It was the kind of game that could act as a setup for a 3, 4, maybe even 5 game win streak. The kind of game that defines a team for the near future. A game where if Chris Johnson rushes for at least 75 yards against an under performing Steelers defense that had been allowing around 120 yards rushing per game, then things are looking up and the Titans are looking serious. Unfortunately, none of that happened.
The Run Game
Johnson rushed for 51 yards on 14 carries, good for a 3.6 yard average. After signing that big contract, it’s easy to believe that owner Bud Adams would find this unacceptable. If you’re looking for hope, one could imagine that the run game would get better once now starting FB Ahmard Hall gets a few games under his belt. In reality, he played during the pre-season and there shouldn’t have been much catching up needed. Johnson did, however, score his first rushing TD of the season.
I guess maybe the recently released Quinn Johnson wasn’t the problem.
For the Steelers, the run game was no issue. The much talked about Isaac Redman didn’t impress (49 yards), but former Georgia Tech star Jonathan Dwyer came through rushing for 107 yards on only 11 carries. A long run of 76 does take some of those carries out of context. Without the run, Dwyer has 31 yards on 10 carries. Aside from the one impressive run, Dwyer and Redman couldn’t do much against the Titans front 7, which seems to be a theme on the season for both the Titans defensive ability to stop the run and the Steelers ability to be inconsistent in running.
The Passing Game
Lucky for the Steelers, their passing game worked. I’ll keep it short: Roethlisberger threw 5 touchdowns. WR’s Mike Wallace and Hines Ward combined for 13 catches and 3 touchdowns.
For the Titans, Hasselbeck completed 29/49 for 262 yards with one interception and one touchdown. Did anyone imagine in August that the new quarterback would be throwing nearly 50 times against the Steelers?
WR Nate Washington–5 rec, 69 yards
WR Damian Williams–6 rec, 66 yards, 1 TD
TE Jared Cook–4 rec, 59 yards
RB Javon Ringer–6 rec, 16 yards (that’s typed correctly)
Hasselbeck did fumble once, Ringer recovered.
CB Cortland Finnegan had one interception, along with 2 total tackles
CB Jason McCourty was at the top of the tackle list for a second straight week, this time with 8 total tackles.
DT Jurrel Casey managed a sack.
SS Jordan Babineaux finished with 5 tackles, amidst solid play the last few weeks.
Titans WR Damian Williams tweeted after the game: “Thanks for the love tweeps. Don’t trip we will be back #TitanUp”
At the end of the day, it was just one game. A game that may later decide a wild card spot, but for now it was just one game. Let’s take a breather and see what this team is really made of as they look to right the ship in a division game against Houston after the up-coming bye week. Maybe the run game will even make an appearance.