NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** Here's a look at six things that stood out for the Titans in their 40-17 loss to the Steelers:
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota stood at the podium after the game and pretty much put the loss on him. Mariota threw a career-high four interceptions in the contest. In the locker room, players did their best to take the blame off their QB. Mariota's first INT was clearly on him – he sailed it. And he stared down rookie receiver Corey Davis on the second one. But coach Mike Mularkey put some of the blame on the QB's targets, indicating they have to show more fight for the football. (Davis was the intended target on two of the INTs). "He could have used some help," Mularkey said of Mariota. It was impossible to convince Mariota of that after the game, however.
The Titans got away with a dropped touchdown pass and a fumble into the end zone against the Bengals. They didn't get away with it on Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Tight end Delanie Walker's dropped touchdown was a momentum killer, and the four interceptions made it impossible to win. Throw in nine penalties for 65 yards, some shaky defense in the second half, and you're going to get an ugly loss. The Titans now must find a way to keep these mistakes from happening again.
The Love for LeBeau**
Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau didn't want to talk much about his return to Pittsburgh leading up to the game. The long-time Steelers defensive coordinator just doesn't like the attention on him. But if you kept an eye on him Thursday night, the love for LeBeau in Pittsburgh was easy to see. LeBeau said plenty of hellos to old friends on the field before the game, from those in football uniforms to men in police uniforms. After the game, LeBeau was surrounded by Steelers on offense and defense. He shared a long hug with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. It was a nice scene for a nice man.
At one point in the first half, I tossed out this question on Twitter: So, how is everyone enjoying Skycam? Well, the responses came in fast and furious, and as of this morning I had roughly 300 replies. Some loved it, some hated it. Personally, I think it's a cool angle – for replays, and to be sprinkled in occasionally during the course of the game. But I'd rather watch the game from the sideline angle. It will be interesting to see what NBC and other networks decide to do with the SkyCam moving forward.
Props to Antonio Brown**
Hey, sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due. The Steelers are pretty good – 8-2, and with plenty of stars. Receiver Antonio Brown put on a show on Thursday night, with 10 catches for 144 yards and three touchdowns. He caught one of the touchdowns with one hand – against the side of his helmet. Brown now has 984 yards and six touchdowns on the season. Sure, the Titans should've done a better job defending Roethlisberger and Brown, but those guys are no slouches. The team slowed down running back Le'Veon Bell, but paid for it downfield.
Attention to Colts
The Titans had their four-game winning streak snapped, and they didn't want the nation's opinion of them to be shaped by their performance on Thursday night. Now the team must bounce back, and get back into an opinion-changing game again. To make that happen, the Titans have to take care of business moving forward, starting with the November 26 game against the Colts. And that was the mindset in the locker room after the game last night – it's one loss, and the six regular season games provide an opportunity capture the goal of winning the AFC South. Anyone who thinks about taking the 3-7 Colts lightly should be reminded of this: Indianapolis led the same Steelers 17-3 this past Sunday before barely losing, 20-17.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11 at Heinz Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)