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Never Easy: Steelers Open Season with a Hold Your Breath 13-10 OT Win

Breathe easy. Not too easy, but easier, let’s put it that way.

For the Super Bowl Champs, the effort was good enough to get out of Heinz Field with a 13-10 overtime win over a game Titans team. The Steelers basically had the game won with less than a minute left, but Hines Ward was stripped of the ball inside the five, taking away what would have been a sure chip-shot field goal.

Instead, the team won the coin toss in overtime, and on the arm of Ben Roethlisberger, the team was able to march down the field and kick a Jeff Reed 33-yard field goal for the victory. Without a running game to speak of, the game came down to Roethlisberger, who went 33-for-43 for 363 yards with one TD and two picks.

The big play in OT came from of all people – rookie wide out Mike Wallace, who made a great 22-yard catch to the Titans 15-yard line. After that, Mike Tomlin marched Reed out there to finish off a Titans team that matched Pittsburgh punch for punch most of the night.

Tennessee had their shots, as kicker Rob Bironas missed one field goal, had another blocked, and did hit one long 45-yard field goal, but the team could have won the game if he would have made another one of those kicks. Kerry Collins threw a 14-yard TD to Justin Gage to make it 7-7 with 0:48 in the second quarter after the Steelers took a 7-0 lead after Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes with a 34-yard TD.

Collins went 22-for-35 for 244 yards with one TD and one pick. The Titans run game was more effective from the start, as they ran for 86 yards compared to the Steelers 36 yards. Chris Johnson ran for 57 yards on 15 carries, LenDale White had 28 yards on 8 carries.

The Steelers are going to have to hold their breath on safety Troy Polamalu, who suffered a knee injury on the blocked field goal in the second quarter. He left the field with a minute left in the first half, and didn’t return. His long-term status remains unknown.

For the Steelers, they escaped against a good team. They were up against it, and it was Roethlisberger’s arm that got the job done. They didn’t look all that great, but they secured a win against a team that who knows – they may see again.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Jay

    September 10, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Ya know disagreers out there,
    I’d almost rather’ve lost this game if it meant that Troy wouldn’t’ve gotten hurt AND we were succesful rinning the ball…I’ve never been pissed after a loss but watching the futility that is our running game tonight was nothing short of unbearable…Titans have good D-lineman but the’yre smallish (i.e., not Haynesworth or Hampton’s size) …or a.k.a., not run stoppers! Yet OUR BIG o-linemen could not punch holes in them! And Parker; please! When Moore is your go to back at the end of a game, pathetic….I’m worried!

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  3. mark

    September 11, 2009 at 8:00 am

    I have to admit that I am with Jay on this. The Steeler running game is unbearable to watch. It boggles my mind that this O-line coach still has a job. The “zone-blocking” scheme that has been employed for 3 seasons now, stinks and should be tossed out with this nit-wit coach. For all the blame Arians gets, he can only work with what he has and he does not have much up front! I cannot believe its the players. I believe it is the scheme of things and the coaching philosophy. FWP is not the threat he used to be, but can be productive if he had some blocking. Mewelde Moore is fast becoming this teams best all around back and has an argument for being the starter! they are putting way too much pressure on Ben to bail out this team week in and week out. I think we will be talking about this for many, many weeks!

  4. mark

    September 11, 2009 at 8:06 am

    I wonder if the Steelers will address this horrible problem before Ben gets killed? Im being sarcastic, but I do worry that this o-line blocking philosophy is going to be our Achilles heel…. again? I just cant imagine the players are this bad. It has to be the scheme. Oh my God, Im sick of this discussion! C’mon Tomlin, you have been great from day 1 with the Steelers! Step up and fire this imbecile and try to rectify a growing problem.

  5. DrGeorge

    September 11, 2009 at 9:29 am

    When the tide goes out, you see who’s swimming naked. Last night, the tide went out on the Steelers offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. As Mark correctly notes, the problem is not the talent on the O-line, it is the blocking schemes and Arian’s neglect (or denial?) of the importance of the running game, a concept Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher understood. Moore is the most versatile of our RBs, but even Parker and Mendenhall would look like world beaters if they had the Titan’s O-line to block for them. The stark contrast with our running game was brutally apparent to all. The Steelers O-line has the ability; their pass blocking has markedly improved. But they need better run blocking schemes and coaching, fast. Our running game last night was a parody of football.

  6. mark

    September 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    One of the unsung heroes for our Steelers last night had to be Dan Sepulveda. His punting continuously put the Titans in a hole. Driving the ball a long way is not something most teams can do against this Steeler team. The special teams have had marked improvement every year for the last 3. Big Ben remains as potent as ever. We have stars at Wide-out and a great tight end. See where Im going with this? We can depend on the Punter, Kicker, QB,and our super receivers.We have a dangerous special teams The Defense is all-galaxy. All that remains for the Steelers to be playing in February is for them to fix the … ahh, you know what I mean. I cant believe Im still sick over a win!! God even the experiment in 2003 with Maddox,Ward and Burress, where the running game was bad, wasn’t anywhere near this bad!It isnt even the short yardage problems, its the constant no gains and loss of yards on simple off-tackle and trap running. FWP is now mortal and he does not hit the holes as quick as he once did. Too much dancing and juking for no gain. I have said my peace on the coaching and phlosophy of the o-line. Maybe its time to go back to a power back running game? With Ward, Holmes, Wallace, Sweed and Miller, I am sure there are enough weapons for Arians to throw the ball. I know it is a pass happy league now. Thats why RB by committee now works. I dont mind having a great QB like Ben throw 30 times or so either. But you have to be able to run in running situations!!! This is crazy and I know that Noll and Cowher would recognize this and fix this! Your turn Tomlin.I bet Bruce Arians would get less criticism if Zerlein(sp?) was GONE!

  7. vaughn

    September 11, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    My biggest question is this, WHEN THE HECK WILL ANYONE IN THE NATIONAL MEDIA RECOGNIZE BEN AS THE TOP QUARTERBACK IN THE NFL? not bcuz im a steeler fan but bcuz there is nobody that can do what he do. not vick not mcnabb not either manning, no romo no favre certainly no hasselback and brady will not leave the pocket unless its a timeout. he passes, runs, decides, eludes and extends plays better than anyone else in football, especially with what he has @ o-line. If i ever get a free minute im going to find rich eisen and ask him to come out of the closet with tom brady. dude is in love with brady. If im wrong plz tell me, but im 98% right 100% of the time

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