Breaking Down a Defeat

Here’s why Titan fans should feel optimistic after an eerily familiar 13-10 overtime loss to the Steelers:

Kerry Collins is as solid as he was last year. He hit receivers on the numbers all night. Whether they caught those passes was another issue.

The run defense was ridiculous.

The front four got pressure on Roethlisberger for most of the game. Note that in the game-tying fourth quarter drive that the Steelers ran a no-huddle, shotgun attack. The defense was gassed after that.

Kenny Britt looks like a playmaker. Yeah, he should have broken up the interception in the first quarter, but he made good breaks and caught everything thrown his way.

Michael Griffin’s strip of Hines Ward was one of the most clutch plays ever made by a Titan.

Then there were the issues:

Bironas stunk up the joint. That’s three missed field goals in the last two games.

Finnegan probably shouldn’t be returning punts. His main job is just to catch the ball and he failed on that once.

When Finnegan made the half-ending interception, he should have found a way to get to the house. All he had to do was beat a couple of offensive linemen and he ran out of bounds.

Justin Gage caught a tough pass to help beat Pittsburgh last December. He dropped a sure touchdown in the second quarter and couldn’t hold onto a couple of critical third-down passes. He can’t be the Titans’ number one target.

The D line got no pressure on Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter and overtime. Even the few blitzes attempted did not succeed.

What we learned:

Roethlisberger is a gamer. The Steelers try to develop late-round guys in their offensive line because he’s so good under pressure. He’s not a fantasy stud but he is a real-life game-changer.

Chris Johnson is still fast. He had one great run and not much else.

Overall, the defense looked good. Giving up only 13 points on the road against the defending Super Bowl champ is as much as you can ask of the unit.

The Titans still can’t close out good teams in critical games.

It’s tough being a Titan fan. In the past decade, only Eagles fans could have more complaints about their franchise being a big tease.

In 2000, the Titans opened at Buffalo. This was the year after the Music City Miracle. The Bills won with a game-winning drive led by then-backup and now-OC Alex Van Pelt. The Titans went on to win seven in a row and 13-3 overall. Then came the Ravens.

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