What we learned during Pittsburgh’s convincing 38-17 win Sunday.
1. Pittsburgh practiced in pads twice this week and it paid off big time. The tackling on Sunday was excellent. The defensive energy was consistent throughout. This was the Steelers team we expected to see the first four weeks.
2. The Titans showed up to Pittsburgh preventing the fewest points in the league. The Steelers defense easily looked like the better group on Sunday. They gave up only 3 first half points despite missing James Harrison and Aaron Smith. They gave up only 5.3 yards-per-pass to Matt Hasselbeck, who was averaging 8.8 coming in.
3. Lamarr Woodley has been invisible this year … until Sunday. He recorded 1.5 sacks and an athletic interception against Tennessee. The pick came immediately after the Titans recovered their own kickoff.
4. The Titans aren’t built to play from behind, when opponents know they are passing. Their red zone defense gave up three touchdowns in the first half and it was over. Nate Washington couldn’t haul in a potential touchdown early. Chris Johnson got off to a fine start early, but settled for 51 yards on 14 carries.
5. Everything was working for the Steelers. A fake punt pass by Daniel Sepulveda in the first half led to a touchdown.
6. Losing Rashard Mendenhall didn’t matter. After a slow start, the Steelers offensive line run blocked pretty well. Ike Redman and Jonathan Dwyer combined for 156 yards.
7. Ben Roethlisberger was only sacked once. The Steelers helped him out by calling more short drops and slant passes. The Steelers were 7-for-12 on third down.
8. Tennessee stays in a first place tie in the AFC South. Not a big loss for them. This was a huge win for Pittsburgh. They get Jacksonville and Arizona the next two weeks. They could get to 5-2 and feeling confident before two huge home games against Baltimore and New England.