontae Johnson turns into a first down! Vance McDonald blocking upfield for him.
Diontae Johnson coughed the ball up in the red zone, but James Conner jumped on it immediately. Conner got the carry on the next play. He had a nice spin move followed by a stiff arm to take the Steelers to about the 10 yard line. Eric Ebron caught the pass and nearly picked up the first down. 3rd and 1 from the 3 yard line.
Benny Snell in for the carry and picked up just enough for the first down. 1st and goal from the 1. Ben Roethlisberger hit James Conner for the touchdown in the flats, but Chukwuma Okorafor got called for a facemask, bringing the Steelers back to the 15 yard line. The 23 game opening drive touchdown drought was nearly broken.
Ben was nearly sacked on 1st down, but tossed the ball off to Eric Ebron. The next play to Diontae Johnson for the touchdown. Ben threaded the needle. Wow! Another bad streak has ended. 7-0 Steelers.
How does Ben do this stuff?
The Titans opening drive was short lived, as multiple penalties put them in a tough spot and the Steelers did what they do best. They stopped the run and put a ton of pressure on the quarterback. Steelers have the ball back with decent field position up 7-0.
The Steelers find found themselves with a 3rd and 14 after a couple of failed plays, but Ben Roethlisberger delivered a deep strike to Eric Ebron for the first down and more. The Steelers 3rd down success is continuing.
Harold Landry III limped off the field for the Titans. The Steelers had 3rd and short, but converted with a 3 yard run up the middle by James Conner.
At the end of the first quarter, the Steelers lead 7-0 with the ball around midfield. Ben Roethlisberger to Diontae Johnson on first down, it bounced off his hands and was an interceptable ball, but it fell incomplete. Chase Claypool on a jet sweep on the next play, but Claypool fumbled. He was able to recover his own fumble and the play went for a loss of 1.
On 3rd and long, Ben Roethlisberger connected with Juju Smith-Schuster for another first down. The Steelers down around the 10 yard line of the Titans. James Conner nearly took it in for a touchdown, but barely stepped out of bounds. 2nd and 1 on the 3 yard line. James Conner up the middle to convert for the 1st down. A fresh set of downs with only 1 yard to pickup.
Ben Roethlisberger to James Conner in the flats. Would have been a touchdown, but Conner could not secure the reception.
The Steelers ran a power run to the left side of the line. Henry Mondeaux in at fullback. Mondeaux had an excellent block taking out 2 defenders as Benny Snell walked into the end zone. 14-0 Steelers.
Derrick Henry got going on this Titans drive as they are in Steelers territory. Ryan Tannehill passed deep into triple coverage. The ball ricocheted twice off and was received by Adam Humphries. A lucky break for the Titans as they enter the red zone.
Ryan Tannehill kept the ball and scrambled up the middle. Vince Williams delivered a huge hit to him that jarred the ball free, but no recovery. Tannehill connected with Corey Davis in the end zone for a touchdown. 14-7 Steelers.
James Conner must have heard all of the Derrick Henry talk this week because he is trying to fight his way into the spotlight. He is at 58 yards on 10 rushes. Conner with a reception on the next play for 18 yards. The Steelers are in the red zone with 3:08 to go in the half.
Defensive offsides, so Ben took the end zone shot. It went right off Diontae Johnson’s hands, but it was a free play, so no harm no foul.
Roethlisberger to Ebron near the end zone. The ball was slightly off target and Ebron worked his way back to ensure no interception. The Steelers will have to settle for a field goal. Ben has taken a couple of shots after the play today. Chris Boswell field goal is good. 17-7 Steelers.
The Titans will get the ball back with 2:50 to go in the half. Steelers will need a good stop here as the Titans get the ball back after the half as well.
The kick coverage unit just stuck the Titans around the 10 yard line. TJ Watt came in for a tackle for loss on Derrick Henry the next play. The Titans are moving the wrong direction.
The 2:00 warning commercial break, and the Titans have a little extra time to figure out how to get out of this 2nd and 14 hole.
Derrick Henry got to the 2nd level and picked up a good chunk of yards, but fell short of the 1st down. The Steelers called a timeout hoping to get the ball back in good field position to score again.
The Titans punted from their own 10 yard line. Ray-Ray McCloud with the massive return to get back to the 20 yard line and in the red zone. He *almost* got that massive return for a touchdown. The Steelers are well within range for a field goal with 00:57 to possibly get a touchdown.
Ben Roethlisberger connected with Diontae Johnson, who faked inside and then turned his body to the boundary for a free run into the end zone. 24-7 Steelers.
The Titans punter bobbled the snap and tried to pick it up and throw. Ineligible man downfield. Penalty is declined and the Steelers get the ball on downs within field goal range. A false start makes that field goal a little more difficult, with just 00:14 remaining in the half. Ben tried to throw it deep for the touchdown, but the ball was intercepted to end the half.
HALFTIME: 24-7 Steelers.
Join us for the 2nd half thread here.