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mesaSteeler
09-20-2010, 08:28 AM
Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game Two vs. Tennessee Titans
A quick look at the top performances Sunday from the game
Monday, September 20, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10263/1088882-66.stm

Game ball goes to: James Harrison

In a game in which the defense had seven takeaways and shut down the Titans' two biggest offensive stars, nobody stood out more than Harrison. He had 10 solo tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, leading a defense that held running back Chris Johnson to 34 yards on 16 carries. Harrison's second sack on quarterback Vince Young forced a fumble that the Steelers recovered at the Titans' 34, leading to a field goal that gave the Steelers a 16-3 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
X's and O's

The Steelers' primary objective was to stop Johnson, the Titans' big-play running back, and let Young try to beat them with his throwing arm -- if he could solve Dick LeBeau's defensive coverages. It worked to perfection. Safety Troy Polamalu, who had three tackles for losses, played closer to the line of scrimmage; and Harrison and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons combined for 26 tackles (22 solo). "We were likes bees in a nest," said Timmons, who had 15 tackles (12 solo). "We swarmed to the ball."

The Countdown

1 DOWNTOWN BROWN: Not many players score a touchdown the first time they touch the ball in their first NFL game, but rookie wide receiver Antonio Brown did when he took a reverse handoff from Mewelde Moore on the opening kickoff and went 89 yards for a touchdown. It was the Steelers' first touchdown kick return since Allen Rossum against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 23, 2007. "I'm a rookie and they don't know what I can do yet," Brown said. "It was a big momentum swing."

2 ANOTHER POLAMALU PICK: Trailing, 7-3, the Titans had first down at the Steelers' 16 when Polamalu intercepted Young's pass for Nate Washington in the back of the end zone. The Steelers turned the takeaway into a field goal.

3 NO TD: Johnson appeared to have an 85-yard touchdown run that would have tied the score at 10-10 in the second quarter, but it was wiped out when center Eugene Amano was called for holding nose tackle Chris Hoke.

4 COSTLY MISTAKE: The Titans had four turnovers in the first half, the last when Johnson fumbled after a hard hit by Timmons with 1:36 remaining. Harrison recovered at the Titans' 23 and Jeff Reed kicked a 34-yard field goal for a 13-3 lead as time expired.

5 LAST ONE STANDING: On a day when they used countless combinations because of heat and injuries, the only lineman to play every snap, offense or defense, was rookie center Maurkice Pouncey. "I'm young enough," Pouncey said. "I better."

7 ... Inside the Number

That's the number of takeaways the Steelers had against the Titans (three interceptions, four fumbles), their most since they had seven (four interceptions, three fumble recoveries) Nov. 9, 1997, against the Baltimore Ravens.
What was he thinking?

Coach Mike Tomlin wanted to create what he called "a splash play" early because he didn't want Dennis Dixon playing from behind on the road. So he called a reverse on the opening kickoff that rookie Antonio Brown returned 89 yards for a touchdown. Rookie linebacker Stevenson Sylvester and safety Ryan Mundy sprung Brown with a double-team block on safety Michael Griffin. "I knew we would use it because we worked on it all week, but I didn't know it would be the first play," Mundy said.
Overheard

"Yeah, when I was running the ball. Sometimes you take a shot." -- S Troy Polamalu, who dived over the line of scrimmage to stop a goalline sneak by Titans QB Kerry Collins, when asked if he had ever done that before.

NEXT SUNDAY'S OPPONENT

@ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, 1 P.M. SUNDAY: The Steelers are 7-1 lifetime against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers have won three in a row and five of six against the Buccaneers in Tampa.

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com.


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