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Tennessee Titans (1-0) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Nashville, TN — The Tennessee Titans (1-0) renew one of their most familiar rivalries this week, facing the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) for the 73rd time in franchise history. Kickoff at LP Field (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for noon CDT on Sunday, September 19th.
The two clubs, who coexisted in the former AFC Central Division from 1970 through 2001, split their most recent two meetings, including a 13-10 overtime victory by the Steelers in last year’s season opener in Pittsburgh. In late December 2008, the Titans won the matchup 31-14 at LP Field.
All-time, the Steelers lead the series 42-30. The only team the Titans have met with the same frequency is the Cincinnati Bengals, who also have played the Titans 72 times.
The game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties, while Solomon Wilcots will provide color commentary.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, color commentator Frank Wycheck, sideline reporter Cody Allison and gameday host Larry Stone.
The Titans opened their regular season schedule at LP Field last week against the Oakland Raiders. Chris Johnson rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, while Vince Young passed for a pair of touchdowns in a 38-13 victory. The 25-point win was their fifth largest at LP Field and their largest margin of victory in any Week 1 game since 1991 (47-17 vs. Raiders on September 1st).
Johnson’s performance against the Raiders gave him 12 consecutive games with 100 or more rushing yards. The streak is the second longest in NFL history, trailing only Barry Sanders’ 14-game streak in 1997. Johnson’s 76-yard touchdown run against the Raiders was the fourth longest rush of his career and his ninth career rush of 50-plus yards.
Young, while raising his career record as a starter to 27-13, completed 13 of 17 passes for 154 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His 142.8 passer rating set a new career high (minimum 15 attempts).
The Titans defense contributed big plays as well. Four players— Jason Babin, Derrick Morgan, Jacob Ford and Will Witherspoon—notched solo sacks, and safety Chris Hope recorded an interception. The defense’s other turnover resulted from a forced fumble by Ford and recovery by Michael Griffin.
The Steelers kicked off their season at Heinz Field with a 15-9 victory against the Atlanta Falcons. They played to a 9-9 tie at the end of regulation, but on the Steelers’ first offensive play of the extra period, Rashard Mendenhall took a handoff and raced 50 yards for the game-winning score.
Second-year quarterback Dennis Dixon recorded his first career start in the opener, as Ben Roethlisberger served the first game of a league suspension. Dixon, a former fifth-round choice out of Oregon, completed 18 of 26 passes for 236 yards and one interception. His primary target, receiver Hines Ward, caught six passes for 108 yards.
Fans attending the game are encouraged to participate in a charitable drive benefitting the YWCA Weaver Domestic Violence Shelter. The YWCA and the Titans are asking fans to provide much-needed new women’s undergarments for shelter residents, including all sizes of underwear, bras and socks. Volunteers will be stationed at several drop sites around LP Field to collect donations.
What to Look for this Week
Titans-Steelers Series History
This week’s game is the 73rd meeting between the Titans and Steelers in a rivalry that dates back to 1970. The only team the Titans have met with the same frequency is the Cincinnati Bengals, who also have played the Titans 72 times.
In 1970, upon the merger of the American Football League and the National Football League, the Steelers and then-Oilers began play in the newly-formed AFC Central Division.
For the next 32 years (1970-2001), they competed at least twice per season with the exception of 1982 (strike-shortened season) before the Titans moved to the AFC South and the Steelers to the AFC North in 2002. Since 1970, there have been only three seasons — 2004, 2006 and 2007 — in which the Titans and Steelers have not played.
The first meeting in 1970, a 19-7 Oilers win, was the first regular season game in Three Rivers Stadium, the Steelers’ home until moving to Heinz Field in 2001.
Although the Steelers lead the series 42-30, the Titans have won the majority of their recent battles. Tennessee has won 12 of the last 17 games, including a seven-game winning streak from 1997-2000 and a three-game winning streak from 2002-05. That includes a 34-31 Titans victory in a 2002 Divisional Playoff contest.
In addition to Tennessee’s 2002 playoff victory, there have been three other postseason games between the teams. They played back-to-back AFC Championship Games following the 1978 and 1979 seasons, with Pittsburgh’s “Steel Curtain” prevailing both times against the “Luv Ya Blue!” Oilers. The Oilers also lost a 1989 Wild Card Game in overtime against the Steelers.
Most recently, the Titans opened the 2009 season at Pittsburgh in the NFL’s Thursday night, primetime opener. Jeff Reed booted a 33-yard field goal in overtime to give the Steelers a 13-10 victory. Tennessee’s lone touchdown came on a Kerry Collins pass to Justin Gage.
TopicsAtlanta Falcons, Barry Sanders, Ben Roethlisberger, Chris Hope, Chris Johnson, Cody Allison, Dennis Dixon, Derrick Morgan, Frank Wycheck, Heinz Field, Hoyle Granger, Jacob Ford, Jason Babin, Jason Jones, Jeff Reed, Justin Gage, Kerry Collins, Kevin Harlan, Larry Stone, LP field, Michael Griffin, Mike Keith, Mike Rozier, Nate Washington, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall, Solomon Wilcots, Steve McNair, Tennessee Titans, Titans Radio Network, Vince Young, Volunteers, Will Witherspoon, YMCA, YMCA Weaver Domestic Violence Shelter
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