Polamalu’s big plays highlight first quarter

PITTSBURGH — Here are some thoughts after the first quarter of action of the NFL season:

  • You have a true sense for Titans RB Chris Johnson‘s speed when he gets the corner on an entire defense. On his 32-yard gain on the Titans’ second drive, he reversed field and got the sideline, even though Steelers CB Deshea Townsend had the angle. Troy Polamalu finally tracked down Johnson.
  • Polamalu is the true definition of a playmaker. Two already in the first quarter. His darting tackle on Johnson behind the  line of scrimmage on a key third-and-6 play forced the Titans to punt and kept the Steelers in good field position on the ensuing drive. His interception of Kerry Collins‘ pass deep in Steelers territory was highlight-reel material. Collins threw the jump ball to Titans rookie WR Kenny Britt, and Polamalu tipped it to himself with his left hand and caught it while coming down.
  • Third-down success already is playing a big part in this game. The Titans were 1-of-3 in the first quarter, but the Steelers were worse, failing to convert all four chances. The Titans are giving Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger fits on third down, sacking him twice and forcing an interception. On all three of those plays, the Titans pressured Roethlisberger in a package with four down linemen.

The Heinz Field crowd hasn’t had a lot to cheer for tonight, outside of Rob Bironas‘ two missed field-goal attempts.

– Frank Tadych

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