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Insider Only Steelers – Titans Post Game Buzz: Tomlin taking heat but loss is again on Steelers defense

POST-GAME BUZZ

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is taking some heat for opting to let Shaun Suisham who had just made a 52 yard field goal, try a 54 yarder with 49 seconds left that ended up short, but Pittsburgh’s 26-23 loss to the Titans on Thursday night is once again on the Steelers faltering defense.
“There was {some debate} but he banged the other one before that pretty clean so I decided to give him a shot at it, ” Tomlin said on deciding to kick. I will take responsibility for the miss.”
In what has become a continuing trend, the Steelers defense couldn’t get the job done late in the fourth quarter. After the Steelers went up 23-16 on a Suisham 52 yard field goal that was setup by a Lawrence Timmons interception, a stop closes out of the game but the Titans go 11 plays, 80 yards in 3:59, capped off by a Kenny Britt 5 yard touchdown catch on 3rd and 5 with Ike Taylor in coverage.
To recap that drive, what the Steelers did defensively was truly defeat themselves. It started with a dropped interception by Keenan Lewis that was a gimme on the second play of the drive. From there it was a disaster for the Steelers defensively and on the next play Kendall Wright beats Ike Taylor for 16 yards and Pittsburgh couldn’t get off the field on third down in the fourth quarter.
3rd and 8 at the 50, Hasselbeck has a ton of time in the pocket and hits Wright in the middle of the field for 35 yards to set up 1st down at the Steelers 15. Two plays later on 3rd and 10, Ike Taylor takes an in-excusable holding penalty on a pass intended for Damian Williams that was several yards short of the marker for a first down and Taylor had good coverage. If Taylor lets Williams catch the ball, he’s not going to come close to getting the first down. Taylor would then be targeted again on a fade pass that Kenny Britt dropped on 2nd and 5, but Hasselbeck goes after Taylor again on third down and Britt hauls in a 5 yard touchdown pass with Taylor in coverage to tie the game at 23-23.
 Taylor didn’t give up the explosive plays he did in the debacle against Tebow and the Broncos last January, but his performance tonight was just as bad. As much as the local media likes to kiss Taylor’s butt, he’s on the downside of his career, over-rated at times and the Steelers secondary is a complete mess as Keenan Lewis has leveled off and Cortez Allen hasn’t taken that next step yet like some in training camp thought he would. Lewis though has probably been the Steelers best cornerback and that’s not a good thing.
Pittsburgh defeating themselves continued after Suisham’s failed field goal as the defense couldn’t hold to get to overtime. Tennessee has a 3rd and 5 at the 50 yard line with 37 seconds left and the Steelers defense confused on what defensive formation they are putting out, get caught with Titans tight end Jared Cook matched up in the middle of the field with James Harrison and Cook blows by Harrison for a 25 yard gain, setting up Rod Bironas 40 yard game winning field goal. Cooke in the open field against Harrison was a perfect matchup for the Titans. To no surprise, we saw Hasselbeck read the Steelers defense pre-snap very well on third downs, similar to Carson Palmer in week 3. Tennessee went 9 of 16 on third downs.
I felt coming into this game that it was going to be a tougher matchup for the Steelers than some thought it would and that Tennessee would have success on offense but the Steelers also struggled in other areas, getting a punt blocked and the offense didn’t have a great night as they turned 412 yards into just 23 points.
Ben Roethlisberger’s INT at the Titans 32 yard line near the end of the first half came back to haunt them as it was a missed opportunity to get points and Todd Haley got too conservative on the final drive, running the ball on 2nd and 6 at the Titans 36 yard line which resulted in a 1 yard loss. The offense though was still good enough to win tonight but this Steelers defense and pretty much the team continues to remind me of the 2009 team that loss to inferior teams, couldn’t defend the pass and were a nightmare on special teams.
While falling to 2-3 isn’t time to panic, the Steelers now have three AFC losses, 0-3 on the road and had a bad night on the injury front as Maurkice Pouncey suffered an MCL injury that needs to be further evaluated and Rashard Mendenhall suffered some kind of an achilles injury, according to Tomlin. Isaac Redman has what Tomlin calls an ankle injury. The bad news for the Steelers is that they are just not a very good football team and have a lot of holes but Ben Roethlisberger is going to keep them in every game.
 

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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