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Titans vs. Steelers: Week 1 Studs, Duds, Grades & Reaction

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Titans vs. Steelers: Studs, Duds, Grades & Reaction for Tennessee

Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (99) is congratulated by linebacker Akeem Ayers (56) after recording a sack as Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (77) walks away during the second half at Heinz Field. The Titans won the game, 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Kern
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:



Jurrell Casey
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.


Zach Brown
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).


Alterraun Verner
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.

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