PITTSBURGH – The Titans lost 20-16 to the Steelers on Thursday night at Acrisure Stadium.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the contest:
Treylon Burks Injury
There was a scary moment near the end of Thursday's game, as receiver Treylon Burks was injured. Burks was strapped to a board, and his facemask was removed before being carted off the field. Titans Coach Mike Vrabel gave a positive update on Burks immediately after the game. "He is alert, moving," Vrabel said of Burks. "I'll have more of an update tomorrow, but he is back there being evaluated. I would say the way it looked – it is better than how it looked. So, he is alert, and he is in the training room being evaluated." Burks was seen walking out of the locker room on his own after the game, and he flew back with the team to Nashville.
Will Levis Performance
Quarterback Will Levis played well enough for the Titans to win in his second NFL start. One week after his four-touchdown game against the Falcons, Levis completed 22-of-39 passes for 262 yards against the Steelers. He made big throws, and he engineered a late drive that nearly pulled out a win. Levis, however, was intercepted at the goal line on his final throw of the game with seconds left. He kicked himself for missed opportunities. "You have to finish drives," Levis said. "Yards don't mean anything if you don't finish drives."
No Big Plays from Defense
The Titans needed some game-changing plays from the defense in this one, and they didn't get them. The Steelers put together an 11-play, 92-yard drive in the closing minutes to take the late lead. In the game, the Titans failed to create a turnover, and they really didn't put much pressure on Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett. The Titans were credited with just two quarterback hits, and no sacks. "We needed a turnover," defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said. "At the end of the day, they made a play, and we didn't."
Philps, the team's second-year receiver, has had a pretty quiet NFL career, in large part because of injuries. But Philips made plays on Thursday night – he led the team with four catches for 68 yards, including a pair of catches on one drive that led to points. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins also had four catches, for 60 yards, for the Titans. "He just ran good routes, and I trusted him," Levis said of Philips. "The one connection that we had down the field in two minute is something we talked about in pregame. … He was there for me all night when I needed him. We just have to keep working and trusting that he can be a big part of this offense. I know that he is going to keep balling out."
The Titans played a game of musical chairs on the offensive line, as players rotated positions because of injuries. Nicholas Petit-Frere, Peter Skoronski, Daniel Brunskill and Andre Dillard all left the game at one point, leading to the shuffling. Corey Levin, Dillon Radunz and Jaelyn Duncan all came off the bench and played. Petit-Frere did not finish because of a shoulder injury. "I don't think I've every been a part of one like that," said Radunz, who finished the game at right tackle. "You just sort of smile, and look at the next guy and say, "Are you ready?" All you need is five at the end of the day. Guys went in and played their heart out."
Simmons on Offense
The sight of the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Simmons was something to see on offense. Simmons lined up in the right side of the offense, and then went in motion on a goal-line play. Simmons saw a defender bail out of the way, and other Titans blockers like Chig Okonkwo, Aaron Brewer, and Trevon Wesco got hats on would-be tacklers as running back Derrick Henry managed to get in the end zone on a two-yard run. "We put that play in this week, and I was looking forward to going on the offensive side – it's always a big man's dream to go on the offensive side," Simmons said. "One day, hopefully, it will be a touchdown for me."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9 at Acrisure Stadium.