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Roethlisberger Throws 5 TD’s; Steelers Dominate Titans 38-17

Ben Roethlisberger celebrates a score.

The Steelers may want to name their 2011 highlight film “Jekyll and Hyde.” That’s the way it’s been for the team this year, with two blowout wins at home, two bad losses on the road, and a close win in Indy two weeks ago.

Sunday on a day with their backs against the wall and a number of players missing with injury, the Steelers dominated the Tennessee Titans, pounding them 38-17 to move to 3-2 on the season.

Ben Roethlisberger led the way for the black and gold, going 24-for-34 for 228 yards with five touchdowns. Hines Ward had his first two TD’s of the year, Heath Miller had one, David Johnson added one, and Mike Wallace got a long one with 2:39 left to make it 38-17.

It all came after the Titans marched down the field and went up 3-0 on their opening drive.

The defense cracked down from there, pounding Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck and holding him to 29-for-49 passing for 262 yards. Chris Johnson, coming off a 100-yard effort against the Browns, was held to 51 yards, with a 21-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage.

From there, it was gang tackling and staying in their gaps, as the Steelers slammed Johnson, and played their best defensive game of the year based on their opponent.

The offense put up a huge play by running back Jonathan Dwyer, as he sprung a 78-yard run that set the Steelers up for their third TD of the day.

The special teams also had a monster play, as punter Daniel Sepulveda threw a perfect pass to safety Ryan Mundy for 33 yards that sparked their second TD of the day.

The offensive line also played its best game of 2011, as they opened holes for Issac Redman as well as Dwyer, as Rashard Mendenhall sat the bench with a hamstring injury.

Redmen rushed for 49 yards on 15 carries, and Dwyer had 107 yards on 11 carries, most of which came on the big 78-yard run, but nonetheless they all count.

Tennessee had a chance to make it somewhat interesting in the fourth quarter, as they blocked a Sepulveda punt with about six minutes to go, but a touchdown that would have made it 31-17 was called back on a block in the back.

The Titans finally got a Hasselbeck touchdown pass, but it took nearly three minutes, which killed them for any comeback chances.

The Steelers recovered the onside kick after the Titans made it 31-17, and were able to get the final score of the day when Roethlisberger went deep to Wallace for a 40-yard score to make it 38-17.

Next week the Steelers host the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 1-4 on the year after a loss to the Bengals.

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. Pingback: Awesome Articles From Awesome Steelers Blogs October 9, 2011 « Pittsburgh Steel Foundry - The Ultimate Pittsburgh Steelers Blog

  2. Peter

    October 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    So i know what the Steelers did well. I am waiting for Jay and Mark to tell us what the Steelers did poorly. After all, you guys like posting on here after losses more so than after wins….Go Steelers!

    • Nosyaj

      October 10, 2011 at 7:28 am

      Sorry, douche bag, more important for me to tend to my six month old daughter while my wife is sick than post on here But I’m up at 7:15 a.m. posting while they asleep! What you do so far today besides read the funny papers? Anyway, IF, big if here, the team and suck ass Arians runs this type of offense (as overseen by Tomlin obviously) the rest of the way, we’ll win 9 or ten of the remaining eleven games. But, based on past observation(s), Arians will not be able to do it. Not being a negative Nelly but am just going on what I have seen so far since 2007 when Tomlin took over; an inability on Tomlin’s part to put Arians on a leash and RETAIN him on it for any extended period of time and Arians’ almost addiction-like behaviors with the pass—throw in BB’s “sidekickesque” antics of WANTING TO PASS and I foresee, down the road, them going back to an imbalanced attack and BB getting harassed incessantly by the pass rush. So, if that objective “slant” is not rose-colored enough for you yinzers—PETE—then I don’t know what else to say. They (the Steelers) laid out an in-house blueprint for them to continue to follow the rest of the way which is GOOD!!! Do I think they’ll stick to it for any considerable length of time, no. Why, because of what I have seen so far is five/six years with Arians. Am I happy they won? Yes, am I happy I had baby vomit on me all day and refused to change my clothes until the commercial? Don’t care. Am I mad that I changed a dirty diaper while gripping the remote control in my teeth? Actually quite proud of that if you wanna know the truth. Am I a crazy fanatical lunatic for setting my alarm to 7:00 a.m. to get up and post on here? No, just crazy sleep deprived. I do believe, by the way, (and I blogged parody-like about this recently), that certain people like Reid in Philly, Martz in Chicago and Arians in Pittsburgh are borderline addicts or have addiction issues when it comes to the pass. Don’t believe me? Any addiction-based disorder is progressive in nature which means it gets worse over time. It also means that the person who possesses it cannot, under their own power, veer from the behavior with any continued and sustained success. Look at Reid in Philly. Hoarding all those players to make an already finesse team even more finesse. It’s like an alcoholic who goes on one last binge and hits bottom. Reid didn’t have to sign Osomugha and all those players. That inability to see past you own myopia is problematic and leads to unmanageability…1-4! Arians and Martz NEED other people higher than them to tell them to stop; ergo they can’t do it on their own. And, when the people higher feel that everything is better, the Arians and martz go back to old behaviors. It’s time for certain people in the know to wake up and see that people like Arians (among others) have PROBLEMS that go beyond the scope of coaching. This pass trend will continue…It will come after a number of wins and against a good team (like New England) where everything points to running the ball and he doesn’t. I hope I’m wrong. But what do I know, I just worked in mental health for 15 years.

    • mark

      October 10, 2011 at 8:27 am

      Ok, Pete here I am. As far as what the Steelers did poorly, I am going with some play calling. Sure ,it was an impressive win and I dont come on here to just bash my beloved Steelers. I am not going to defend myself for some of my past posts when I call out poor Steeler play either. I will say that I am glad Starks is back and Redman/Dwyer sure looked good in helping the Steelers find that ground game. The bad,well I wasnt impressed with certain play calls at the end of the 1st half and I still dont like seeing Farrior chase ball carriers. What my good friend Jay pointed out to me 2 years ago is now something I think the team should really consider; Leave Timmons and Woodley outside and move a healthy Harrison inside to play with Farrior/Foote this year and Slyvester next year!Had to really like the short 3 step passes to Miller/Saunders/Ward as well. One other thing I dont like, where the hell is Emmanuel Sanders? Obviously Brown has supplanted him and I think maybe Big Ben has lost a little faith in him as well.

      • The Tony

        October 10, 2011 at 9:01 am

        I agree with the play calling at the end of the half should have been different, and we should of had another touchdown. The most impressive aspect of the game was the offensive line play. Max Starks came in and preformed very well and even with the in-game injuries, the line was able to sustain and move the chains. However the glaring bad that I noticed was the third down penalties that enabled the Titans to continue drives and eventually score. Also the special teams allowing another blocked kick in back to back games. This is a trend that must be stopped. Hopefully Tomlin and the rest of the staff doesn’t take this win lightly and continue forward with the same progress every week.

  3. DrGeorge

    October 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    As I’ve written here for two years, when we run the ball, it makes the passing game much more effective. For two quarters, I thought Arians had finally gotten the vision. Then we got a big lead, and Arians reverted to his big play, aerial circus philosophy, and we became much more predictable and less effective (notwithstanding that long bomb to Wallace).

    Our makeshift line made enough holes for Redman and Dwyer to keep the Titan defense honest for most of the game. And for once, Ben took the short passes given to him, had fewer sacks, and beat Hasselback at his own dink and dunk game. If we can just play the same offensive line for a few games in a row, we could have a dominating rushing attack. And while we are at it, a tip of the hat to Max Starks who played the whole game on only a few days practice. His presence was felt.

    On defense, we played with greater enthusiasm and gang tackled well, but our D-line remains vulnerable to the run, especially over Z. Hood. Even the commentators noted the greater speed in the secondary (‘tightening up on coverage,’ as Dan Dierdorf said). However, the safeties remain vulnerable to the deep sideline route, especially Clark. Hasselback simply doesn’t throw deep well enough to exploit the latter, and the Titans had to abandon the running game that worked well for them early after the Steelers got a healthy lead.

    Fortunately, we have a week to get ready for Jacksonville and try to improve on our weaknesses. Hopefully, we will get some of our walking wounded back in action, too, especially Gilbert. If he can’t go, we may have to recruit another lineman, if only for depth.

    Make no mistake about it, this was an important win for the Steelers and for Tomlin. And it feels especially good to win convincingly for a change.

    • DrGeorge

      October 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm

      In fairness, I wish to amend my comment about Hood above. After reviewing the tape again, he didn’t play badly against the run; however, he does seem more effective when he plays NG rather than his usual spot at DE. The Titans had to abandon the running game so early it’s difficult to assess whether the D-line as a whole played better against the run in this game.

      I should also note the emergence of Steve McClendon, who has been cut and re-signed almost as often as J. Harrison. McClendon is getting more and more playing time as he quietly builds himself into an NFL player. This guy is going to pay dividends for us in the weeks ahead. Heyward is going through the same process and beginning to display the talent that made him a #1 pick.

      • Jay

        October 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

        All cynicism and arrogance aside (on my part) when you say, do you view it…film study…are you a coach…do you DVR it and do the ubiquitous rewind? I’m curious because I would like to be able to spend more time doing it but, outside of the aforementioned DVR/rewind, I don’t have any ideas on how to go about stronger assessment techniques.

  4. blackNgold4life

    October 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm


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