Normally, punters aren’t recognized as key contributors to a victory. One can make an exception for Brett Kern, who pinned four of his five punts inside the Steelers’ 20-yard-line. A hapless Steelers offense spent the entire afternoon backed toward their end zone.
Kern’s terrific punting played a key role in the Steelers’ offensive woes.
UPDATE: Paul Ruddy on Twitter had a comment on a glaring omission about Kern’s impact:
— Paul Ruddy (@ParddyMa) September 9, 2013
You must respect a player when he backs up his smack talk with on-field production. Earlier this week, Jurrell Casey claimed that he was coming after Ben Roethlisberger. Casey took advantage of the Pouncey injury with two sacks.
Once recognized as a top-tier run-defender, Casey is developing into an all-around elite defensive tackle. Other than quarterback, one can’t underestimate the importance of a dominant interior defensive lineman.
Picking up right where he left off last season, Zach Brown took advantage of a bad offensive line when he registered a team-leading eight tackles with two sacks and a pass deflection. An all-around dominant performance for what should become a scary outside linebacker tandem (Akeem Ayers, Brown).
Alternating starters at No. 2 cornerback? Alterraun Verner made the most of his situation. He had a key interception that set up the Titans’ only touchdown drive of the game. That came right before the end of the first half. Verner had another pass deflection.