The Steelers' 2013 season couldn't have started in a less expected and exciting manner.
Kick returner Darius Reynaud made a poor decision downing the ball after he had left the end zone, resulting in a Steelers safety. It was 2-0 Steelers, and that would serve pretty much as the only positive play the Steelers would have for the remainder of the game.
That game, a 16-9 Titans win, can serve as the ultimate loss-to-a-bad-team in the last few seasons, if for no reason other than the lack of quality play shown on the field. At least the loss to the Jets followed six other victories this season. That season-opening loss to the Titans was the Steelers' first home-opener loss in a decade and only the first of four consecutive losses to start the 2013 season.
Reynaud wasn't the only player who found his way off of the rosters for these teams. Running back Isaac Redman, whose critical fumble inside the goal line snuffed out a rare Steelers' scoring drive, would eventually be released and ultimately retired from the NFL, having suffered a serious spinal cord injury. Titans kicker Rob Bironas was killed in a single-vehicle accident just a few weeks ago. He hit three field goals in that game.
In Week 1 last season, the Steelers went through the first game of the Mike Adams Experiment at left tackle. It would last four games, all losses, leaving quarterback Ben Roethlisberger battered and bruised. In that particular game, though, it was the overwhelmed Kelvin Beachum at center, replacing injured Maurkice Pouncey, who surrendered ground most frequently in both the passing and running games.
Gone for the Titans is mega-weapon and mega-headache Kenny Britt. He had one catch for 15 yards last year, but had tormented Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor in the Titans' 26-23 win in 2012 - another low point of the Steelers' season coming courtesy of the Titans. The Steelers saw RB Chris Johnson last week as a member of the Jets. Johnson never produced much against the Steelers and his 25 carries netted him just 70 yards.
Currently injured is the incredibly mediocre Jake Locker, being replaced by the incredibly lost rookie Zach Mettenberger. Not exactly an improvement in that department. Locker became one of the rare quarterbacks to notch a win in his first game against the Steelers - he was 11-for-20 for 125 yards.
The Steelers finished 8-8 on the year and the Titans were at 7-9. Roster turnover and coaching changes usually follow seasons of that sort and, while the Steelers appear, after 10 games, to be heading in a different direction than the Titans, it's a stark contrast compared to where each team appeared to be heading after one game last season.