Titans are tonic for Steelers' road woes
Casey Hampton doesn't know when it happened.
Maybe it was when an aging Peyton Manning took over in Denver or when James Harrison was out. Maybe it was when the awful Oakland Raiders dictated to the Steelers in the second half rather than the other way around.
“I don't know, man,” Hampton said. “If I knew that, we'd be back.”
Hampton said it's time for the Steelers to get back all they've been missing away from Pittsburgh — their personality, physicality, the we're-the-Steelers-and-you're-not mentality — starting with their Thursday night game at Tennessee.
To him, beating the Eagles, 16-14, Sunday in a more-typical Steelers game in which the running game was featured, big plays were minimized and hard hitting was maximized was a start. But Hampton seeks more.
Hampton wants the defense is be more difficult for quarterbacks to decipher — he said coverages are getting signaled too early — and harder to score against. He also wants the return of the days when the Steelers acted like the home team on the road, right down to their abundance of fans in the stands.
The Steelers (2-2) have dropped their last three on the road and four of five, a reversal from their 7-1 record away from Heinz Field in 2010.
Hampton, in his 12th and possibly last season at age 35, is tired of peeling off his jersey and wondering how yet another game got away from a team that once took pride in bullying opponents in their own stadiums.
“We're the Steelers, but we definitely have not played up to expectations,” Hampton said. “I think everyone in this room will tell you that.”
The 34-31 loss to the Raiders, who have scored only 33 points in their other three games, illustrates the Steelers' recent road woes. Had they won — they led by 10 points late — the Steelers would trail Baltimore (4-1) by only a half-game in the AFC North. Instead, they're 1 1⁄2 games back.
Tennessee would seem to be a good place to regain their road edge. The Titans (1-4), while playing a difficult schedule, are the NFL's most scored-upon team and also one of its lowest scoring.
Chris Johnson, the running back who once made their offense hum, is 26th in rushing with 210 yards. A defense that is allowing 140 yards-plus per game more than the Steelers' is in the bottom fourth in scoring, total yards, rushing, passing and sacks.
The Titans were outscored, 140-44, in their four losses, a number that should light up the eyes of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is a 300-yard game away from breaking Terry Bradshaw's team career passing record.
But he sounded much like Hampton in assessing the season.
“We're 2-2, and obviously we'd like to be better than that,” he said. “We're doing some good things. There are some things we need to improve on.”
Winning away from home would be one of them.
“We're 0-2 on the road,” left guard Willie Colon said, “and it's something we're not proud of.”
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC
- Steelers offense learning to slam door
- Steelers-Bengals game to start at 8:30 p.m.
- Heyward, swarming defense get best of Chiefs in Steelers’ win
- Steelers notebook: Gay respects ‘anything’ referees call
- Missed chances haunt Chiefs against Steelers
- Steelers clinch trip to postseason with big victory over Chiefs
- Steelers defensive game changer: Fourth-down stop thwarts Chiefs
- Chiefs notebook: Trip not intentional, Walker maintains
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason
- Banged-up Steelers can clinch with win over Chiefs