Friday, September 11, 2009

Close Call in the Opener

I predicted a Titans win last night, and so I don't feel too bad about getting it wrong. They forced overtime, but Pittsburgh won it on a field goal.
For a good share of opening night at Heinz Field, it sure felt like the Tennessee Titans were in control.

The Pittsburgh Steelers barely tried to run the ball. Tennessee’s defense was finding its way to Ben Roethlisberger. The Titans' offense was effective in spurts and at least gaining position for field goals.

But in a way that felt eerily similar to the Titans’ last game, January’s divisional round playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the scoreboard didn’t reflect the feel of the game.

And in the end when the Titans lost 13-10 in overtime, it was fair to wonder if finishing against a good team is an issue that held up over eight months.

“This team needs learn how to finish then,” linebacker Keith Bulluck said. “Maybe that’s the missing piece then to get over the hump. The last two games, we were in control, had ourselves in position to win and we didn’t come out on top.

One thing you can count on, the Titans will be well coached this season. I don't believe that Jeff Fisher is going to stumble through the year, not figuring out how to get his team to finish properly.

I saw a lot of mistakes and a lot of jitters. The Steelers had no running game, no threat in that department at all. Neither team was sharp, and either of them could have walked away with the win at the end. I expect the level of play to increase dramatically over the next few weeks. These two teams are too good to be mired in mediocrity.

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