Titans-Steelers Game Notes


DEFENSIVE STARTERS: The majority of the defensive starters for the Titans played into the second quarter before giving way to the second-team defense with nine minutes remaining in the half. The three Pittsburgh drives during that time ended with a punt, a touchdown and turnover on downs.

FOURTH-DOWN STOP: In the second quarter, the Steelers offense was on the field with a third-and-one from the Tennessee 43-yard line. Running back James Connor was tackled for no gain by linebackers Will Compton and Sharif Finch. Then, on fourth down, Ben Roethlisberger attempted a pass to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, but cornerback Adoree' Jackson broke up the play to give possession to the Titans.

INTERCEPTION BY SPILLANE: Late in the second quarter, rookie Robert Spillane provided a big play with the Steelers in scoring position. On a play from Tennessee's 20-yard line, the undrafted linebacker from Western Michigan picked off a pass from Landry Jones to wide receiver Justin Hunter. Spillane also tallied four tackles against the Steelers and leads the defense with 18 total stops through three weeks of the preseason.

LEADING TACKLER: Fourth-year veteran defensive back Demontre Hurst led the team with seven tackles against the Steelers.

THIRD-DOWN DEFENSE: The Titans defense allowed the Steelers to convert only four of their 14 attempts on third down. Through three weeks of the preseason, Tennessee's third-down defense has improved every game – from 52.9 percent at Green Bay to 43.8 percent against Tampa Bay and 28.6 percent at Pittsburgh.

RUSHING DEFENSE: The Titans defense has not allowed an opponent this preseason to reach 3.0 yards per rushing attempt in any game. The Steelers rushed for 60 yards on 24 carries for an average of 2.5 yards per attempt. It followed Green Bay's 2.8 yards per carry (32 carries for 89 yards) and Tampa Bay's 2.7-yard average (24 carries for 64 yards).

STARTING OFFENSE: Quarterback Marcus Mariota and the majority of the starting offense played most of the first half, staying in the game until four minutes remained in the second quarter. Mariota's totals included five completions for 43 yards and an interception on eight attempts.

FIRKSER COMES UP BIG: During a second-half touchdown drive, first-year tight end Anthony Firkser accounted for three receptions, 45 yards and a touchdown. He sparked the series with a 33-yard catch, added a nine-yarder, and finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown on a pass from Blaine Gabbert. Firkser, who entered the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted free agent from Harvard, led the Titans against the Steelers with five total receptions and 68 receiving yards. His nine total receptions during the preseason (96 yards) are tied for the team lead (Deontay Burnett).

GABBERT LEADS LONG SCORING DRIVE: During the second half, quarterback Blaine Gabbert directed an 11-play, 82-yard scoring drive. It was highlighted by a 33-yard completion to tight end Anthony Firkser and a three-yard touchdown pass to Firkser. Gabbert finished the game with 16 completions on 24 attempts for 158 yards and a passer rating of 99.0. His preseason totals include 55 attempts, 35 completions, 350 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 93.8 passer rating.

OUT OF ACTION: Among the players who were held out of the contest at Pittsburgh were wide receiver Michael Campanaro, cornerback Malcolm Butler, safety Kendrick Lewis, defensive back Dane Cruikshank, running back Akrum Wadley, safety Steven Terrell, inside linebacker Rashaan Evans, tight end Delanie Walker, and outside linebackers Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo. Tackle Jack Conklin and wide receiver Rishard Matthews remain on the physically unable to perform list.

CAPTAINS: The Titans game captains were quarterback Marcus Mariota, wide receiver Taywan Taylor, cornerback Adoree' Jackson, cornerback LeShaun Sims, linebacker Wesley Woodyard and tackle Tayor Lewan.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 of the preseason on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at Heinz Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 of the preseason on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at Heinz Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)