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Titans Show Ground and Pound Can Thrive

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Jurrell Casey celebrates with Bernard Pollard after a sack late in the fourth quarter. Photo by Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images.
Jurrell Casey celebrates with Bernard Pollard after a sack late in the fourth quarter. Photo by Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images.

In a game that had ugly written all over it from the opening gun, the Tennessee Titans stayed true to the game plan in a 16-9 victory in Pittsburgh against the Steelers Sunday.  As most of us already know, this is a league based on how efficient a team can throw the ball and on Sunday, the Titans showed that they can be different and still be successful.

The run game first and foremost was the cornerstone of this victory.  At no point was it the flashy and big play Titans, but a Titans team that has gone back to it’s smash and dash roots that resembles Jeff Fisher's Chris Johnson and LenDale White combo. Johnson went for 70 yards on 25 carries, Jackie Battle had 21 yards and the games lone touchdown and Shonn Greene had 18 yards on an injury plagued day.  Many have covered this game and chalked it up to a lack luster showing by the Steelers, but what if the Titans are actually good?  They dominated the play clock and ran the ball 66% of the time.  That is a road less traveled way to win football games.  The Steelers had to know what was coming as the game progressed and still couldn’t stop it.  The Titans game plan was simple run the ball efficiently, throw when you have to, don’t make mistakes and play solid defense on the front seven.  I would say check, check, check and check.

The story if you watch any game recap is “How bad the Steeler's offense was,” but is it too farfetched to think the Titans have a very good defense? They added players like Bernard Pollard and Moise Fokou as well as Gregg Williams. so it doesn't seem so odd that this defense has made some strides.  I understand the Steelers have offensive line woes, that only got worse with the injury to Maurkice Pouncey, and the run game is lack luster, but they have Ben Roethlisberger.  They have a quarterback that has two Super Bowl rings and a defense that is always top 15 and the Titans handled them on both sides of the ball.  The offense ran for 112 total yards and the defense held the Steelers to 195 total yards.  That's a far cry from the terrible defense of 2012.

For the first time in a long time the Titans are over .500 and they earned a great win against a former rival on the road.  They established the ground and made the Steelers hurt with the pound.  It may not have been pretty but a win is a win.  Now can this be repeated in the weeks to come?