The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans met up on a picturesque afternoon in Week 3 of the NFL Preseason, and with it being the third game on the schedule, it means the Steelers’ starters saw their first, and only, action of the preseason.
Ben Roethlisberger, and the Pittsburgh offense, took the football on the opening kickoff, and after a promising drive, and two third-down completions, a Roethlisberger completion to JuJu Smith-Schuster on 3rd-and-4 came up short of the yards-to-gain and Jordan Berry was called on for his first action of the day.
Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense took over deep inside their own zone, and although they were able to churn out several first downs, the Pittsburgh defense stood tall on 3rd-and-8 to force a punt.
Roethlisberger and company came out for a second drive of the first quarter, and the second drive was a lot better in regards to result. James Conner continued to do damage in the passing game, and aided by a 15-yard roughing call against the Titans the Steelers quickly moved into Tennessee territory. On the cusp of the red-zone, Roethlisberger threw a beautiful pass to Justin Hunter who corralled it for the first score of the game. Chris Boswell tacked on an extra point to make it 7-0 with 1:28 left in the opening frame.
The second quarter started with Mariota still in the game, but after a three-and-out the Titans were forced to punt the football back to Pittsburgh.
In a surprising move, the Steelers’ put Roethlisberger out on the field to start the second quarter for a third drive of the game. After moving into Tennessee territory, again, the Steelers’ went for it on 4th-and-1, but an incomplete pass intended for Smith-Schuster gave the ball back to Tennessee on downs.
After another Tennessee three-and-out, thanks to a sack by Vince Williams, the punt team was called on again for Mike Vrabel’s team.
Picking up where he left off. pic.twitter.com/3wtV6Feilu— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 25, 2018
With Landry Jones taking over for the Pittsburgh offense midway through the 2nd quarter, there was little production, and Jordan Berry was called on for the second time this game.
On third down, Mariota was flushed out of the pocket by Bud Dupree and his pass was intercepted by rookie Terrell Edmunds. Although the preseason, it was the rookie’s first interception of his young career.
However, a third down pass which went in-and-out of Justin Hunter’s hands resulted in an interception, giving the ball right back to the Titans. Nonetheless, the Steelers’ defense, still sporting its starters, stymied the Titans offense and forced another three-and-out.
With 1:11 left in the half, and all three timeouts remaining, Landry Jones had a chance to put points on the board starting at the Tennessee 47-yard line. However, Chris Boswell was called on for a 42-yard field goal, and the kick equated in a 10-0 Steelers lead heading into halftime.
The Titans received the football to start the second half, but Blaine Gabbert fell victim to the Steelers’ starting unit, after a Cameron Heyward sack on third down it was yet another punt by the Titans.
Mason Rudolph took over under center in the third quarter, and after a Jaylen Samuels focused drive, the offense stalled in the red-zone thanks to a trio of holding calls on consecutive plays. The end result was another Chris Boswell field goal, which made the score 13-0.
The Steelers’ second string defense did its job on the ensuing drive, forcing another punt and keeping the shutout in tact. Samuels moved the Steelers into Tennessee territory, and the drive resulted in another Boswell field goal, making the score 16-0 with 1:04 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Titans finally hit pay dirt when Gabbert was able to hit the Tennessee tight end, Anthony Firkster, for the touchdown. Vrabel would send his offense back out to go for the two-point conversion, but it failed, making the score 16-6.
After a series of punts by both teams, the Steelers stood tall on 4th down to give the ball back to the Pittsburgh offense inside Tennessee territory, but another punt ensued. The remainder of the fourth quarter had fans enjoying a series of punts, and the game ended with the final score Pittsburgh 16, Tennessee 6.
The Steelers improved their preseason record to 2-1, and will host the Carolina Panthers in the fourth week of the preseason next Thursday before the team has to trim their roster from 90 to 53 players.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they continue to press on towards the regular season.