Injury-Marred Performance Sums Up Steelers' Week 1 Loss
By Philip Botti
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ first regular-season game of the year – a 16-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans – left fans with more questions than answers. Besides the offensive struggles, the Steelers lost three important players to injury. Pro Bowl C Maurkice Pouncey will miss the entire season with torn ACL and MCL ligaments in his right knee. LB Larry Foote (torn biceps) and RB La-Rod Stephens-Howling (torn right ACL) will also likely miss the entire season.
The game started with Titans gave up a safety on the opening kickoff when Tennessee KR Darius Reynaud lost track of where he was in relation to the ball, but the gifted two points marked the end of the Steelers’ luck. On the first drive of the game, RG David DeCastro went for a block and landed on Pouncey’s knee. Starting RB Isaac Redman capped off the drive fumbling into the end zone. After getting the green light to start days before, Redman struggled on eight carries, gaining only nine yards. The running game struggled as a whole and the Steelers finished the game with only 32 total rushing yards.
With a lack of running game, the Steelers struggled to throw the ball. QB Ben Roethlisberger went 21-for-33 for 191 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Roethlisberger was also sacked five times by the revitalized Titans’ defense and unable to break through for a touchdown drive until late in the fourth quarter.
Hoards of disgruntled fans were seen leaving the stadium early. The loss was the first on Opening Day for the Steelers in over a decade. Coach Mike Tomlin talked briefly after the game, “Unacceptable performance. I won’t accept it. This team better not accept it. We’ve got some work to do.”
The team will face division foe Cincinnati Bengals on the road on Monday Night Football in Week 2. The Steelers will need to need find an answer in the running game, which may fare even worse against a stingy Cincinnati defense.