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HIGHLIGHT: Sensabaugh picks off Mariota

Steelers.com Videos - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 8:53pm
Coty Sensabaugh picks off Marcus Mariota.

HIGHLIGHT: Watt blocks FG

Steelers.com Videos - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 8:38pm
LB T.J. Watt blocks field goal attempt.

NBC's Skycam gets mixed reaction from football fans

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 8:18pm

NBC used its Skycam technology heavily for the Steelers’ game against the Tennessee Titans Thursday night at Heinz Field. A majority of live plays were shown from behind the line of scrimmage, rather than from the traditional sideline angle. 

Steelers beat Titans, 40-17

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 8:17pm

Ben Roethlisberger and his Steelers offense put to rest all the angst about their season-long underperformance by erupting for a 40-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans Thursday night at Heinz Field.

Steelers vs. Titans Week 11: 1st quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 8:10pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) and Tennessee Titans (6-3) went head-to-head in Week 11 at Heinz Field on Thursday Night Football, and these two teams both had a lot on the line. Both teams winners of their last four games, the AFC Playoff standings certainly would be impacted with the outcome of this contest.

Getting off to an early start was paramount for both teams, and the Steelers’ offense chose to receive the football to start the game, and it didn’t take them long to make a statement. Utilizing the no-huddle offense, Ben Roethlisberger hit a multitude of receivers before hitting Antonio Brown for a touchdown to give the Steelers an early 7-0 lead.

On Tennessee’s first possession, it was Marcus Mariota who made the first mistake of the game, throwing an interception to Mike Hilton on third down, but the Titans’ defense was able to hold the Steelers to a Chris Boswell field goal to extend their lead 10-0 in the first quarter.

.@MikeHilton_31 looking like a centerfield out there... pic.twitter.com/hRmbBHPaqb

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 17, 2017

Tennessee answered the Steelers’ fast start with a nice touchdown drive of their own, orchestrated by Marcus Mariota hitting a wide array of receivers on third down, and capping it off with a nifty touchdown run to make the score 10-7 nearing the end of the first quarter.

HIGHLIGHT: Brown gains 11 yards

Steelers.com Videos - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:49pm
WR Antonio Brown beats CB Adoree' Jackson for a 11-yard catch.

HIGHLIGHT: Hilton picks off Mariota

Steelers.com Videos - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:48pm
Mike Hilton intercepts Marcus Mariota.

HIGHLIGHT: Brown for 41-yard TD grab

Steelers.com Videos - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:45pm
WR Antonio Brown leaps up for this 41-yard touchdown grab against double coverage.

What went right, wrong vs. Tennessee

Steelers.com News - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:45pm
The highs and lows of the Steelers regular Week 11 matchup vs. the Tennessee Titans.

Steelers vs. Titans, Week 11: First-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:00pm

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2017 season is rolling onward with the Steelers and Titans locking horns in Week 11. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for Week 11 of the 2017 regular season. Their opponent? The Tennessee Titans.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let's remember to keep it clean, respect everyone's thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

Steelers dedicate a 'Chair of Honor'

Steelers.com News - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 6:30pm
POWs and MIAs will always be remembered at Heinz Field with a 'Chair of Honor.'

Mike Mitchell and Vance McDonald among the inactive players for the Steelers Thursday night

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 6:19pm

The Steelers will be playing without two starters in their secondary Thursday night when they take on the Titans at Heinz Field. Free safety Mike Mitchell, who had been questionable with Achilles and ankle injuries, will not play. Starting corner Joe Haden had already been ruled out with a fractured fibula.

Pittsburgh Steelers will be without two starters in Week 11 vs. the Titans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 6:04pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released their inactive list prior to the Week 11 vs. the Titans. See who won’t be playing on Thursday night.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have finalized their game day roster for the Thursday Night Football game against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field, and outside of the usual suspects not getting a helmet on game day, the team will be without some normal players in the lineup.

Inactives: QB Dobbs, T Hawkins, G Feiler, NT McCullers, OLB Harrison, TE McDonald, FS Mitchell

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) November 16, 2017

The full inactive list is as follows (CORRECTION: Joe Haden was added to the inactive list, Hunter is active, and Daniel McCullers is also active.)

QB Joshua Dobbs
CB Joe Haden
OT Jerald Hawkins
OLB James Harrison
S Mike Mitchell
G Matt Feiler
TE Vance McDonald

The inactive list including names like Mike Mitchell (ankle), Vance McDonald (ankle) and James Harrison (back) means the team will have to rely on others to make enough plays to win.

Robert Golden and J.J. Wilcox will fill in for Mitchell alongside Sean Davis, with Xavier Grimble and Jesse James being the primary tight ends on the roster with McDonald not playing. As for Harrison, although fans want to see Deebo unleash hell on the opposition, his inactive status has become more common than him harassing quarterbacks.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest before, during and after the Thursday night showdown with the Titans.

Steelers inactives for TNF game vs. Titans

Steelers.com News - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 5:55pm
Who is in, who is out this week for the Steelers as they take on the Tennessee Titans.

Know Your Steelers Enemy: Week 11 vs. the Tennessee Titans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 5:29pm

Get to better know the Steelers tenth combatant of the 2017 season, the Tennessee Titans

Despite the displeasure of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers will play on Thursday night against the 6-3 Titans of Tennessee. The Titans have a slew of talent, but how well do we know these guys? The following is BTSC's primer for the Thursday night spectacular on NBC.

OFFENSE

*No. 8 QB Marcus Mariota

The Hawaiian passer has adapted his game to having poise as a pocket passer, but his improv skills outside on the run as the picket collapses help him win games. The third-year QB from Oregon helped bring Tennessee back from the dead against Cincy and could prove dangerous against an ailing secondary. A 63.2% passer with 1,519 yards, the Heisman winner from Oregon has six TDs to five picks on the 2017 season.

Other Titans Quarterbacks to Note: No. 16 Matt Cassel, No. 3 Brandon Weeden

*No. 29 RB Demarco Murray/No. 22 RB Derrick Henry

Murray is one of the best running backs of the last five years. His 433 yards and four scores make up only half of the league's seventh-best rushing attack. Henry, with 409 and three score, leads the team with 4.4 ypc. Both can sustain drives and move chains.

Other Titans Running Backs to Note: No. 32 David Fluellen, *No. 45 FB Jalston Fowler

*No. 18 WR Rishard Matthews

Even with rookie Corey Davis health and emerging, Matthews remains Mariota's top target. The 6' Matthews has two scores and 463 yards on 31 catches for the season. Not a great route runner, but has a good combo of size and speed.

Other Titans Wide Receivers to Note: No. 13 Taywan Taylor, *No. 87 Eric Decker, No. 14 Eric Weems, No. 84 Corey Davis, No. 15 Darius Jennings

*No. 82 TE Delanie Walker

Walker is a dangerous weapon for Mariota. He blocks well, he catches what comes his way and he breaks tackles. Walker, with 43 receptions for 458 yards, is ranked third among tight ends with catches.

Other Titans Tight Ends to Note: No. 89 Phillip Supernaw, No. 81 Jonnu Smith

*No. 78 RT Jack Conklin

The Titans have two top-shelf bookends at the tackles in Conklin and Taylor Lewan. Bud Dupree vs. the strong, tough and agile Conklin will be a fun matchup to watch.

Other Titans Offensive Linemen to Note: No. 67 LG Quinton Spain, No. 60 C Ben Jones, No. 64 RG Josh Klein, No. 77 Taylor Lewan, No. 71 T Dennis Kelly, No. 61 Corey Levin, No. 62 C Brian Schwenke

DEFENSE

*No. 99 DT Jurell Casey

Casey may just be the most dominant player among the front seven. He has more than justified his contract extension before the season. Casey has proved dominant against the run and the pass. He will garner tons of attention on a Thursday night.

Other Titans Front Sevento Note: No. 96 NT Sylvester Williams, *No. 90 LDE DaQuan Jones, No. 95 David King, No. 94 Austin Johnson, No. 97 Karl Klug, *No. 91 LOLB Derrick Morgan, *No. 59 LILB Wesley Woodward, *No. 54 RILB Avery Williamson, No. 98 ROLB Brian Orapko, No. 92 OLB Kevin Dodd, No. 55 Jayon Brown, No. 50 Nate Palmer, No. 93 Erik Walden, No. 53 LB Daren Bates

*No. 25 RCB/PR Adoree' Jackson

Jackson is a playmaker, plain and simple. Improving week-to-week, the Souther Cal first-rounder is becoming dominant for Tennessee. He broke up two passes on Sunday and allowed only four catches for 27 yards, on the season, the rookie has six pass deflections.

*No. 31 FS Kevin Byard

Another dominating youngster in the secondary for the Titans is Byard. The second-year man from Middle Tennessee State leads the NFL in interceptions with six. Byard had five in two games back in Week's seven and nine. Byard is an excellent run defender as well.

Other Titans Defensive Backs to Note:

*No. 37 SS Jonathan Cyprien, No. *26 LCB Logan Ryan, *No. 25 RCB Adoree' Jackson, *No. 31 FS Kevin Byard, No. 23 CB Brice McCain, No. 36 CB LeShaun Sims, No. 21 S Da'Norris Stacy, No. 35 S Riley Curtis, No. 33 CB Tye Smith, No. 24 CB Kalan Reed, No. 41 S Brynden Trawick

SPECIAL TEAMS

*No. 14 KR Eric Weems

Weems has been around quite a while, but he's a return man that specializes in just that well. The Pro Bowler is having a down year, but us an intelligent returner that can make opposing special teams pay.

Other Titans Special Teamers to Note: No. 4 K Ryan Succop, No. 6 P Brett Kern, No. 25 PR Adoree' Jackson, No. 48 LS Beau Brinkley

Game Day Blog: Steelers vs. Titans

Steelers.com News - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 5:00pm
Follow along for happenings and updates from the Steelers game against the Titans.

Steelers vs Titans Week 11: Five impact players to watch as the Steelers tackle Tennessee

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 4:45pm

BTSC highlights five members of the 2017 Steelers who can possible impact the game the most and improve the Steelers to 7-2 when Pittsburgh hosts Tennessee.

With the Steelers on the road and coming off of a bye, the Steelers will look to stretch their winning streak to five. Here are five Steelers that could play a major factor.

Coty Sensabaugh

With Joe Haden nursing a broken fibula, Sensabaugh will be challenged by Marcus Mariota. After coming in cold and needing to adjust, No. 24 came up big with a late pass defense against Indy.

Le'Veon Bell

Bell hasn't moved the chains and stretched out drives the past few weeks like we're accustomed seeing him to. A run-inspired game plan with Bell averaging over 4.0 ypc is what the prescription just might be for Juice to control the game.

T.J. Watt

It was a rough week for the potential Defensive Rookie of the Year. Watt looks to rebound against a solid Tennessee offensive line.

Vance McDonald

McDonald came up huge against Indy with his first TD as a Steeler. If he can emerge as a consistent threat for Big Ben to target, things can open up more. He is listed as questionable or the upcoming game.

Antonio Brown

AB had an atypical lackluster game, but came up big in the end. He doesn't usually have two in a row. He won't allow it.

Steelers vs. Titans, Week 11: 3 Keys to a Black-and-gold victory

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 2:50pm

Despite both teams being inconsistent during the first half of the 2017 season, Pittsburgh and Tennessee match up well as division leaders.

The Tennessee Titans (6-3) are currently tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) for first place in the AFC South Division. But beyond the two teams’ matching win-loss records, it’s difficult to find other similarities. And like the proverbial “box of chocolates,” it’s even more difficult to predict exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to get following the Thursday night kickoff at Heinz Field.

The first Titans’ statistic to leap from the page is their point differential of minus-8 through nine regular-season games (205 points scored vs. 213 points surrendered). Besides raising the logical question of how on earth this team could be 6-3 on the season, the stat seems to suggest Tennessee might not be quite on a par with the Jaguars and their plus-92 point differential. But then you look at the Titans’ 21-point victory over Jacksonville in Week 2 and it becomes clear that this is a team built to confound statisticians.

Like the Steelers, Tennessee has been blessed with a schedule enabling them to compile a solid record despite scarcely playing their best football through the first nine games of the season. Also like Pittsburgh, the Titans have had an embarrassing, blowout loss (57-14 to the Houston Texans in Week 4), a too-close-for-comfort win over the hapless Cleveland Browns (12-9 in Week 7) and they’re currently riding a 4-game winning streak. In the interest of full disclosure, though, those 4-straight Tennessee wins came against a rogue’s gallery of NFL teams including the Indianapolis Colts (ahem!), Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, grabbed two of its four consecutive wins against the more-competitive Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions.

But because neither Pittsburgh nor Tennessee has played consistent football for extended periods this season, something’s definitely got to give when these two teams face off in the Steel City. The Titans’ talented Marcus Mariota is still learning the ropes as an NFL quarterback, so it’s no stretch to assume that Ben Roethlisberger has a higher ceiling of performance—at least for the remainder of this season—despite the fact he’s seldom reached it so far. But beyond this substantial QB-experience advantage, Big Ben and Mariota are quite evenly matched in terms of their current total quarterback ratings (Mariota ranks No. 12 with a 57.6 total QBR, while Ben ranks No. 14 with a 56.3 total QBR).

What will it take for the Steelers to solve this gridiron riddle also known as the Tennessee Titans—a team commanding such potent magic that they can lead their division while being outscored by their opponents? Let’s have a look at the 3 Keys to Victory:

Key No. 1: Bring the A-team offense to Heinz Field (and this time make sure they get off of the bus).

Pittsburgh has a very good, relatively young and top-ranked defense. But as we noticed again on Sunday during the third quarter with the Black-and-gold down by a 17-3 score, this defense doesn’t yet have the experience to carry the team on its back without Big Ben and the offense also playing their part. For example, the Steelers’ Week-5 collapse in the second half against Jacksonville was aided and abetted by an offense that simply didn’t put enough points on the board throughout the game. To make matters worse, they kept turning the ball over to the Jaguars.

Not only in Thursday’s matchup with Tennessee—but for the remainder of this season—Pittsburgh’s lethargic offense must shake off their cobwebs and start playing complete games. It seems doubtful that the Steelers will be able to extend their record to 8-2 if the offense repeats Sunday’s performance—an outing where they managed only about one quarter of solid football.

For their part, the Titans have scored more than 30 points in three of their nine games so far, including 37 points against Jacksonville, 36 points against the Colts and 33 points against Seattle. This means Pittsburgh definitely will need the A-team offense to show up, because 20 points won’t likely win this matchup (unless the ground crew at Heinz Field neglects to cover the playing surface, causing punted pigskins not to bounce but, instead, embed themselves in the gooey turf).

Key No. 2: Steelers’ defense must hound and contain Mariota

We don’t need a memory to recall what Jacoby Brissett did to the Steelers’ secondary through more than half of Sunday’s game. On each of the Colts’ long scoring passes, Brissett had ample time in the pocket to launch deep balls downfield. Despite their success in harassing Brissett for most of the second half, Pittsburgh’s pass rush didn’t get anywhere close to him on those two monster plays.

To grab a win against Tennessee, the Steelers’ defense not only needs to pressure Mariota, but also contain him when he runs out of the pocket. He’s already done this for a total of 181 yards so far this season, currently ranking as the Titans’ third leading rusher.

Key No. 3: Le’Veon Bell must be the catalyst

Todd Haley and Big Ben need to find a way to better exploit Bell’s capabilities as a receiver. It should be obvious by now that the first order of business for the defenses of every Steelers’ opponent is to limit Bell’s rushing yardage. So far this season, and despite Bell’s league-leading yardage stat, opponents have done a pretty good job of shaving down No. 26’s production. Because nobody truly wants to tackle him in the open field, maybe that’s exactly where Bell ought to be targeted more frequently.

Tennessee remains an enigma among NFL teams with its brassy 6-3 record while, at the same time, ranking no better than 16th in team defense and 22nd in team offense. There’s definitely something about this team which simply doesn’t translate via statistics—and that “something” most likely is an intense will to compete and win, particularly in close games. We might not have the best fix on exactly what makes these Titans tick but, if Pittsburgh aims to reach 8-2 this week, they’ll definitely have a fight on their hands to get there.

NFL Expert Picks: Experts predict the winner of Steelers vs. Titans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 1:15pm

Time to check in on the experts and who they like in the Week 11 Thursday Night Football game between the Steelers and Titans.

There comes a point when your favorite team plays on Thursday Night Football when you are sitting there and realize, “Crap! The [insert team name here] play tonight!”

Well, that is the feeling most fans of the Steelers and Titans probably have, and because of the early games the experts who release weekly picks have submitted their picks for this prime time matchup at Heinz Field.

With that said, it is time to check in on those experts and see if they like Pittsburgh to hold serve at home, and advance their record to 8-2, or if they think the Titans can continue the trend of visiting teams winning on a short week, visiting teams have won 6 of 10 games so far this year on Thursday nights, and move their overall record to 7-3.

For the folks at CBS Sports, they like Pittsburgh returning home for only the fourth home game of the season. It is hard to believe, but the Steelers will play 5 of their last 7 games at the friendly confines of Heinz Field, and all of the experts at CBS are leaning towards the black-and-gold in this AFC affair.

A similar tune is being sung at ESPN, with all of their experts, who have submitted their picks, seeing the Steelers as predominant favorites in this Week 11 contest.

However, if there was a group of individuals who are certain to have at least one person go against the Steelers, it would be here at SB Nation. These haters typically never believe in Pittsburgh, but are surprisingly behind the Steelers in Week 11. In fact, only one expert believes the Titans will rise up and beat the Steelers on Thursday night.

These are only three websites, and so many more produce weekly expert picks. What about those? This is where our friends at NFL Pick Watch come in to lend a helping hand. NFL Pick Watch is a website which takes all NFL expert picks and puts them into one easy-to-read chart. According to them, 93-percent of NFL experts like the Steelers to win the game at Heinz Field in Week 11.

The experts have spoken, and are in support of the Steelers, but only time will tell who will leave Thursday night victorious. If the Steeler’s 2017 regular season has shown us anything, it is you can never truly tell what to expect from this team.

Steelers Film Room: Martavis Bryant’s return to the field includes game-tying two-point conversion

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 12:35pm

In his first game back after being deactivated against the Detroit Lions, Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant’s impact was felt throughout the game. His biggest contribution, though, allowed the Steelers to tie the game in the fourth quarter.

The animosity that has been felt among the Steelers’ fan base towards wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been palpable—from two suspensions to a perceived lack of effort, plus a slight against teammate and beloved rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster. But there are few ways to re-endear yourself to a fan base quicker than making a strong contribution towards a victory, and Bryant did that in spades on Sunday against the Colts.

Little that Bryant did would have made it onto ESPN’s SportsCenter even on the most uneventful of sports days. Nor did any of it jump off of the stats sheet. But not only did he make the catches he’s supposed to make, he had some fine runs after the catch and came up big a few times when it really mattered.

He also scored the tying points in the fourth quarter, at a point in the game when it appeared the Steelers would shoot themselves in the foot.

The Setup

Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier’s interception inside the Colts’ 20-yard line on a pass that bounced off the hands of Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle gave the Steelers the ball only 10 yards from the end zone. They would score three plays later when Ben Roethlisberger found tight end Vance McDonald on the right side of the end zone, all alone.

As they lined up for the 2-point conversion while trailing 17-15, several players had trouble figuring out where to line up. A timeout had to be used, and Roethlisberger and most of the offense made their way to the sideline.

After the timeout, Pittsburgh went to the same play and had the same outcome. But because it’s against NFL rules for one team to call multiple timeouts without running a play in between, Roethlisberger was forced to take a delay-of-game penalty. This pushed them back to the seven, but might have been a blessing in disguise.

The Steelers lined up in shotgun, with running back Le’Veon Bell joining Roethlisberger in the backfield. Tight end Jesse James was the lone receiver split wide to the left. To the right, from sideline toward the center, were Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Bryant.

The Colts are in nickel personnel in a 2-4-5 alignment.

The Play

At the start, Brown and Smith-Schuster — Roethlisberger’s two go-tos in the red zone as of late — push towards the back corner of the end zone. This ends up pulling three defenders toward them, as the single-high safety moves to assist with these two.

James takes a single step, then turns towards the middle of the field on a drag-route. Cornerback Mathias Farley stays with him, but it also draws the left inside linebacker in, to prevent James from making a catch and turning upfield.

Bell takes a few slow steps toward the left flat, just enough to draw right inside linebacker Jeremiah George in.

Bryant takes off into a slant at about three-quarters speed, then makes a slight cut to flatten the route and kicks it up to full speed. This creates a small amount of separation.

Bryant’s and James’ routes cross just to the left of the center line of the field. At the moment they cross, Roethlisberger has his opening. He fires the ball just behind Farley, with the ball hitting Bryant in the hands directly in front of his face. Bryant goes to the ground and maintains possession, converting the 2-point try.

There is, however, one more subtle key to this play: Roethlisberger has been duly criticized this year for not manipulating safeties with his eyes nearly as well as he has done in the past. In this instance, though, he tracked towards Smith-Schuster from the start. This is likely the primary reason the safety moved towards the offensive left in the first place.

This play was designed to go to Bryant, with James the only real fallback option. Brown and Smith-Schuster didn’t run routes they were likely to find openings on, given such a compressed field. Bell never ran an actual route and was nothing but a decoy from the beginning.

As I said in my last Film Room, offensive coordinator Todd Haley has taken some well-deserved heat for his situational play-calling. But there may not be a better chess player in the league insofar as designing plays. This play is exhibit B.

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