In my preview for Thursday’s Steelers-Titans game, I predicted the Steelers would have trouble against the Titans because of the Titans running game and defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau knowing the Steelers so well. Oops! The Steelers defeated the Titans 40-17 to improve to 8-2, best in the AFC. The offense finally had its breakthrough game, getting more than 30 points for the first time this season. The defense also had its best game with 5 sacks and 4 interceptions.
Let’s look at the winners and losers:
This was one of the best games of Antonio brown’s career, and that’s saying a lot. He had 10 receptions, 144 years and 3 touchdowns. One of the touchdowns was a David Tyree-like impossible catch. Brown has been the only member of the offense to be consistently good all year but in this game he went to a whole new level.
In the first half, Ben was mediocre but in the 2nd half he had the kind of game he’s had in his prime. It’s been said that he’s too old and isn’t as effective anymore but he proved the naysayers wrong with a 4 touchdown and 299 yards. Ben excels in prime time and this was no exception.
The defense has given up 17 points or less In the last 5 games. One big reason is the defensive line is dominating the line of scrimmage. Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Javon Hargrave have to be the best defensive line in the league. They had 4 sacks and 5 1/2 tackles for loss.
How would the secondary do without starters Joe Haden and Mike Mitchell? They had their best game of the season, picking off Marcus Mariota 4 times. They were shaky at times, like when they gave up a 75 yard touchdown pass to Rishard Matthew to start the 2nd half, but it’s hard to criticize a defense that has given up 17 points or fewer in 5 consecutive games.
I predicted the Titans unique rushing attack would give the Steelers problems. This wasn’t the case at all as all rushers had only 52 yards on 21 attempts. For a unit that has had problems against the run this year, that was huge.
Chris Boswell was his usual automatic self, going 4 for 4 on field goals, but this unit is in the winner category for having a blocked punt when the score was still close.
Bryant had the kind of game he’s had all season – failing to make catches on passes he should catch and failing to do anything after making a catch. He had 2 catches for 30 yards on 4 targets, including a drop and an offensive pass interference penalty. He should still play because of the deep threat but he’s clearly behind JuJu Smith-Schuster on the depth chart.