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Physical Titans beat Steelers at their own game in win

Sunday's 16-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans was a costly one for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Starting center Maurkice Pouncey (ACL, MCL) and inside linebacker Larry Foote (ruptured biceps) both are believed to be out for the season for the Steelers after being knocked out of the game. The knee injury that ended Pittsburgh running back LaRod Stephens-Howling's day also might require surgery, NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported Sunday.

After Pouncey left late in the first quarter, the Steelers' offense ground to a halt. With Mike Wallace in Miami and rookie tailback Le'Veon Bell injured, Pittsburgh's lack of playmaking ability was evident.

Jerry Gray's Titans defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times, prevented the Steelers' offense from generating a first down in the third quarter and held Pittsburgh to its fewest single-game points since late in the 2011 season. "Making the Leap" candidateZach Brown led the way for the Titans with two sacks and eight tackles.

In short, Tennessee beat Pittsburgh at its own game, winning the battle of the trenches and playing with more physicality. The Titans combined for 112 yards on a whopping 42 rushing attempts, while the Steelers managed just 32 yards on 15 carries.

Banished to the doghouse after two first-half fumbles, Isaac Redman was forced back into the game following Stephens-Howling's injury. There's no immediate backfield help on the horizon, as Kinkhabwala reports Bell has yet to graduate from jogging to cutting on his injured foot. Don't be surprised if free agent Jonathan Dwyer is brought back.

The Steelers will have to find a way to generate big plays without Pouncey, Bell and Stephens-Howling next week at Cincinnati. Meanwhile, the revamped Titans will try to pull off another upset at Houston.

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