PITTSBURGH -- Thoughts on the Titans’ 38-17 loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field.
What it means: Tennessee isn’t as good as it looked over the past three weeks, as we saw flaws everywhere. They gave up big plays on defense and special teams and failed to find them on offense. They lost up front against a team missing a starting offensive lineman, two starting defensive linemen and a starting linebacker. A week earlier Houston, the Titans' primary AFC South challenger to this point, took advantage of both and was more physical than the Steelers.
What to worry about: Special teams got gashed on a kick return and on a fake punt. And the defense was picked apart by the first truly good quarterback the Titans have seen so far. Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes. With Matt Schaub (twice), Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman and Drew Brees still to come, it certainly raises questions about Tennessee against upper level signal-callers.
A bad day: Matt Hasselbeck was a lot less accurate than he has been. There appeared to be some miscommunications and he threw several balls behind targets. Others were thrown low on purpose, but wound up too low. He overthrew Nate Washington late on what would've been a wide-open, 29-yard touchdown.
Chris Johnson watch: He had a nice 21-yard run on the Titans’ first play from scrimmage and showed good patience at times, too much patience at others. He went in standing for his team’s lone touchdown from a yard out and turned 17 touches into 65 yards.
Too sloppy: Seven penalties for 55 yards hurt, especially early for the offense in the red zone and a block in the back by Jamie Harper that undid a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by Cortland Finnegan.
What’s next: The Titans have an off week to recover and get a head start on preparation for their crucial Oct. 23 matchup with the Houston Texans at LP Field in Nashville.