The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans clashed in Week 15 at Heinz Field, and the two teams were hoping to further their position in the AFC Playoff Picture. The Titans, trying to continue their AFC South dominance, while the Steelers were hoping to remain relevant in the AFC North.
In a game which the Steelers had to have, the home team started with the football after losing the coin toss and Tennessee deferring their possession to the second half. After a quick first down the Steelers’ drive stalled and Pressley Harvin III was called on for early action.
After a Chris Wormley sack on first down resulted in a quick three-and-out for the Titans, the Steelers’ offense matched the Tennessee three-and-out with one of their own. On the ensuing punt, Tennessee cashed in with a 55-yard return, setting up the offense with their best field position of the game.
It didn’t take the Titans long to move the ball to a first-and-goal situation, and on first down Ryan Tannehill kept the football and snuck the ball into the end zone for the first points of the game. The extra point was good, making the score 7-0 with 7:41 left in the first quarter.
Another Pittsburgh three-and-out gave the ball right back to Tennessee, who again was able to add to their point total. However, unlike last drive the Titans only added a Randy Bullock field goal to make the score 10-0 with 1:13 left in the first quarter.
The next Steelers drive was their most successful of the game, but it still didn’t do enough to cut into the Titans’ point total. After settling for just a field flipping punt, Tennessee took over inside their own 20-yard line. On a 3rd down play Ryan Tannehill was pressured by Joe Schobert, getting the throw off and completed, the ball was stripped by Arthur Maulet and recovered by Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Pittsburgh’s offense, set up with tremendous field position, was able to turn the takeaway into a Chris Boswell 36-yard field goal to make the score 10-3 with 10:35 remaining in the first half.
Tennessee’s opening field position on their next drive was their worst of the game. Starting at their own 22-yard line, the Titans offense put together a drive which took up over 8:30 minutes in duration, and ended when T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward converged on Tannehill on third down for the sack. The Bullock field goal made the score 13-3 with 18 seconds left in the second quarter.
Shockingly the Steelers were able to get the ball on the verge of Chris Boswell’s field goal range, but the 56-yard attempt fell short, making the score 13-3 heading into halftime.
Tennessee received the football to start the second half, but it was the Pittsburgh defense which stepped up and got off the field without surrendering points. Yet another three-and-out ensued for the Steelers, but it was the Steelers defense which stood tall when it mattered. On a 3rd and 14 T.J. Watt got to Ryan Tannehill to get the ball back to the offense.
The Titans’ next drive saw the club facing a 3rd and 6, and Tannehill’s pass was completed, but Cam Sutton forced a fumble which was recovered by Joe Haden. The takeaway was the Steelers’ second of the day, and set up the offense with tremendous field position at the end of the third quarter.
A first down conversion to James Washington moved the ball into field goal range, but a roughing the passer call which negated a Washington fumble put the Steelers in the red-zone. However, when the field shortened, the offense failed. What resulted was a Boswell chip shot field goal to tie the game 13-13 with 13:24 remaining in regulation.
Tennessee’s offense continued to move the ball on the Steelers’ defense, but the opportunistic defense continued for the black-and-gold. On third down Taco Charloton deflected the Tannehill pass, and it was intercepted by Joe Schobert. It resulted in a 46-yard Chris Boswell field goal, making the score 16-13 with 7:20 left in regulation. It was the Steelers’ third turnover of the game, and the team has nine points off those takeaways.
Another Titans turnover on the next drive gave the ball right back to the Pittsburgh offense, this time it was Ryan Tannehill botching a snap which was recovered by T.J. Watt. It was more bad Steelers offense after the interception, and it was another Boswell field goal, this from 48, to make the score 19-13 with 4:29 left in the fourth quarter.
Needing just a touchdown to win the game, the Titans offense continued to put in work vs. the Pittsburgh defense. Ryan Tannehill used his arm and legs to move the ball into Pittsburgh territory, and a huge 4th and 1 conversion at the two-minute warning extended the drive. Facing a 4th and 6, out of timeouts and 44 seconds left in regulation, Tannehill’s pass was stopped short of the line to gain. It turned the ball over on downs, giving the Steelers the victory.
The win moves the Steelers’ record to 7-6-1 on the season, and their playoff hopes alive, as they now prepare for a road trip to Kansas City to play the Chiefs in Week 16. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they press on throughout the regular season.