2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Steelers drop opener to Titans 16-9

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-08 17:47

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers kept insisting during a listless preseason the intensity would be there once the calendar flipped to September and the games started to count.

The calendar flipped.

The Steelers still flopped.

Sloppy at the start and injury ravaged by the finish, Pittsburgh opened 2013 with a dismal 16-9 loss to Tennessee on Sunday that exposed a variety of flaws that may take weeks for coach Mike Tomlin to address.

The offense managed just 32 yards rushing. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times.

And while the defense kept Tennessee under wraps, it still allowed a pair of lengthy scoring drives and failed to produce a turnover.

Even worse, Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey ripped up his right knee and linebacker Larry Foote ruptured his biceps. Both players are likely out for the season, an emotional blow to a team already in transition.

``We've got a lot of work to do,'' Tomlin said. ``Nobody cares about our problems. They're glad we've got them. We need to understand that. We need to stick together and persevere.''

Pittsburgh will have to do it without the linchpin for its retooled offensive line and the chatty old sage on one of the league's best linebacking groups.

Pouncey left in the first quarter when teammate David DeCastro fell on his right leg at the end of a running play. Foote left in the fourth quarter after Tennessee running back Chris Johnson slipped through his grasp.

``That's a tough loss for us,'' nose tackle Steve McLendon said. ``But the thing we have to do man is come back and ready to work. The guy behind him has to take it off his shoulder and be ready. The opportunity is a small window.''

So is Pittsburgh's margin for error. Already considered the third team in an expected three-way battle with Cincinnati and Baltimore for the AFC North title, the Steelers hardly appeared ready for the bounce back season they've been talking about for months.

Roethlisberger never looked comfortable while completing 21 of 33 passes for 191 yards and an interception to go with a garbage-time touchdown.

He spent a portion of the day on his back and had trouble dealing with a revitalized Tennessee defense invigorated by the arrival of assistant Gregg Williams.

``Not good enough, point blank,'' Roethlisberger said. ``No excuses. I don't make excuses. It just wasn't good enough.''

Tennessee's Jackie Battle ran for a 3-yard touchdown in the second quarter and Rob Bironas kicked three field goals for the Titans. Johnson added 70 clock-chewing yards as Tennessee snapped Pittsburgh's 10-game winning streak in home openers.

Following a bumpy offseason in which players such as Mike Wallace, James Harrison and Casey Hampton departed, Pittsburgh insisted it was not rebuilding.

At the moment, however, it certainly looks like it.

The Titans didn't dominate. Then again, they didn't have to.

Content to work between the tackles with Johnson and Battle, Tennessee held the ball for more than 34 minutes.

The subdued ending hardly seemed possible after one of the more memorable opening weekend flubs by Tennessee kick returner Darius Reynaud.

The Titans won the coin toss and elected to receive. Shaun Suisham's squib kick was fielded at the Tennessee 1. Reynaud took two small steps backward into the end zone and dropped to a knee.

Officials originally called the play a touchback and placed the ball at the Tennessee 20, but referee Jerome Boger signaled a safety after ruling the ball never actually crossed the goal line.

Pittsburgh's euphoria lasted all of eight plays. The Steelers were driving following the free kick when DeCastro fell on Pouncey's right knee. Pouncey was on the ground for several minutes before being taken off on a golf cart, his season over before it began.

Kelvin Beachum stepped in, but the drive ended when Redman - the de facto starter with rookie Le'Veon Bell sidelined by a sprained right foot - fumbled into the end zone.

``It's unacceptable,'' Redman said. ``It wasn't a guy hitting more the ball coming out. It was something we work on every single day in practice.''

The unusual 2-0 lead held up for a while, however, until the Titans got things going late in the first half.

Tennessee safety Alterraun Verner intercepted Roethlisberger at the Pittsburgh 49 and the Titans reeled off a 12-play, 49-yard drive that featured a return to the grind-it-out play the team envisioned when it brought in three new starters along the offensive line, including 10th overall draft pick Chance Warmack.

Battle converted a fourth-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 25 to extend the drive then finished it off by plowing 3 yards for a touchdown with 46 seconds left in the half.

NOTES: Roethlisberger became the 35th quarterback in NFL history to go over 30,000 career yards passing. He's at 30,035 yards in 10 seasons . Tennessee RB Shonn Greene left with a knee injury in the second quarter and did not return . The Titans travel to Houston next Sunday. The Steelers play at Cincinnati on Monday night Sept. 16. ... Pittsburgh's last loss in its home opener came in 2002 against Oakland.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Adrian PetersonApr 23 05:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson may not be in the Dallas Cowboys' plans after all, according Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson said the Cowboys have not spoken to the Vikings regarding Peterson.

Demaryius ThomasApr 23 03:32p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas has decided not to participate in offseason workouts because he does not want to suffer an injury, but general manager John Elway does not [ More ]

Will HillApr 23 03:12p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent FS Will Hill signed his tender offer Thursday, April 23, according to sources. Hill received a one-year deal worth $1.54 million.

Andre EllingtonApr 23 03:02p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington's (foot) injured foot is about 95 percent healed, and Ellington has not suffered any setbacks, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

M. Jones-DrewApr 23 02:22p

Free-agent RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Raiders) will sign a one-day deal to retire as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars next Tuesday, April 28. He played nine seasons and rushed [ More ]

Victor CruzApr 23 02:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) said he believes that he will be ready to play in the season opener next season and play like he did before he suffered the injury.

Justin TuckerApr 23 01:52p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent PK Justin Tucker has signed his one-year tender offer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bear PascoeApr 23 12:52p

Free-agent TE Bear Pascoe (Falcons) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Thursday, April 23. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sam BradfordApr 23 01:53a

The Philadelphia Eagles and QB Sam Bradford have yet to make significant progress on a contract extension sparking speculation the quarterback might be traded again, although head coach Chip [ More ]

Brandin CooksApr 22 11:43p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks (knee) spent time training together with QB Drew Brees during the offseason in San Diego. 'Man, I love everything about him, his makeup, [ More ]

Greg JenningsApr 22 06:13p

Free-agent WR Greg Jennings (Vikings) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Philip RiversApr 22 05:33p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers may be losing faith in the organization, according to NFL Network analyst and former Chargers' RB LaDainian Tomlinson. 'The parts around him keep [ More ]

Jacques McClendonApr 22 04:13p

Free-agent OG Jacques McClendon (Jaguars) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Adrian PetersonApr 22 02:23p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not expected to be traded by the Vikings unless the team is overwhelmed by an offer from another team, according to a source. [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 22 02:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown said he is not participating in voluntary workouts because he is spending time with his newborn child. Brown said he will report to offseason [ More ]

Marvin LewisApr 22 11:33a

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis signed a one-year extension Wednesday, April 22. He's under contract through the 2016 season.

S. RichardsonApr 21 05:23p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Shaquille Richardson (undisclosed) was released Tuesday, April 21, with a failure to disclose physical condition designation.

Adrian PetersonApr 21 01:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains a candidate to be traded, and a source close to the situation believes that if he isn't traded before or during the 2015 [ More ]

Dennis PittaApr 20 06:52p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) is participating in the team's voluntary conditioning program that started Monday, April 20. Pitta's career remains in doubt after fracturing his right hip [ More ]

Prince AmukamaraApr 20 05:22p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (biceps) said he's about 90% recovered from a torn biceps he suffered last season.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 05:02p

Updating a previous item, free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) signed a contract to officially retire with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tim TebowApr 20 03:52p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) officially signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 20 01:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not in attendance for the start of the team's offseason workout program Monday, April 20, according to league sources. However, Peterson hasn't attended [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 20 11:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is seeking a new contract and could hold out from minicamps and training camp, according to sources.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 07:22a

Free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) is expected to retire Monday, April 20, and join the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff. The Cardinals, the team Wilson played for from 2001-2012, have announced a press conference.

Tim TebowApr 19 07:42p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20.

Stefen WisniewskiApr 18 01:02p

Free-agent C Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders) signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, April 18. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Ryan JensenApr 17 05:02p

Baltimore Ravens exclusive rights free-agent TE Phillip Supernaw, SS Brynden Trawick, CB Rashaan Melvin and OT Ryan Jensen re-signed with the team Friday, April 17. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 17 12:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said earlier this week that he's not sure if he'll participate in the team's offseason program. Minnesota is set to start their offseason workouts [ More ]

Adrian PetersonApr 16 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will not receive any further suspension after he is reinstated from the commissioner's exempt list, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group