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

DeMarco MurrayOct 25 08:28p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray worked out with TE Jason Witten before the team's official offseason program, and he credits the veteran tight end with his increased stamina and [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 25 06:42p

Washington Redskins DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry Riley (knee) and OT Trent Williams (knee) practiced Saturday, Oct. 25, and are probable for Week 8. [ More ]

Edwin BakerOct 25 06:22p

The New Orleans Saints released TE Tom Crabtree Saturday, Oct. 25. RB Edwin Baker was promoted to the 53-man roster in his place.

Tom CrabtreeOct 25 06:12p

The New Orleans Saints released TE Tom Crabtree Saturday, Oct. 25.

Jerel WorthyOct 25 06:12p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed DE Jerel Worthy to the practice squad Saturday, Oct. 25.

LaMarr WoodleyOct 25 05:02p

Oakland Raiders LB LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) were placed on Reserve/Injured Saturday, Oct. 25. CB D.J. Hayden (foot) was activated from the Physically Unable to [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 25 04:32p

Seattle Seahawks FS Derrick Coleman (foot) was placed on Reserve/Injured Saturday, Oct. 25. The team signed WR Phil Bates to the 53-man roster.

Damian WilliamsOct 25 04:32p

Miami Dolphins DE Dion Jordan was activated to the 53-man roster Saturday, Oct. 25, after serving his suspension. WR Damian Williams was waived to make room for him.

Jack CrawfordOct 25 04:32p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (thigh), FS Jakar Hamilton (personal), OT Jermey Parnell (chest) and DE Anthony Spencer (knee, foot) practiced Saturday, Oct. 25, and are probable for Week [ More ]

Doug FreeOct 25 03:52p

Dallas Cowboys OG Doug Free (foot) could return next week against the Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Jason Garrett said he hopes Free will be able to practice net week.

Ryan TaylorOct 25 03:02p

The Baltimore Ravens waived TE Ryan Taylor and promoted TE Phillip Supernaw from their practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Oct. 25.

Chandler JonesOct 25 02:12p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) could be done for the season with a hip injury he suffered in Week 7. Jones will reportedly miss at least six weeks.

Chris CookOct 25 01:22p

The San Francisco 49ers placed CB Chris Cook (hamstring) and C Daniel Kilgore (leg) on Reserve/Injured and signed S Ray Ventrone to a one-year deal Saturday, Oct. 25.

Gerell RobinsonOct 25 01:12p

The Cleveland Browns activated OL Nick McDonald and waived TE Gerell Robinson Saturday, Oct. 25.

Gerald McCoyOct 25 01:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy has agreed to terms with the team on a seven-year contract extension worth close to $100 million.

Marcus EasleyOct 25 12:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Marcus Easley (knee) will work out before the team's Week 8 game to see if he will be able to play, according to head coach Doug [ More ]

Jason TrusnikOct 25 12:42p

Miami Dolphins LB Jason Trusnik could start at middle linebacker in Week 8 if LB Koa Misi (ankle) is not able to play.

Tavarres KingOct 25 12:22p

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed practice squad CB Peyton Thompson to their active roster Saturday, Oct. 25. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived WR Tavarres King.

Calais CampbellOct 25 12:22p

Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) likely will be a game-time decision for Week 8, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Campbell said his knee felt good during practice and hopes to play.

A.J. GreenOct 25 12:12p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) is not expected to play in Week 8, because he has ligament damage under his toe. The team wants to be careful with [ More ]

Shonn GreeneOct 25 12:02p

Tennessee Titans RB Shonn Greene was arrested Friday, Oct. 24, and charged with a handicap parking violation, driving on a revoked/suspended license, reckless driving and resisting stop/halt/frisk.

Sean SpenceOct 25 11:32a

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier (knee) should be able to play in Week 8, but it is not known if he will start at inside linebacker. Shazier and LB [ More ]

Aqib TalibOct 25 05:22a

Denver Broncos CB Tony Carter has drawn interest on the trade market prior to the Oct. 28 deadline. CBs Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby have taken away some playing [ More ]

Alan BranchOct 25 05:12a

Free-agent DL Alan Branch (Bills) was spotted in the New England Patriots' locker room but still has not signed his contract with the team. An additional report by Mike [ More ]

Jason KelceOct 25 12:42a

Philadelphia Eagles C Jason Kelce (hernia) is listed as questionable for the Week 8 game against the Arizona Cardinals, but he is unlikely to play. He had sports hernia [ More ]

Cullen JenkinsOct 25 12:42a

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) is expected to miss at least a few weeks, so DEs Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka could be asked to play interior [ More ]

Jon BeasonOct 25 12:42a

New York Giants LB Devon Kennard might see more playing time with LB Jon Beason (toe) injured and possibly sidelined a while.

Emmanuel AchoOct 25 12:32a

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) might be able to return for the Week 8 game against the Arizona Cardinals. If not, LBs Emmanuel Acho and Casey Matthews would [ More ]

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group