So much for all those good vibes about the Tennessee Titans after the victory over Oakland last week.
The Pittsburgh Steelers brought a harsh dose of reality to LP Field Sunday with a 19-11 victory that wasn't nearly as close as that score indicated.
If not for a spirited effort from a Titans defense that was on the field for nearly 34 minutes, thanks to seven Tennessee turnovers, the score could have been much worse.
* The Steelers scored on the opening kickoff, fooling the Titans special teams with a reverse that rookie Antonio Brown took 89 yards to the end zone.
*The Titans offense was completely inept for much of the day, and did not cross midfield after the eight minute mark of the first half until their final two desperation drives of the game against the Steelers prevent defense. At one juncture of the fourth quarter, the Titans had more turnovers (seven) than first downs (six). It was most turnovers for the Titans in a game since a 2000 contest against Cleveland.
*Vince Young was benched after three turnovers, giving way to Kerry Collins, who turned the ball over twice himself. Young threw a pair of costly interceptions and was finally yanked after a fumble near the end end of the third quarter. That fumble continues a disturbing trend, dating back to the preseason where Young has fumbled now in five of the last six games he has taken the field.
*Oh, and Chris Johnson's 100-yard rushing streak. Forget about that. The Titans had only 46 yards on the ground, and CJ managed 34 of that on 16 carries.
"It's not frustrating. It's embarrassing. It's a lack of execution,” guard Jake Scott said. “We busted assignments. We got the quarterback hit. We didn't block people when we knew what we were doing. It was just poor execution all the way around.”
Scott was mainly speaking for the offensive line, but those words rang through the entire teams, especially on offense and special teams.
Tennessee's defense was busy putting out the fires from all those turnovers, and holding the Steelers' offense to four Jeff Reed field goals. Yet, those field goals were more than enough to produce a Pittsburgh victory, as the Steelers were down to their fourth quarterback on the roster.
Ben Roethlisberger is suspended, fill-in starter Dennis Dixon exited in the second quarter with a knee injury, and the Steelers temporarily released Byron Leftwich, leaving Charlie Batch at the controls of the Pittsburgh offense.
Batch was a pedestrian 5 of 11 for 25 yards in the game, and the Steelers somehow managed 106 yards on the ground on 33 carries. But as dominant as Pittsburgh was and as careless as the Titans were with the football, Tennessee still had a chance late to make a game of it.
Kerry Collins came off the bench to replace Young and engineered a touchdown drive and two-point conversion to pull the Titans within eight. Tennessee's Colin Allred then recovered the onside kick, and Collins pushed the Titans as deep as the Steelers' 31-yard line in the final minute.
A pass to Nate Washington in the front corner of the end zone was knocked away at the last second, and though the Titans got one more play off, it was simply too little too late.
“It leaves a bad taste in our mouths,” Washington said. “To actually play that bad and still be in it the way we were, that's the most disappointing thing. We could have come in and closed this thing out, but we didn't. The opportunity was there and we didn't seize it.”
Not only did the Titans not seize the opportunity, they literally threw it away, which prompted Coach Jeff Fisher to remark, "I thoguht that we were better than that, and we will learn from it."