The Steelers can thank Le'Veon Bell for preventing a Monday night disaster in Nashville. A career day for the running back lifted Pittsburgh to a come-from-behind 27-24 win over the Titans. Our takeaways:
- This was Bell's coming out party as a full-on star. He put the Steelers on his back in the second half, powering back-to-back touchdown drives to wipe out an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit. Bell finished with 33 carries for 204 yards and a touchdown, becoming just the fifth Steelers back in franchise history to eclipse 200 yards. His final carries were the most impressive, as he burned off the final seven game minutes with a series of gashing runs.
- The Titans are a more exciting team to watch with Zach Mettenberger under center. He recovered nicely from a first-play pick-six to throw two touchdown passes. He would have had a third if Dexter McCluster could hold on to a hot-route throw near the goal line (those missing four points would loom large). Mettenberger doesn't move well, but he stands tall in the pocket and keeps his eyes downfield. He's definitely worth the look Tennessee will give him the rest of the way.
- Antonio Brown is such a gifted route-runner. He beat double-coverage on Pittsburgh's go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, lulling Jason McCourty and Michael Griffin to sleep with a beautiful hesitation move. Said Jon Gruden: "He just beat the best two defenders, who had him doubled."
- The Steelers will struggle to beat good teams down the stretch if they don't get better play from their defense. Mettenberger too often worked from a clean pocket and the secondary had too many breakdowns. William Gay particularly struggled after his early interception return.
- The Titans' secondary did a nice job cooling off Steelers rookie Martavis Bryant, who entered the game with six touchdowns in his first four games. Bryant was held to just two receptions for 11 yards on five targets.
- Just before halftime, Mettenberger stunned the Steelers with a beautiful 80-yard touchdown connection to Nate Washington. Plenty of credit goes to Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt, who played it aggressive when many coaches would have taken it to the tunnel. The play came immediately after an ugly red-zone pick by Roethlisberger on third down, essentially creating a 10-point swing.
- "That's the way to bang!" -- Mike Tomlin, repeatedly, as he congratulated Steelers players in the locker room. Pittsburgh couldn't afford to stumble against another inferior team. A gut-check moment for one of the AFC's more intriguing teams.
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