After a season in 2009 when they allowed too many leads to slip away late, so far in 2010 the D has been dominant, as they have held their first two opponents to one touchdown after a 19-11 win over the Titans in Tennessee.
Sunday’s specialty was the takeaways, as the team totaled seven takeaways, three picks against Vince Young and Kerry Collins, and four fumble recoveries.
“It was a big win for us,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “You come into a hostile environment versus good people it’s going to require a lot. We were far from perfect today but the guys really hung together and gave an outstanding effort.
“We made enough plays in enough areas to get out of there. I like what the team is doing in terms of working together, fighting the adversity and uplifting each other. We still have some improving to do. We are still beating ourselves a little bit. It’s good to learn those lessons and work to improve when you are 2-0, which is what we are.”
The Titans became so frustrated with their lack of offense, they turned to the veteran Collins after Young went just 7-for-10 for 66 yards with two picks, and he also lost a fumble.
Collins didn’t do any better, as he was picked on his first series by Bryant McFadden, was sacked by Troy Polamalu on his second after a bad snap, and was hit and fumbled on his third series. The backup QB was 17-for-25 for 149 yards with a TD and pick.
Tennessee made it interesting in the end, as they got a touchdown with :58 seconds left to make it 19-11 after the two-point conversion. Then they got the onside kick, but the defense held for the last frantic Tennessee series to hang on for the win.
The Steelers offense didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard by any means, as they only crossed the goal-line once, and it was on the first play of the game on the opening kickoff when rookie Antonio Brown took a reverse and went 89 yards just seconds into the game.
The offense was held in check after Dennis Dixon got beat up by the Titans, fumbling once himself, and then after a called run in the second quarter he left the game with a knee injury.
Charlie Batch didn’t make mistakes, which was the key to the win along with the Steelers unreal defensive effort. Batch went just 5-11 for 25 yards. The run game was paced by Rashard Mendenhall, who went for 69 yards on 23 carries.
The other story of the contest was the defensive effort in holding down Chris Johnson. Not only didn’t Johnson get to 100 yards, he didn’t even get to 50. The Steelers D was so good in stopping him, he had just 34 yards on 15 carries, his long carry of the day being 11 yards.
Johnson did burn off a long run in the second quarter that would have been a Titans touchdown, but it came due to the fact that Chris Hoke was being held on the play, and the refs made the right call and made the Titans bring it back.
It is the third time the Steelers have held Johnson in check in three games, holding him less to 100 yards.
The team will stay on the road, and had better not overlook next weeks opponent, as they play a surprising 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.