Home > Uncategorized > Running Blog of the NFL’s Kickoff Game: Titans at Steelers

Running Blog of the NFL’s Kickoff Game: Titans at Steelers

Above is how last season ended. Now, who’s ready to do it all over again??

This country gets into a frenzy for NFL football, and I am in that mob. So, if you are watching the game tonight or can’t watch it, follow along with this running blog!

5:33 p.m. One note in fantasy football, if you were relying on Nate Washington to start tonight for the Titans, he is going to play, even though he has been bothered by a hamstring pull. The former Steeler wants to play in this game. He is out for revenge.

5:36 p.m. It’s hilarious to see how the first game of the NFL season has turned into an event. I didn’t watch Tim McGraw or the Black Eyed Peas and I feel good as a person because I avoided it.

5:39 p.m. It’s been eight years since Sept. 11 tomorrow. That’s just amazing. One of my best friends may become a father tomorrow. For his son’s sake, I hope not, because I don’t think any kid wants their birthday to be September 11th. Anyway, back to football …

5:40 p.m. Who is your pick to win? The Steelers are six-point favorites, but I think the Titans are going to buck Steelers history and win this game, 20-17.

5:42 p.m. AND WE HAVE KICKOFF!!!! What a relief! And what a return by Stefan Logan.

5:44 p.m. The Steelers sound extremely committed to Willie Parker this season. Rashard Mendenhall just hasn’t shown anything yet.

5:46 p.m. Troy Polamalu looks to be in midseason form.

5:49 p.m. Right below this post, you’ll see that I picked the Patriots and the Vikings to be in the Super Bowl this year with the Vikings winning. Yes, I do believe in Brett Favre.

5:53 p.m. I feel like need to make a 60 Minutes joke with Steelers WR Mike Wallace, but it’s too easy.

5:54 p.m. Nice try by Ben, but it’s only week one. He’s not allowed to pull off avoidance moves like that until he’s leading a game-winning drive in the Super Bowl.

5:55 p.m. Chris Johnson doing Conference USA proud. He is a tremendous running back with multi-threat skills. I just wish LenDale didn’t steal so many of his touchdowns.

5:57 p.m. Titans mixing up their offense well.

5:58 p.m. Kerry Collins finds land mass Alge Crumpler, but his pudgy fingers can’t hold onto the football. I’m sure if it was a pastrami on rye, he’d be all over. Seriously, HOW MUCH WEIGHT HAS HE GAINED IN THE PAST YEAR?!

6:00 p.m. Offenses usually have a hard time in the first game because they just aren’t in a rhythm. But I’m not sure how you explain the league’s best kicker — arguably — pushing his first attempt wide right.

6:01 p.m. And THAT’S why Rashard Mendenhall isn’t impressing a lot of coaches.

6:04 p.m. Backtracking a bit, did you hear Titans defensive lineman Jason Jones introduce himself and his college as “The Eastern Michigan Eagles. Last time I checked, I don’t remember mixing up Eastern Michigan with anyone. School pride is awesome, but let’s tone it down a bit, kids.

6:08 p.m. I am not a big fan of LenDale White at all. I think he is overrated and basically a jerk. But he’s main role is as a short-yardage back, and  I have to admit he gets it done.

6:09 p.m. Nice conversion by the Titans. Another typical drive by the Titans. Nice and methodical.

6:10 p.m. Al Michaels beat me to the Shawne Merriman joking on giving up tequila. Meanwhile, what an absolutely ridiculous play by Polamalu!!! One-handed pick! Wow!!!

6:11 p.m. Just a pure hypothetical because it will never happen, but what if the Steelers signed Taylor Mays to team up with Polamalu? Ha! That visual makes me giddy.

6:15 p.m. Big Ben (because I don’t feel like spelling Roethlisberger all night) makes a horrible throw out right. He has not looked very sharp through the first quarter. But again, it’s the first game, so it’s kind of to be expected.

6:17 p.m. I think Lamar Woodley just pulled his back out. He had NO CHANCE against Chris Johnson.

6:19 p.m. Woodley misses Johnson on the pass, Johnson misses Woodley on the pass block.

6:20 p.m. UCF stud Joe Burnett started out the preseason as the Steelers’ punt returner. But he muffed a couple of balls. And now he is third string. Waaaa, waaaa.

6:23 p.m. So far, this game is a lot of what I think everyone expected: Physical, defense-dominated, low scoring.

6:24 p.m. Or rather, no scoring.

6:25 p.m. I’ll be talking a lot about fantasy value in these blogs throughout the year. Santonio Holmes’ value is inflated because of what he did in the Super Bowl last year, but that was a nice grab there.

6:27 p.m. Hines Ward: Greatest blocking wide receiver ever? I have nothing off the top of my head to dispute it, but I pretty sure that’s the first thing I’ve heard from Cris Collingsworth tonight that has annoyed me. I know many of you are just annoyed by the sound of his voice, but I don’t mind him. He, as well as many other people, just need to keep the hyperbole down.

6:28 p.m. Another great catch by Holmes. That one was more difficult. Who said he was overrated?! Not me!! I LOVE SANTONIO HOLMES.

6:30 p.m. Still 0-0. This looks a bit like the first college football game of the year, South Carolina vs. North Carolina State, which ended 7-3. Again, this is what happens in week one.

6:33 p.m. I didn’t get a good look at that Adrian Peterson/Nike commercial, but he looked like The Thing at the end. I’ll allow it.

6:35 p.m. Nate Washington makes his first catch and then Collingsworth compares him to Plaxico Burress. Other than five inches in height, 30 pounds in weight, a much better career and a gunshot wound, I get it.

6:36 p.m. That is a bad call against the Steelers, but oh well … Kenny Britt looks more like the Plaxico Burress of the Titans than Washington. He LOOKS LIKE IT. Doesn’t mean he will be.

6:39 p.m. The first down hurts, but Polamalu yanks Scaife’s facemask and now the Titans are threatening, big time.

6:41 p.m. As much as the NFL is watering down the physicality of the game, that could have been a personal foul. It would have been debatable, but possible.

6:42 p.m. And we stay scoreless as Bironas’ 31-yard attempt is blocked! This is week one.

6:44 p.m. Rob Bironas’ fantasy owners are crying.

6:46 p.m. Alge Crumpler falls on Polamalu’s knee, bending it in a way that knees were not supposed to bending and forcing Troy to do the splits. Considering that it was Alge Plumper falling on him, Polamalu is lucky his knee cap isn’t shattered. He will have to have a torn ACL to stay out of this game.

6:48 p.m. “An enlightening chat with Jeff Fisher.” Yes, he is going to open my mind to new ways of boredom.

6:51 p.m. Ben pumps again and finds a wide-open (and underrated) Santonio Holmes in the end zone. AND THERE ARE POINTS TO SPEAK OF IN THIS NFL SEASON!!! WOOOOOOOO!!!

6:53 p.m. Polamalu walks gingerly into the locker room. Obvious statement: That would be a devastating player to lose for Pittsburgh.

6:55 p.m. Collins hits Plaxico Burress errrrrrrrrr Kenny Britt in a busted coverage for a 57-yard gain. OK, it looks like the offenses are finding that rhythm.

6:56 p.m Then, Kerry Collins finds Justin Gage open in the near-corner of the end zone. No Polamalu or what? That was easy.

6:59 p.m. The Steelers have 41 seconds to go 73 yards for another touchdown. Given the past two minutes of play, that seems conceivable.

7:00 p.m. These quick cuts to commercial are slightly confusing me. It feels like a technical difficulty.

7:01 p.m. Titans playing some pretty lax defense. Maybe they are content with allowing a possible field goal, but they don’t want to give up a touchdown.

7:03 p.m. Ben takes another sack, and it looks like we are setting up for one long heave from about the 50-yard line to end this first half.

7:04 p.m. Instead, it was a nice play to Mewelde Moore that gained 20 yards, but illegal formation sets it back. NOW we are set for one long heave from the Steelers’ own 45.

7:08 p.m. Ben gives it a good shot, but  it ends up just being another pick and quite a good return from Cortland Finnegan. 7-7 at the half. Al Michaels called it a good half. I’m not sure about that. I just know that a lot of what we saw was typical week one football. Defense ahead of offense.

7:09 p.m. Jay Leno at 10 p.m? No thanks. I don’t need to see who’s material he steals next.

7:11 p.m. I am going to take a bit of a break during this “enlightening” Jeff Fisher interview. It’s a good time for a nap with the monotonous sounds of Fisher. I’ll be back for the start of the second half.

7:21 p.m. And we’re back … and by we, I mean me.

7:23 p.m. Chris Johnson continues to slice and dice. He now has nine carries for 55 yards.

7:24 p.m. That graphic makes Kevin Mawae look like a zombie. Why was his skin grayish-blue?

7:27 p.m. Chris Hoke didn’t take his helmet off, Collingsworth. You get paid to watch a game. Try it. It obviously fell off. Meanwhile, Bo Scaife hyperextends his left leg due to a hit and drops the football. After a couple seconds of stunned silence, the Steelers pick up the fumble.

7:29 p.m. Parker is getting a good amount of carries, but it’s not working out right now. He has just 16 yards on 11 carries and he doesn’t have the type of body to convert third-and-short downs.

7:30 p.m. The Titans will start yet another possession inside their own 5 after the dropped punt.

7:32 p.m. And again, the Titans are left with third and long deep in their own territory. They have to be one of the worst teams in the league at third-and-long plays. They depend so much on the run. They try to get what they can with another run, but that’s snuffed out quickly. This should be great field position for Pittsburgh.

7:37 p.m. This just feels like a good time to get something to drink or whatever you need to do. This feels like the part of the game where the team’s feel content to just slow it down.

7:38 p.m. Willie Parker continues to go backward. His cutback moves just aren’t as sharp as they used to be right now.

7:41 p.m. I am a fan of those Coors beer commercial even if I am not a fan for Coors beer. It’s worth a laugh.

7:43 p.m. LenDale runs strong up the middle and then gets lucky that he didn’t break his back on that tackle. Four guys stood him up and over.

7:44 p.m. Al Michaels said it and he’s right. The Titans can just pick a part the middle of the Steelers’ zone without Polamalu in there for 10-15 yards a play.

7:47 p.m. Steelers bring the blitz, the Titans hit a four-string tight end, but it is negated with an illegal formation. So instead of first-and-10 at midfield, it’s third-and-11 at the 29. And then Justin Gage absolutely drops a sure first down. Bad, bad possession for Tennessee. Just punt it and see what your defense can do.

7:50 p.m. Lynn Swann still looks like he could run a go route down the left seam today.

7:53 p.m. Well, that’ll wrap up the third quarter, a rather mundane one. I thought that after the last two minutes of the first half, we would be in store for an active third quarter. Not so much. A fumble and a dropped punt were the most exciting plays of the quarter. Just 77 total yards in the quarter.

7:55 p.m. “Steve McNair murdered” still makes my skin shiver.

7:56 p.m. Gage brings that one in after the drop in the last series and the Titans are driving. The Steelers have done a nice job stopping Chris Johnson in this second half.

7:57 p.m. I thought those last two plays would have called for illegal touching, but then I realized that Collins wasn’t throwing to an offensive lineman. That’s just Alge Crumpler.

8:00  p.m. Bironas finally gets an attempt up into the air and straight. He nails a 45-yarder and the Titans are up 10-7 with 11:03 to play.

8:05 p.m. Nice improvisational pass by Ben for a first down.

8:06 p.m. By the way, on ESPN, Clemson is trailing No. 15 Georgia Tech 30-27 with 32 seconds left. It is fourth and 10 on Clemson’s 30-yard line. I turned that on because it is a bit more entertaining right now.

8:07 p.m. Georgia Tech holds on as a pass by Clemson hits the dirt on fourth and 10 and 24 seconds left. Tech led that game 24-0 before falling behind 27-24 in the fourth quarter.

8:10 p.m. Ben hits Holmes down to around the Titans’ 30. Holmes has six catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Nice debut.

8:12 p.m. Javon Kearse comes in unblocked and he just levels Ben, who never, EVER saw him coming. What a shot!!!

8:13 p.m. But Holmes steps up again with another first-down catch, this one for 15 yards, as he gets hit by three guys.

8:14 p.m. Down at this part of the field, where is Mendenhall? He is made for this territory.

8:17 p.m. Mewlede Moore is not going to get you the tough yards. So, Jeff Reed hits a line-drive, 32-yard field goal. 10-10 with 2:57 to play.

But again, what happened to Mendenhall? third and 1 at the 9-yard line and he’s not in the game. Did I miss something? Did he get injured? Mewelde Moore is probably the guy I would want the least on the field in that situation.

8:21 p.m. I can’t believe that stat about Kerry Collins being third among active QBs in game-winning drives, behind just Favre and Manning. I guess it has more to do with his age than anything, but that is still some nice company.

8:23 p.m. The third-and-10 pass is too high for Justin Gage, but if he had stayed on his feet, Gage would have gotten crushed by a safety and that may have been a personal foul. That guy had launched himself and was leading with his helmet.

8:25 p.m. Ugh! Ugly 28-yard punt. Steelers take over at their own 42 with1:50 left.

8:28 p.m. It’s just all going wrong for Tennessee right now. They couldn’t get any pressure on Ben at first and on that last play, two guys come free, but Ben still finds a way to dodge the trouble and find Moore for a first down.

8:30 p.m. HOLY CHRIST! Mr. Steeler, Hinds Ward, is stripped at the 5-yard line and the the Titans recover! Pittsburgh had this game right there and what a change of direction!! 51 seconds left.

8:33 p.m. This crowd is absolutely stunned and you can’t blame them. Who expects such a technically great player like Hines Ward to make such a critical mistake at that point in the game, at the 5 with the score tied? Just wow.

8:35 p.m. The Titans successfully run out the clock and we are going to OT. Who wants some more football???

8:39 p.m. Steelers win the toss, will receive. Where’s Phil Luckett to mishear the Steelers’ coin-toss call?

8:41 p.m. Finally the Titans get some pressure out of basic rush. These guys are tired. It is week one.

8:42 p.m. Big Ben could watch Gone With The Wind back there. He is hardly getting breathed on.

8:44 p.m. Mewelde Moore is NOT a running back. He is a good receiver, but he can’t run between the tackles. Ward takes a couple of hits, but hangs onto the ball this time.

8:46 p.m. Nice play to Holmes. That slant was an ankle tackle away from deciding this game. He has 131 yards and a score tonight. Pretty amazing.

8:47 p.m. Little-to-no pressure once again and here comes Jeff Reed for the win from 33 yards out.

8:50 p.m. And that’s it! Reed nails it and the Steelers win, 13-10 in overtime.

Very disheartening for Tennessee, but that defense looked dead in the second half. They forced hardly any pressure and just let Ben pick them apart.

8:54 p.m. Roethlisberger ends up with 363 yards. He made some mistakes, but he torched the defense in the second half.

The Titans held the Steelers to just 36 yards on 23 carries, but they weren’t able to get much on the ground either. Chris Johnson nine carries for 55 yards in the first half. He ended up with just 57 yards on 15 carries. LenDale White shows why he can’t be trusted in fantasy football, coming up with just 33 total yards.

Santonio Holmes is obviously the fantasy star of the game. 131 yards on nine catches and a score. Those were the exact same totals that he had in the Super Bowl last year. Nice coincidence.

8:55 p.m. Both teams looked rusty, but … it’s week one.

8:56 p.m. Thanks for joining me tonight for this running blog. I’m just glad the NFL is back. I’ll be doing a lot more running blogs as we head into the regular season and the MLB playoffs. I’ll probably do a running blog of the USC/Ohio St. game on Saturday, so please drop by for that. Thanks for visiting!

  1. Murph Crank
    September 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Nate Washington stays on my bench.

  2. September 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    We’ll talk football when my sexy Lions man takes the field 🙂

    Miss you, kid!

    • spokes310
      September 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm

      Thanks, Billie. Miss you too! I’m not sure if Stafford deserves to start right away, but what do the Lions have to lose, right? They’ve already lost more than anyone in a single season.

  3. Murph Crank
    September 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm


    • spokes310
      September 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm

      Groff, do you feel a lot like you are watching football on a Sunday morning right now?

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