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fordfixer
09-18-2010, 12:51 AM
Steelers have had past problems in Nashville
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, September 18, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 00120.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_700120.html)

It may not have been one of the mysteries of life that defensive end Aaron Smith pondered earlier this week.

But the Steelers' lack of success in Tennessee since the Titans relocated there in 1997 has to fall into the how-do-you-explain-this category.

"I'm trying to think if I've ever won down there," Smith said.

He has one time. Smith's 1-6 record against the Titans in Tennessee is only slightly better than the 1-8 road record the Steelers have posted against the team formerly known as the Houston Oilers.

Their history in the Volunteer State may be one reason why the Steelers are five-and-a-half point underdogs in Sunday's 1 p.m. game at LP Field.

What is so confounding about their futility in Tennessee is that it has come while the Steelers have been among the NFL's most successful franchises.

They have a worse road record (1-12) in Chicago. But nine of those losses came before the Steelers won the first of their six Super Bowls.

"It's not in our heads," wide receiver Hines Ward, the longest tenured Steeler, said of playing the Titans in Tennessee. "We're bound to win one of them."

The law of averages may favor the Steelers tomorrow when they try to improve to 2-0. But history also suggests that their trip to Nashville will be as woeful as a bad country music song.

Indeed, the Steelers have lost in all manner of ways in Tennessee.

There is the infamous running into the kicker call against Dewayne Washington in a 34-31 overtime loss in the 2002 playoffs. There is the 2003 game where the Steelers outgained the Titans by almost 200 yards and lost by 17 points.

The Steelers have experienced the harrowing quarterback Tommy Maddox sustained a spinal cord contusion and concussion and temporarily lost feeling in his arms and legs in a 2002 regular-season loss and most recently the galling in Nashville.

The Titans physically manhandled the Steelers in a 31-14 win at LP Field in 2008. Several of their players celebrated by stomping on Terrible Towels in the waning moments of the game.

The Steelers players shrugged off the Terrible Towel incident this week, saying they got the ultimate revenge by winning the Super Bowl that season.

But no one could give a definitive reason for the Steelers' road struggles against the Titans.

"If I had the answer we wouldn't have the losses we've had," Smith said. "We've got to have the mindset that it's going to be a drag-it-out fight, and we have to pull it out in the end somehow."

The Titans have been able to match the Steelers' physical style of play. And Jeff Fisher has been their coach since 1994 when they were the Oilers, and he is very familiar with the Steelers.

Perhaps most noteworthy of the Titans' dominance of the Steelers in Tennesse is they have usually won the all-important turnover battle. They are plus eight in turnover differential in their nine home games against the Steelers.

"But," Fisher said, "I think we have as much difficulty up there as we've had success here."

That is not exactly the case.

Fisher is 3-4 in Pittsburgh since the Oilers became the Titans, although Tennessee has lost three consecutive road games against the Steelers.

The Steelers, meanwhile, have lost by an average of nine points in the eight games they have dropped in Tennessee. Perhaps that is why offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said earlier this week: "Going down there, I always look at it as 7-0, and we have to catch up right away and get some points."

NorthCoast
09-19-2010, 09:09 AM
The Titans are built alot like the Steelers, good run defense, efficient offense. This explains why the Steelers seem to struggle so much against them. They have some high draft picks on both lines. The key I think will be patience. Take what they give us and move into scoring position. Could be another battle of field goals if we can contain Johnson.