Week 9 of the NFL began with the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) beating the Tennessee Titans (3-5) at Acrisure Stadium on Thursday Night Football.
Pittsburgh bounced back after a loss to Jacksonville in Week 8. Head coach Mike Tomlin said he was leaving the door “ajar” for quarterback Kenny Pickett, who left last week’s game late in the second quarter with a rib injury, to play Thursday, and he indeed got the start.
On the other side, Tennessee pulled off a narrow victory over Atlanta in their Week 8 matchup. Rookie QB Will Levis was back at the helm for the Titans after a dazzling debut last week, with Ryan Tannehill still sidelined due to an ankle sprain.
On the 10th play of the opening possession, Najee Harris ran in a 10-yard touchdown for the Steelers.
Tennessee got the ball into Pittsburgh territory on its first drive, thanks to Pittsburgh committing a whopping 40 yards worth of penalties. On the 13th play of the drive, Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt sacked Levis without his helmet, as shown below. Nick Folk salvaged the drive for the Titans with a 36-yard field goal.
After forcing back-to-back Pittsburgh three-and-outs, Tennessee took the lead.
On the fourth play of the drive, Levis got rid of the ball before being sacked, hitting wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for a 23-yard pickup. Seven plays later, running back Derrick Henry broke the plane for the Tennessee touchdown. Chris Boswell connected on a 29-yard field goal for the Steelers on the following possession.
Levis connected with wide receiver Kyle Philips on back-to-back completions that combined for 45 yards, setting up an eventual 36-yard field goal from Folk as the first half concluded.
Tennessee possessed the ball for the bulk of the first half, outgaining Pittsburgh 198-142 in total yards. Meanwhile, Levis threw for 153 yards, while Pickett threw for 78 yards.
Tennessee went three-and-out to open the second half, while Boswell connected on a 30-yard field goal for Pittsburgh. Then Tennessee put together a scoring drive of its own.
Four plays after Levis got the ball out to Henry, who took off for a 23-yard gain after reeling in the pass shown below, Folk knocked through a 48-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Titans led 16-13.
Late in the fourth quarter, Pickett threw a strike to wide receiver Diontae Johnson for a 32-yard pickup, which was followed by running back Jaylen Warren thundering down the sideline for a 22-yard gain.
Four plays later, Pickett hit an open Johnson for a 3-yard touchdown, giving Pittsburgh a 20-16 lead with 4:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Tyjae Spears ran the ensuing kickoff out to the Titans’ 48-yard line, but the Steelers forced a turnover on downs with 2:06 remaining in the fourth quarter. Then Pittsburgh went three-and-out, and Tennessee got the ball into the red zone on the next possession. That said, Steelers linebacker Kwon Alexander intercepted Pickett to secure the victory.
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