Two teams coming off a loss face off on Monday Night Football in week 11. Prior to last week the Steelers had won 3 straight games in historically dominant fashion. They scored 51 and 43 points against the Colts and Ravens respectively. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw 6 touchdown passes in each of those games. So most people (except for Vegas Odds makers) felt they would have an easy time last week vs. the Jets who had not won a game since week 1. That turned out not to be the case as the Steelers offense stalled consistently. Twice a team that had one interception on the season prior to this game intercepted Roethlisberger. He finished 30-43 for 343 yards and a touchdown but a meaningless 80-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant late in the game inflated those stats. Overall they turned the ball over 4 times and that is not traditional Steeler football. They also got an unproductive game from running back LeVeon Bell who had only 11 carries for 36 yards. It appears the Steelers went a little pass happy after Roethlisbergers prolific success lately but may need to get back to their roots and start running the football. If not for a win over Jacksonville, The Titans would be losers of 8 straight games headed into this weekends contest but instead they have lost 3 straight, including last weeks 21-7 loss to the Ravens. Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger was 16/27 for 179 yards and a touchdown. He has not been given much to work with as the Titans have a big void at the skill positions. He was harassed by defenders all game long. The game was tied at 7 at the half but the Titans had 3 consecutive 3 and outs in the 3rd quarter and the Ravens took control of the game. Overall they had 7 possessions without a first down and 210 yards of total offense.
The Titans have seen some good signs from Mettenberger who has completed 63% of his passes despite not having much to work with. Rookie running back Bishop Sankey has been inconsistent, however he has emerged as the primary running back and has shown a lot of promise. Tight End Delanie Walker was injured last week and his status for this week’s game is up in the air. This is a chance to shine on the Monday Night stage for this very inexperienced group.
The Steelers have looked like the best team in the NFL for several stretches this season and at other times they are capable of “playing down” to their competition and losing to anyone like what happened against the Jets. The defense has been playing well this month with 8 sacks in 2 November games. It is critical that they get Bell and Lagarette Blount more involved in the running game so it can balance their offense and open up the passing game. The Steelers are a team built on running the football and need to get that back.
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