Wednesday is typically the day at MCM that we move on from the prior week's game and start to look at the upcoming opponent- and we have a fun one this week. There have been quite a few classic match-ups between these two. My favorite one, that I wrote about here, came in the 2002 playoffs, but there have certainly been plenty of other classic match-ups.This is a rivalry that had cooled a little for a couple of years because they didn't play each other every year, but the fire was lit again two years ago in the Towel Stomp game, which can be discussed here and only here. That game was the coming out party for Jason Jones. JJ got the start in that game because of an injury to Albert Haynesworth and sacked Ben Roethlisberger 3.5 times. I will always remember that game for a few reasons- 1. It was absolutely freezing, 2. The 4th and 1 play where Chris Johnson juked a safety out of his pants in route to a 21-yard TD run, 3. The hit Cortland Finnegan put on Hines Ward, and the fact that there were at least 30,000 Steelers fans at LP Field.
The most recent game obviously was last year's NFL opener in Pittsburgh where the Titans lost 13-10 in overtime. Funny to think that we all felt pretty good about the Titans coming off that game because we just lost to what we thought was one of the best teams in the AFC. Of course we all know that the Titans went on to lose the next 5, and the Steelers finished 3rd in the AFC North, which why we are playing them again.
This game will be a lot different than that game for a lot of reason, including that neither QB that started that game will start this one, but there is one thing you can always be sure of when these 2 teams meet- it will be a slobber knocker. Both teams have historically been run first offenses with physical defenses. Things are a little different this year, but this game is sure to bring some big hits.
Some notes on the series:
- The Steelers lead the overall series 42-30
- The franchise is 19-17 at home against the Steelers
- Jeff Fisher is 12-8 against the Steelers
- Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will be on the call for CBS this week. Aside: I saw Wilcots at one of the Titans practices. He is a big dude.
Here are the NFL Notes for this game:
STEELERS: Since ’70, club has 13-3 (.818) record against Oilers/Titans in Sept…Steelers are 8-4 in Sept. under head coach MIKE TOMLIN…QB DENNIS DIXON earned 1st career win as starter last week…RB RASHARD MENDENHALL had 3rd-longest game-winning OT TD run in NFL history last week (50 yards). In past 2, Mendenhall is averaging 107 rush yards per game…WR HINES WARD (79; 78 rec., 1 rush) needs 2 TDs to surpass RB JEROME BETTIS (80; 78 rush, 2 rec.) for 2nd-most TDs in franchise history. Posted 26th 100-yard rec. game last week & passed HOF WR JOHN STALLWORTH (25) for franchise record. Aims for 3rd consecutive game vs. Ten. w/100+ rec. yards (109, 103). For career, WR MIKE WALLACE averages 20.0 yards per catch (41 rec., 818 receiving yards)…TE HEATH MILLER aims for 3rd straight game w/8 rec. vs. Ten…Since ’08, LBs JAMES HARRISON (27) & LA MARR WOODLEY (26) have totaled 53 sacks. Steelers are 8-0 when, Harrison has 2+ sacks in game. Woodley aims for 10th consecutive game with at least 0.5 sack…S TROY POLAMALU posted 21st career INT last week…TITANS: Incl. postseason, club aims for 4th consecutive win vs. Pit. at home…Titans have won 9 of past 11 games…Since ’08, QB VINCE YOUNG is 7-1 as starter at LP Field & has completed 112 of 181 passes (61.9 pct.) for 1,443 yards w/10 TDs vs. 6 INTs & 91.5 passer rating. Young posted career-high 142.8 passer rating last week (min. 10 att.)…RB CHRIS JOHNSON aims for 13th consecutive game w/100+ rush yards. In past 7 at home, Johnson is averaging 145.6 rush yards per game. Since ’08, Johnson leads NFL with 3,376 rush yards. RB JAVON RINGER had 1st career rush TD last week…In ’09 vs. Pit., WR KENNY BRITT totaled 85 receiving yards on 4 catches (21.3 avg.)…WR NATE WASHINGTON spent 4 seasons w/Steelers (2005-08). Washington led team w/88 receiving yards last week, 2nd-highest of career (94 on 10/5/08)…S CHRIS HOPE spent 4 seasons w/Steelers (2002-05)…CBs CORTLAND FINNEGAN & VINCENT FULLER aim for INTs in consecutive games vs. Pit…Rookie DE DERRICK MORGAN (1st round, No. 16) recorded 1st career sack last week.