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Steelers come up clutch when it counts, beat Titans 20-16

Thursday Night Football is not a fan favorite of teams and organizations in the NFL. With no real practice between games, the product on the field is less than stellar. Nonetheless, fans love having football on television on another day of the week. In Week 9 the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans squared off at Acrisure Stadium in a battle of mediocre teams.

Kenny Pickett vs. Will Levis

Derrick Henry vs. Najee Harris

Which team would head into their mini-bye week with a win? It was the Steelers who won the opening coin toss and elected to take the football to start the game. Kenny Pickett, who left the Week 8 game with a rib injury, and the Steelers offense started the game at the 20-yard line after the kickoff return. What ensued was the offense putting together their best opening-drive of the season.

A great mix of run and pass, as well as 3rd down and red-zone conversions, equated in a Najee Harris run from the shotgun for the touchdown.

Chris Boswell’s extra point was good, making the score 7-0.

Will Levis took the ball next, and thankfully the Titans’ opening drive was severely aided by the officials. Multiple penalties extended the drive, and eventually got the Titans’ offense in the red-zone. There the offense stalled and Nick Folk was called on for a 36-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 with 2:48 left in the first quarter.

Both teams failed to put up points on their next two drives, but it was Tennessee who struck next. An 11 play, 73 yard drive ended in a Derrick Henry touchdown to make the score 10-7 with 6:35 left in the first half.

Pittsburgh’s offense woke up on their next drive, moving the ball quickly into Tennessee territory. They even got into a first-and-goal situation, but were unable to do anything other than tie the score 10-10 with a Boswell field goal.

With just over a minute remaining, but all three timeouts available, the Titans continued to move the ball down the field with ease and were able to tack on a field goal heading into halftime. The score at the break was 13-10 Titans, with Tennessee getting the ball to start the second half.

Following a Tennessee three-and-out, the Steelers took their opening second half possession and methodically moved the ball down the field. But just like their last stint in the red-zone, it didn’t end in a touchdown. At one point it looked like Pickett hit George Pickens for the touchdown, Pickens didn’t get two feet down in-bounds, and the result was another Boswell field goal.

Tied at 13-13, the Titans matched the Steelers points with an impressive drive of their own; however, the Titans latest push down the field was, again, aided by some questionable calls going their way. Nonetheless, Nick Foles’ field goal made the score 16-13 with just 19 seconds left in the third quarter.

The next time the Steelers got the ball back was at their own 8-yard line. In typical Kenny Pickett fashion, the Steelers drove down the field and capped off the drive in an unusual fashion. Not only did they score a touchdown, but it was who scored the touchdown. That would be none other than Diontae Johnson, who last scored in 2021 when Ben Roethlisberger was the quarterback.

The extra point made the score 20-16 with 4:02 remaining in regulation.

Following a personal foul penalty on the extra point on Broderick Jones, the Titans started their drive near midfield. However, facing a 3rd and 5 with 2:53 remaining on the clock, Mike Vrabel elected to go for it instead of punting and hoping to get the ball back. Levis’ pass down the sideline fell incomplete and equated in a turnover on downs.

All the Steelers did on their next drive was force the Titans to use their timeouts before kicking the ball back to Tennessee. With just over one minute remaining, and a lone timeout left, Will Levis was looking to make some magic of his own. When it looked like the Steelers ended the game, a defensive holding call gave the Titans new life. The new life equated in an extended drive, and the Titans threatening in the waning seconds of the game. However, Kwon Alexander’s interception of Levis sealed the win for the Steelers.

The win moves the Steelers’ record to 5-3 on the season, and they can enjoy a mini-bye before they host the Green Bay Packers in Week 10 at home. Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the regular season.


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