Ah, that headline feels good to write. The Titans got a few breaks, made some of their own, and at the end of the day Rob Bironas hit a field goal from 40 yards out to upset the Pittsburgh Steelers, 26-23, at home.
Like the Lions win and unlike the four losses coming in, the game was competitive throughout. Mike Wallace beat Jason McCourty plus Michael Griffin's help for an 82-yard TD after three field goals, two by the Titans. The defense held after that, though, and a blocked punt by Tim Shaw at the end of the first quarter gave the Titans the ball at the 1. Jamie Harper punched in a score two plays later, and the Titans added another field goal before halftime to go in with a 16-10 lead.
It looked like the Titans might fall prey to their old second half defensive woes, as the Steelers took a 23-16 lead with scores on their first three second half possessions. The Titans tied the game, though, thanks in part to a big third down conversion where flexing Darius Reynaud out wide left the defense confused and Kendall Wright picked up 35 yards down to the 15. Kenny Britt finished off the drive with a TD grab, albeit a play later than he should have. The Steelers made it to field goal range, but Ben Roethlisberger missed Heath Miller on third down and they settled for a career long 54-yard field goal, a field goal that went just short. With good field position, the Titans didn't need many yards, and Jared Cook provided the ones they did, outrunning James Harrison for a 25-yard gain to set up the game-winner and a pleasant surprise.
With a big win like this one, there are a lot of positives. Special teams stood out again, as Darius Reynaud had some risky returns but didn't get burned. Rob Bironas was a perfect 4-for-4. The blocked punt was more a screwup than a function of great design, but it was a game-changing type play. Matt Hasselbeck threw a pick, but looked a lot like the fairly functional Matt Hasselbeck we saw last year. Kenny Britt had a rough night at times but ended up with 62 yards and a TD. Kendall Wright had the big grab and six more. Chris Johnson didn't look great, but generally got the yards that were blocked and a hair more. Jason McCourty did a good job of recovering from the early Wallace score and did a great job to pick off a ball in the red zone late in the first half. The defense did a great job of getting off the field on third downs, especially in the first half, and didn't give the Steelers any freebies when Roethlisberger missed a couple throws in third downs. There were a couple negatives, too, but I won't dwell on those tonight. Instead, the Titans finish the brutal first six games at 2-4 and go into a long weekend on a positive tonight. For tonight, that's all I need.
That was a nice win and as dragak1981 said, it was the way we expected the Titans to play this year. There were some great plays and some really bad plays, but as fans I think we expected this team to have a certain resiliency that would allow it to be competitive each and every week. In the first 5 weeks, and with the exception of the Lions game, we didn't see any of that. It was very disheartening to see the team crumble week after week. Even if the Titans had lost last night, I wouldn't have felt as bad as previous weeks because at least they showed some heart. This win, though, was really all about special teams. Renaud didn't break any big ones, but he was solid and didn't put the team in a hole at any point. Kern was a beast. And Bironas with the exception of the first field goal attempt was awesome. As for Tim Shaw, he was everything you would want in a special teams captain. He is the perfect special teamer. If you were asked to identify a turning point or most important play of the game, his punt block was it. That gave the Titans the touchdown needed to keep pace.
@Scott P I agree. Special teams has been one bright spot in all of the games this year. Coverage units really good, Kern is a really good punter, Bironas is solid as always, and Reynaud is pretty good too. It was of course key in both of our wins.
That was a great game and an unexpected win. That is what I expected from the Titans all season long. It was about time.
- Mike Martin is an absolute beast. He was disruptive along the line all game.
- Akeem Ayers is a horrible tackler. he and Michael Griffin are the worst tacklers on the the team.
- Ryan Mouton and Robert Johnson = major liabilities on defense. When Mouton got that PI in the endzone and Rojo missed that tackle on Redman, Jerry Gray LOST IT! On the Rojo screw up he threw is headset and clip board.
- CJ looked pretty good...or at least much better.
- The O-line played well overall. I saw Munchak talking to those guys in between series on the sideline
- Chris Palmer off of the sidelines must be better for the team...
- Whole Offense played well, except for the drops (here's looking at your Kenny Britt).
With a softer schedule coming up, (bills, colts, bears and dolphins), can you see the team going on a decent run here Tom? Maybe 3-1 and getting back to .500?