Tennessee Titans (2-7) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)
Monday, November 17th, 2014 | 7:30pm CST
Nashville, TN | LP Field | TV: ESPN/WKRN
Nashville, TN – This week the national spotlight descends upon Tennessee as the Titans (2-7) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) on Monday Night Football. It is the 77th all-time meeting between the former division rivals. Kickoff at LP Field (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for 7:30pm CST on Monday, November 17th.
ESPN will broadcast the game to a national television audience. The telecast can be seen locally in Nashville on WKRN News 2. Mike Tirico will handle play-by-play duties, while Jon Gruden provides analysis and Lisa Salters reports from the sidelines.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, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
Additionally, Westwood One Sports will broadcast the game to a national radio audience. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Kurt Warner (analyst) and Steve Tasker (sidelines) will have the call.
A win against the Steelers would give the Titans five consecutive wins on Monday Night Football and improve their all-time Monday night record to 22-16. They have not lost a Monday night contest since November 19th, 2007 at the Denver Broncos, vanquishing the Indianapolis Colts (2008), Houston Texans (2009), Jacksonville Jaguars (2010) and New York Jets (2012) along the way.
More germane to the current squad, the Titans need a victory to end a losing streak. They have dropped three straight games since an October 12th win over the Jaguars, most recently at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens.
In a hostile Baltimore setting, the Titans found early success but could not maintain it. Once they took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, they were kept off the scoreboard for the duration of the afternoon and ultimately fell 21-7.
Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger recorded his second career start and completed 16 of 27 passes for 179 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The sixth-round pick from Louisiana State University became the ninth rookie quarterback in franchise history to start a game on October 26th against the Texans, taking the reins after Jake Locker (four starts) and Charlie Whitehurst (three starts) started the first seven contests of 2014.
Mettenberger’s 478 total passing yards in the last two weeks are the most for the franchise in a rookie’s initial two starts since Jacky Lee’s 612 yards in 1960.
The Steelers, led by eighth-year head coach Mike Tomlin, find themselves in perhaps the NFL’s most heated divisional race. Their 6-4 mark puts them in a tie with the Ravens for third place in the AFC North, and yet they are only a half game behind the 6-3 and first-place Cleveland Browns. With the Cincinnati Bengals in second place at 5-3-1, the AFC North is the first division in which every team is at least two games above .500 at any point in the season since the 1935 NFL Western Division.
After a 3-3 start to the season, the Steelers averaged more than 41 points over the course of the next three weeks and won all three contests. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw 14 touchdown passes without an interception during that stretch.
A first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Roethlisberger’s first three NFL seasons were spent under the direction of current Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt served as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator under Bill Cowher from 2004 through 2006 before he was hired as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
Off The Field
As part of the NFL’s “Salute to Service,” the game feature a tribute to Titans season ticket holders who have served in military conflicts from World War II through the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. All fans in attendance will receive a special “Salute to Service” towel with the Titans Camo Ribbon. At the conclusion of the national anthem, performed by Train’s Pat Monahan, Challenger the Bald Eagle will fly onto the playing field.
Additionally, the Titans and Bridgestone are teaming up with local PGA pro Brandt Snedeker during halftime, when Snedeker will attempt five golf shots at targets on the field. For each successful hit, money will be donated to the YWCA to help increase awareness and support for domestic violence prevention.
Before fans enter LP Field, they are encouraged to participate in the annual Second Harvest Food Bank food drive by dropping off non-perishable items at one of several collection sites near the stadium entrances. Among the most-needed items are peanut butter, canned chicken or tuna, canned fruit & vegetables, soups, stews, pasta and cereal.
Titans-Steelers Series At A Glance
- Overall series (regular & postseason): Steelers lead 44-32
- Regular season series: Steelers lead 41-31
- Postseason series: Steelers lead 3-1
- Total points: Titans 1,328, Steelers 1,597
- Current streak: Two wins by Titans
- Titans at home vs. Steelers: 20-18 (including 1-1 in playoffs)
- Titans on the road vs. Steelers: 12-26 (including 0-2 in playoffs)
- Longest winning streak by Titans: 7 (1997-00)
- Longest losing streak by Titans: 5 (twice, last 1994-96)
- Titans vs. Steelers at LP Field: 6-2
- Last time at LP Field: Steelers 23 at Titans 26 (10/11/12)
- Titans vs. Steelers at Heinz Field: 2-4
- Last time at Heinz Field: Titans 16 at Steelers 9 (9/8/13)
- First time: Oilers 19 at Steelers 7 (9/20/70)
- Ken Whisenhunt’s record vs. Steelers: 1-2 (including 0-1 in playoffs)
- Mike Tomlin’s record vs. Titans: 3-3
- Ken Whisenhunt’s record vs. Mike Tomlin: 1-2 (including 0-1 in playoffs)
A Titans Victory Would
- Improve Ken Whisenhunt’s career record as a head coach to 52-60 (including playoffs).
- Improve the Titans’ all-time record against the Steelers to 33-44.
- Give the Titans five consecutive wins on Monday Night Football and improve their all-time Monday night record to 22-16.
- Improve the Titans’ all-time primetime record in the regular season to 38-33, including a mark of 16-14 in the “Titans era” (1999–2014).
- Give Zach Mettenberger his first career win as a starting quarterback. He would be the first Titans rookie quarterback to win a game as a starter since Vince Young in 2006.
What To Look For This Week
LP Field, which opened in 1999, hosts its 17th prime time regular season Titans game. The Titans are 8-8 in the previous 16 games.
DT Jurrell Casey needs eight tackles to reach 300 tackles for his career.
RB Shonn Greene (3,909 career rushing yards) needs 86 rushing yards to reach 4,000 for his career.
S Michael Griffin (24 career interceptions) needs one interception to tie Ken Houston for eighth place on the franchise career interceptions list.
CB Jason McCourty needs one tackle to reach 400 tackles for his career.
QB Zach Mettenberger can become the fifth rookie quarterback in franchise history to start at least three games at quarterback, joining Jacky Lee (1960), Dan Pastorini (1971), Brent Pease (1987) and Vince Young (2006).
WR Kendall Wright (197 career receptions) needs three catches to become the 15th player in franchise history to reach 200 career receptions.
WR Nate Washington (5,916 career receiving yards) needs 84 receiving yards to reach 6,000 for his career.
WR Kendall Wright (197 career receptions) needs three receptions to reach 200 for his career.
WR Kendall Wright (four touchdown receptions in 2014) needs one touchdown reception to establish a new single-season high.
Titans-Steelers Series History
This week’s game is the 77th meeting between the Titans/Oilers and Steelers in a rivalry that dates back to 1970. The Steelers lead the series 44-32. There is no team the Titans have met in their history as often as the Steelers. The next closest is the Cincinnati Bengals with 74 games versus the Titans.
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.
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.
The Titans have won 13 of the last 19 games, including a seven-game winning streak from 1997-2000 and the two most recent battles. Also among those Titans victories was a 34-31 final score in a 2002 Divisional Playoff contest.
In 2012, the Titans beat the Steelers on Thursday in primetime (October 11th), winning 26-23 on a 40-yard field goal by Rob Bironas as time expired. Then, in the 2013 season opener at Heinz Field, the Titans used five sacks from their defense and a ball-control offense to win 16-9, despite giving up an unusual safety on the opening kickoff.
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.
Titans-Steelers: The Last Meeting
Tennessee Titans 16 at Pittsburgh Steelers 9
Sunday, September 8th, 2013 • Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
After a rocky start, the Titans rallied with defense and a ball-control offense to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-9 in the 2013 season opener at Heinz Field.
The Steelers took an early lead in atypical fashion. On the opening kickoff by Pittsburgh’s Shaun Suisham, Titans returner Darius Reynaud fielded the ball at the goal line and took a knee in the end zone. However, the officials ruled that Reynaud took possession of the ball in front of the goal line and stepped back, resulting in a safety.
Those would be the Steelers’ only points until less than two minutes remained in the contest.
In the meantime, the Titans forced two turnovers (and committed none) and held the Steelers to three or fewer plays on five separate drives. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and linebacker Zach Brown each notched a pair of sacks, and defensive end Derrick Morgan added another.
The Titans offense churned out 112 rushing yards on 42 attempts, including the game’s only touchdown on a Jackie Battle run. Quarterback Jake Locker attempted only 20 passes, completing 11 for 125 yards without throwing an interception. The Titans recorded a time of possession of 34:01, compared to 25:59 for the Steelers.
The score remained 2-0 until late in the second quarter, when the second turnover of the game provided a spark for the Titans. Cornerback Alterraun Verner victimized Roethlisberger on an interception that gave the Titans the ball on Pittsburgh’s 49-yard line.
The Titans then mounted a 12-play drive that featured 11 combined runs by Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene and Battle. Battle converted a fourth-and-one with a one-yard carry, and six plays later, he ran for a three-yard touchdown.
With the Titans clinging to their 7-2 lead at the start of the third quarter, the defense provided the second of three consecutive three-and-outs. The offense took control and went on their second scoring march of the game, driving 37 yards on 11 plays.
After Locker converted a pair of third downs with a 25-yard pass to tight end Delanie Walker and a 14-yard pass to Nate Washington, Rob Bironas connected on a 26-yard field goal with 4:29 to play in the third quarter.
The Titans saved their longest drive of the game for the fourth quarter. Starting on their own 12-yard line, they took more than six minutes to go 62 yards, assisted by a 24-yard pass interference penalty on Steelers safety Ryan Clark. On the 11th play, Bironas connected on a 44-yard field goal to make the score 13-2 with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
A short return on the ensuing kickoff and an eight-yard sack by Casey left the Steelers punting from their own end zone moments later. Reynaud returned the punt 27 yards to the 17-yard line, and four plays later, Bironas’s third and final field goal (27 yards) made it 16-2.
Since their first-quarter drive that ended in a fumble, the Steelers had not crossed the 50-yard line until less than four minutes remained in the game. They went 75 yards on nine plays and scored on a four-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Jerricho Cotchery with 1:23 on the clock.
With no timeouts, the Steelers trailed 16-9 and needed an onside kickoff recovery. But George Wilson snared ball for the Titans off a high bounce, sealing the victory.