Pivotal point: Steelers' spot helped Titans

It’s hard to anoint a play on the first series of the game as the pivotal play in a game.

But that’s what we are doing here with a look back at the Tennessee Titans’ 16-9 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday.

The Steelers were bad and the Titans were good, but things could have been very different if Pittsburgh didn’t deal with an Isaac Redman fumble into the end zone that Moise Fokou recovered.

Pittsburgh could have been up 9-0 with roughly 7 or 8 minutes on the clock in the first quarter. The Steelers botched the play when Redman fumbled, but may have had a legitimate complaint about the scenario that left them with a third-and-1 from the Titans’ 6-yard line they were trying to convert.

On the play before that, Ben Roethlisberger hit Emmanuel Sanders on the left sideline near the first-down marker. The initial indication was he reached it and the Steelers had earned a first-and-goal from the 5. Three or four cracks at the end zone might have turned out a lot better for the home team.

I just watched a replay from the TV broadcast. It's not from the best angle, but it sure looks like a first down to me. The Titans got the favorable spot, even though at least one of them was preparing to hunker down for a new set of downs.

“From my vantage point, it looked like the ball crossed,” cornerback Alterraun Verner said.

The spot led to a panicky play that led to one of the Titans' two takeaways. This one was more of a giveaway.

As well as the Titans played, I think they would have found their way back from 9-0, too. I’m sure they are pleased they didn’t have to find out.