Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Steelers vs. Titans: Pittsburgh loses in final seconds

The Steelers lost to the Titans Thursday night, 26-23, to fall to 2-3 on the season.

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21 Total Updates since October 10, 2012
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Troy Polamalu expected to miss more time

The Pittsburgh Steelers could be without safety Troy Polamalu until after Halloween, after he re-injured his right calf against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. Polamalu is expected to miss four weeks, according to Steelers Depot.

Polamalu's absence was felt as the Titans gashed the middle of the field for big gains on the way to their game-tying touchdown drive. Tennessee picked up large chunks of yards again as the Titans engineered a last-minute drive for a game-winning field goal as time expired.

The Steelers have already been without Polamalu for multiple games this season.. He missed two weeks after an injury to his calf in the season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos. The Steelers have struggled without their Pro Bowl safety in the lineup, and have stumbled out of the gate to a losing record at 2-3.

Pittsburgh will face the Cincinnati Bengals, without Polamalu, in its next game on Oct. 21.

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Steelers reporters try to make sense of struggles

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell to 2-3 overall on the season after watching the Tennessee Titans rally in the fourth quarter to win, 26-23, on Thursday night.

After the game, reporters following the team took to Twitter to discuss what has, to this point, been an underwhelming season of football in Pittsburgh.

Dale Lolley, a Steelers writer for The Observer-Reporter of Washington, Pa., tweeted bluntly that the team faces "the reality that they just might not be very good."

Lolley followed that up with what he called a "Tomlinism," referring to head coach Mike Tomlin, when he tweeted, "the rubber has hit the road and the vehicle has hit a tree."

Elsewhere, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review correctly tweeted, "At least the Steelers won't lose on Sunday."

Mike Prisuta of WDVE 102.5 radio in Pittsburgh referred back to the Steelers' gritty 16-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5, tweeting that while the team's character may not be the issue, their ability, as evidenced by losing a late lead to the Titans, very well could be.

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Fantasy football: What to do about Steelers' RBs?

Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman were both battered and bruised in Thursday night's 26-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans, making their fantasy football status going forward uncertain for the time being.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that Mendenhall left with an Achilles injury and Redman, who was the team's leading receiver with 105 yards on four receptions, suffered an injured ankle.

With a long week of preparation ahead before the Steelers travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals Oct. 21, each back's possible role will likely not be determined right away.

However, for fantasy purposes, if one or both of the Mendenhall/Redman duo would be unavailable against Cincinnati, a possible waiver-wire selection would be running back Baron Batch. Batch led the team in carries, with 10, and rushing yards, with 22, as he also scored a touchdown on Thursday.

If Thursday night was any indication, Batch will be the back filling in if injuries in the backfield linger into Week 7.

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8 Steelers injured vs. Titans on Thursday night

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost more than a game on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans, as head coach Mike Tomlin ran down eight newly injured players in the 26-23 loss to go along with two who were already inactive for Week 6.

Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey sustained a MCL injury early in the game and did not return, though Tomlin, according to a report from the Steelers Depot, didn't have specifics post-game and said Pouncey would need to be further evaluated.

Starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert also left the game in the second quarter after injuring his right ankle, and linebackers Brandon Johnson and Chris Carter were both hampered with hamstring injuries.

In the backfield, running back Rashard Mendenhall went down with an Achilles injury and fellow back Isaac Redman, who had a big night receiving, tweaked an ankle.

Safeties Ryan Clark (hip pointer) and Will Allen (neck stinger) both suffered injuries but were able to return to action Thursday night. The defense was already playing without Troy Polamalu (calf injury) and LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), who were inactive for Week 6.

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Steelers' season could go from bad to worse

The Steelers are off to an awful 2-3 start after their loss to the Titans on Thursday. That's the bad news. But wait -- there's even worse news, as Ed Bouchette points out. In compiling that 2-3 record, the Steelers have only played one team (the Eagles) that currently has a winning record.

Now they have the Bengals, Redskins and Giants, two out of three with winning records. This team could easily start out 2-6 rather than 6-2.

The Steelers really have themselves in a hole after losing to teams like the Raiders. Now they have to play teams like the Giants and Bengals that are actually pretty competitive. These games aren't unwinnable for the Steelers, and it's worth pointing out that, for all the hand-wringing going on in Steeler Nation this morning, two of their losses have been by only three points, and the Steelers have scored one more point than they've allowed so far. Still, it looks awfully likely that this simply isn't as good a Steelers team as we're used to seeing. At this point, that opinion is likely to persist unless they can win at least a couple of their next three games.

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Pittsburgh 'grabbed defeat from jaws of victory'

The Steelers let a late lead slip away on the road to the Tennessee Titans, losing on a last second Rob Bironas field goal, 26-23. Behind the Steel Curtain reacts.

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Titans get by Steelers on last-second kick

The Pittsburgh Steelers couldn't hold on to a seven-point, fourth-quarter lead, as the Tennessee Titans won on a last-second kick, 26-23, on Thursday night.

Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham missed a 54-yard attempt with under a minute to play in regulation, and on the ensuing drive Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck hit tight end Jared Cook for a 25-yard gain to set up the winning 40-yard field goal from kicker Rob Bironas.

With under five minutes remaining in the fourth, Hasselbeck hit receiver Kenny Britt for a 5-yard touchdown to tie the score at 23. The touchdown completed an 11-play, 80-yard Tennessee drive in just under four minutes.

Prior to that, Pittsburgh got a 1-yard touchdown run from running back Baron Batch early in the fourth, capping off a 15-play, 80-yard drive that gave the Steelers a 20-16 lead. Suisham drilled a 52-yard field goal midway through the final frame, his third make of the night, giving Pittsburgh the 23-16 advantage.

In throwing for 363 yards, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger surpassed Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw as the franchise's all-time passing leader. Bradshaw's previous record was 27,989 yards through the air. Roethlisberger finished the night going 24-of-40 with one touchdown, an 82-yard strike to receiver Mike Wallace in the first quarter, and one interception.

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Steelers trail Titans by 3 heading into 4th

Down six heading into the halftime break, the Pittsburgh Steelers have trimmed that deficit in half. They now trail the Tennessee Titans, 16-13, at the end of the third quarter on Thursday night.

After getting outscored 10-0 in the second quarter, largely due to a punt blocked by the Titans late in the first quarter that led to a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Tennessee running back Jamie Harper, the Steelers got the third started by tacking on a 28-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham. With Suisham's second made attempt of the night, the Steelers cut the Tennessee lead to 16-13 and scored the only points of the quarter.

Pittsburgh trails heading into the final frame despite outgaining the Titans in total yards, 332 to 224.

Steelers running back Isaac Redman, currently with 105 receiving yards on four receptions Thursday, became the first Pittsburgh rusher to acquire more than 100 yards through the air in 42 years.

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Roethlisberger hits Wallace, Steelers lead early

The Tennessee Titans opened up the scoring against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, taking an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 82-yard touchdown pass to receiver Mike Wallace gave Pittsburgh the 10-6 lead at the end of the first quarter of play.

Roethlisberger hit Wallace on a high-arching toss on the Steelers' first play of their second drive.

Wallacetd_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

The Titans took the game's first possession 69 yards in nine plays, setting up a 22-yard field goal by kicker Rob Bironas that, as you can see below, bonked sideways off an upright and in.

Titansfg_medium

via assets.sbnation.com.

Pittsburgh responded on their opening drive of the contest with a 29-yard field goal by kicker Shaun Suisham after marching 44 yards in seven plays. The drive's big play came when Roethlisberger hit running back Isaac Redman for a 33-yard completion on a third-and-6 from around midfield.

Late in the quarter, Tennessee drove 52 yards in eight plays, and Bironas knocked in a 38-yard field goal to narrow the Steelers' lead to four.

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Titans bloggers predict victory for Steelers

For Thursday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans, optimism is not high for the writers at the Titans blog, Music City Miracles. Out of six writers who made predictions for this game, only one predicts victory for the Titans, 10-9:

If the Titans show up and play like their season depends on it, (because it does) then we have a hell of a chance to pull out a win. I know what Locker is made of; let's see if the rest of the team has what it takes to WSS.

Titans 10 - Steelers 9

All of the other predictions on this blog have the Steelers winning by at least two scores. The common thread between these writers think that this is a game that could get ugly if allowed to.

So I am driving to Nashville tomorrow for the apparent bloodletting. I have never been so maah about going to LP Field. I am really not looking forward to it. I will, however, be in my seat, wearing my throwback #9 and cheering my Titans. Let's hope they give me something to cheer about.

Steelers 38 - Titans 10

Four other writers on Music City Miracles picked the Steelers to win, with only one predicting that the Steelers would not break 30 points. The Steelers play the Titans at LP Field Thursday night at 8:20 p.m., with coverage on NFL Network.

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Weslye Saunders waits to play after suspension

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Weslye Saunders is eligible to be activated after serving a four game suspension for violating the NFL's performance enhancing drug policy. In an interview with Ralph N. Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Saunders believes that he is ready to go:

"I really feel good, but I don't know what coach (Mike Tomlin) is going to decide," Saunders said. "But I feel good and confident that I'm ready to play."

If Saunders is activated for Thursday's game against the Tennessee Titans, he will likely play special teams. Saunders said that the most difficult part of the suspension was watching the team's two losses:

"Especially with the two losses," Saunders said. "For the most part, (the suspension) went real fast - except on Sunday. I can't wait to get on the field."

Saunders will be pressured to keep up with the progress that offensive coordinator Todd Haley makes in their playbook. Haley though knows that Saunders is just trying to get back in the fold:

"Like everybody else across the board, the guys that give us the best chance to win each and every week, those will be the guys helping us," Haley said. "(Saunders) is just trying to get back in the flow right now.

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Fantasy football: What Steelers should start?

Despite coming off a rather disappointing week, fantasy-wise in Week 5, the Pittsburgh Steelers are ripe for a big week for fantasy owners when they face Tennessee Thursday night, Behind the Steel Curtain writes .

BtSC advises starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Rashard Mendenhall, wide receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, tight end Heath Miller, the Steelers' defense and kicker Shaun Suisham. The players they advise sitting are running backs Isaac Redman, Chris Rainey, Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch, saying that there's no need now that Mendenhall is back. They also advise sitting wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery.

The writers project that Roethlisberger will throw for over 300 yards and throw three touchdowns, one each to Wallace, Brown and Miller. They also project over 100 all-purpose yards for Mendenhall with a rushing touchdown. Suisham is projected for eight points: five extra points and a field goal. Finally the defense is projected to hold the Titans to 220 yards, allow 10 points and grab two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

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