Friday, September 11, 2009
The 2009 NFL Season kicked off with a defensive thriller at Heinz field between the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennesse Titans. The Titans had the best regular season record of last year at 13-3. The game aired nationwide on NBC and drew in the best ratings in 7 years for a season opener.
If you were tuning in to the game hoping for an offensive shootout, you were sorely disappointed. The game went scoreless until near the end of the 2nd quarter when Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Santonio Holmes for a 34 yard touchdown. The Titans answered right back with 14 yard pass to wideout Gage to tie the game.
Field goals made the difference in this game. Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas rarely misses a kick, but he only managed to nail 1 out of 3 field goal attempts in this game. One kick sailed wide, while the other was blocked. On that play, Steeler strong safety Troy Polamalu suffered a sprained knee that sent him to the locker room for the evening. It was a severe blow to the Steeler defense since Polamalu was playing like a man possessed and had already intercepted Titans quarterback Kerry Collins once in the game. Polamalu will be out of play for 3-6 weeks.
At the end of regulation, the Steelers had a viable drive for a game winning field goal. However, wide receiver Hines Ward fumbled the ball at the Titans 4 yard line to put the game into overtime. In the extra period, Roethlisberger drove the Steelers downfield to put them right back into field goal range by hitting his receivers (Ward, included) down field. Steeler kicker Jeff Reed hit the 33 yard field goal to put the Steelers 1-0 for the season. The Titans start off the year 0-1.
photo credit: (AP/Photo Keith Srakocic)