Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
Here are some halftime observations:
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu had an ugly spill at the end of the second quarter trying to recover a blocked field goal. Titans tight end Alge Crumpler fell on his left knee, and Polamalu went into the locker room under his own power. His return in the second half is listed as questionable. Tennessee later drove down the field with ease without Polamalu in the lineup for its only touchdown of the half.
How ironic that Pittsburgh’s first touchdown of the 2009 season involved the same combination that ended the 2008 season? Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger connected on a 34-yard laser to receiver Santonio Holmes toward the end of the half to give the Steelers a touchdown lead. The Steelers went to an up-tempo offense at the end of the quarter and it gave Tennessee trouble. It will be interesting to see if they stick with that approach in the second half.
The upgrades on special teams were apparent for Pittsburgh. CFL import Stefan Logan gained 50 yards on his first two returns (one kickoff, one punt). Punter Daniel Sepulveda also helped with field position and defensive end Aaron Smith blocked a key field goal before halftime that would have given the Titans an early lead. Last year, Pittsburgh’s special teams hurt the Steelers more than it helped.
Roethlisberger moved up to second all-time in franchise completions, surpassing Kordell Stewart. Roethlisberger also became the second Pittsburgh quarterback to surpass 15,000 yards for his career.